Last summer, before going to Comic Con, I did a pit stop in Las Vegas to visit the set of Zak Penn’s The Grand, a new improv comedy set in the world of poker tournaments. Zak’s first film, Incident At Loch Ness, was pretty brilliant, and the cast he had lined up this time – including Werner Herzog, David Cross, Woody Harrelson, Dennis Farina, Ray Liotta, Richard Kind, Gabe Kaplan, Jason Alexander and Cheryl Hines – was unbeatable. I spent a couple of days on set, and I have to tell you that what I saw was so funny that I almost ruined more than one take with my hideous high pitched cackle. And what was very cool is that the improvers were playing real poker, so that the final winner of the tournament wasn’t planned in the script.
I missed the finished version of The Grand when it came to the Tribeca Film, and I wasn’t in Vegas at the CineVegas film festival where it played last week, but I should have a chance to catch the film soon, since Anchor Bay has snapped up North American rights. It’s part of the company’s new efforts to get into theatrical releases, which began with Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (on DVD this month, with my quote on the cover, natch!), and will continue with this fall’s Hatchet, which I have been just about dying to see for the last year and a half. On the one hand I’d rather The Grand get a theatrical release from a company that has that end of the business down cold, but I do think that Anchor Bay is going to show this movie a lot of love – and they’ll definitely put out a kick ass DVD.
The Grand will get a platform release early next year. Be sure to get out to theaters and see if Dave Davis’ walk on cameo made the final cut!