EXCLUSIVE: Phoenix Pictures’ Mike Medavoy, David Thwaites, and Brad Fischer are in Toronto to fan the Oscar buzz for the ultra-serious film Black Swan. But they’ve set as the next Phoenix project a comedy that will be directed by former Monty Python troupe member Terry Jones. They’ll produce Absolutely Anything, from an original script Jones wrote with Gavin Scott. While circumspect about logline, they tell me it involves “aliens, a goofy Brit, a talking dog and buckets of silliness.”
They’ve set The Daily Show with Jon Stewart correspondent John Oliver to star, and Jones is in discussions with Robin Williams to play the role of Dennis the Dog. He has reached out to former Python pals John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam to voice the aliens. The film will be financed out of the UK, and production will begin by next spring.
Medavoy has a long relationship with Jones that includes the films Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Erik the Viking, both of which Jones directed. Asked about the dichotomy of following the ultra-serious Darren Aronofsky-directed Natalie Portman-starrer Black Swan and Shutter Island with a raucous comedy, Medavoy simply said, “Funny is money.” Based on the strong festival reaction to the obsessively driven ballerina tale Black Swan, there might be money in serious as well.