The latest dish on the John Wells-directed cooking project with Bradley Cooper once called Chef: Harvey Weinstein has sent the just-announced title Adam Jones back to the kitchen. They’ll call it Untitled John Wells project until they whip up something tastier. All this arose when they were beaten to the table by Jon Favreau’s food truck film, and their plan to call the film Chef deflated like a bad souffle.
“Even though our writer Steven Knight claims we had the rights first, Jon Favreau killed us and made a great movie that we all love,” Weinstein told Deadline but wouldn’t say what potential titles were now on the menu. “And while our film deals with cooking it’s about different things… We tried to get Lee Daniels’ Chef Movie but Warner Brothers got there first and didn’t give it to us, so now we’re calling it the Untitled John Wells project.”
Weinstein was joking about last summer’s drama, when Warner Bros lawyers blocked TWC’s ask to use the title The Butler because WB had an early 20th century silent black and white short film in its library. It seemed like an apparent attempt to leverage Weinstein into surrendering his claim to first dollar gross points on The Hobbit trilogy (like that would ever happen). Weinstein had the last laugh when he used the title Lee Daniels’ The Butler which, helped by the attention from the title fight, grossed $160 million worldwide on a $30 million production budget.
The Wells-directed culinary pic just started, shooting a couple days in New Orleans before moving to London. Cooper plays a bad boy Michelin Star enfant terrible chef who self destructs in Paris and has to repair his career and life. Sienna Miller and Uma Thurman, Daniel Bruhl, Emma Thompson, Omar Sy, Fifty Shades Of Grey‘s Jamie Dornan and Alicia Vikander star. Knight wrote the script and Stacy Sher, Michael Shamberg and Erwin Stoff produce, with Dylan Sellers, Julie Rapaport and Negeen Yazdi overseeing for Weinstein.
Choosing titles is tricky. I loved John Carney’s Toronto Film Festival title Can A Song Save Your Life, and didn’t see an improvement when TWC retitled it Begin Again before releasing a few weeks ago on the specialty film circuit. That should be a fun upcoming conversation Weinstein will have with Daniels in reminding the director his name doesn’t necessarily have to go in front of every one of his films. TWC is prepping Daniels’ next film about Richard Pryor and here’s a little scoop on that pic: I’ve heard that actors who’ve tested include Michael B. Jordan, Marlon Wayans, Mike Epps, and Nick Cannon and that Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway are candidates to play Pryor’s wife. Wayans had the job in a version of the stand-up comic legend’s story when it was going to be made at Sony with Bill Condon directing and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison producing. Condon dropped out and Daniels dropped in.