EXCLUSIVE: Bradley Cooper has now formally confirmed to star in the John Wells-directed Chef, making this one of the early projects stirring action from foreign buyers who can now visualize the Silver Linings Playbook star back in meltdown mode in this Shampoo-like drama. He plays a Paris chef named Adam Jones, who destroys his wunderkind status in a blaze of decadence and out of control behavior. He cleans up and returns to Paris sober, determined to redeem himself by spearheading a top restaurant that can gain three Michelin stars. This has been in the works a bit, and recently Cooper saw Wells’ upcoming TWC Oscar-bait movie August: Osage County and then TWC set Wells to direct Chef. They are now looking to round out that cast, and I’m hearing Michelle Williams and Marion Cotillard as potential female leads, and Omar Sy for co-starring role. The film’s produced by Stacey Sher, Erwin Stoff and Michael Shamberg.
Now, the Cooper drama is not the only cook comeback saga being peddled on the Croisette with the title Chef, and this is cause for confusion among buyers and it has led to a title fight. There is also the Jon Favreau-directed comedy Chef, in which he plays a top chef who gets fired, and tries to regain his culinary mojo and win back his estranged family by starting a roadside food truck business. I’ve learned that Sony Pictures, which originally controlled the TWC film before selling its stake to TWC, has sent a cease and desist letter to coax Fairview Entertainment and Favreau to find another title. Both Chef and The Chef were cleared by Sony with the MPAA, and that hold extends to TWC. Favreau’s film also features Sofia Vergara and Robert Downey Jr and given the latter’s recent mammoth success, my knee-jerk suggestion would be Iron Chef (see what I did there?). But it sounds like RDJ has about a day’s worth of scenes here so that doesn’t work. Favreau is putting together other stars seen in short bursts, and word is Scarlett Johannson might be among those peppering a project that brings Favreau back to his indie origins after a bunch of blockbusters including the first two Iron Man films. Favreau’s new film is being sold by Aldamisa.