EXCLUSIVE: Screenwriter Jeremy Garelick has closed two deals. He’ll adapt for 20th Century Fox the Jane Heller novel An Ex To Grind as a star vehicle for Cameron Diaz and Benicio Del Toro. Garelick has separately been signed by Universal Pictures to direct Hassle Man, a comedy that will be written by Eli Jorne and Reed Agnew
Garelick, who cowrote The Break-Up and did uncredited rewrite work for Todd Phillips on The Hangover, has been gearing himself to direct since he was Joel Schumacher’s assistant and directed second unit on Veronica Guerin. Making the leap from scribe to director isn’t easy, and Garelick helped his own cause by spending $25,000 and calling in every favor he could to film a six-minute scene from The Pretender, a script he set up at Universal.
“I was sitting on the set of The Hangover, watching that happen when I thought, why not show Universal I can direct,” Garelick said. “I’d been involved in six movies from start to finish, worked with Joel on four films and learned from Peyton Reed on The Break-Up, Todd Phillips on The Hangover, and I saw what to do.” He got Hot Tub Time Machine‘s Craig Robinson, The Hangover‘s Ken Jeong, Paula Patton and Jonathan Goldsmith, the latter of whom is better known as “the most interesting man in the world” in the Dos Equis beer commercials. They spent a day shooting at a boxing ring. While Garelick has been attached as director to another script he’s writing, the scene got him hired for the first time as director only. Said Garelick: “It got the attention of Universal, and made possible Hassle Man, whose logline is, `when you can’t hire a hit man, hired a hassle man.’” The film’s produced by George Nolfi, Scarlett Lacey and Michael Hackett.
The question is, which film will Garelick direct first? Garelick hopes to direct The Pretender, and he is also attached to direct The Insane Laws, which he sold as a pitch to Sony Pictures Entertainment. UTA and Principato/Young rep him.