The depressing irony of Adam Shankman producing an All of Me remake with Queen Latifah in the Lily Tomlin role is that I guarantee you their number one choice for the Steve Martin role is Steve Martin.
Desperately searching for a new Peter Jackson after Bob Shaye pissed the first one off with the company’s allegedly dodgy accounting practices (not taking sides here, just sayin’), it looks like New Line has found a new go-to auteur in Shankman, whose forthcoming Hairspray is getting all the in-house support Todd Fields’s Little Children didn’t receive last year (okay, now I’m taking sides). Though the company does have some promising pictures on the way this year (e.g. Rendition, Love in the Time of Cholera and His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass), it somehow doesn’t feel right that a one-time risk-taking studio would align itself so aggressively with a director-producer who wants nothing more than to punish the American public with soulless product.
But here’s Shankman teaming with New Line for another financial windfall: a remake of a pretty good Carl Reiner comedy powered by inspired performances from Martin and Tomlin. It’s no classic, but it’s charming and alive in a way an Adam Shankman movie could never be. There’s no director attached yet, but there are hacks aplenty infesting Hollywood, many of whom dream of making a formulaic studio comedy – anything to be the next Adam Shankman. Brent Goldberg and David Wagner (responsible for such gut-busters as Underclassmen, My Baby’s Daddy and Van Wilder) wrote the first draft of the screenplay (New Line’s been developing it for a couple of years), but that’s probably due for a rewrite now that a comedy pro like Shankman has climbed aboard.
I said it yesterday, I’ll say it again today, and I’ll say it until whatever he’s got workin’ fizzles out: Thank God for Judd Apatow.