EXCLUSIVE: Comedy Central series stars Key & Peele’s Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have set their first joint film project at New Line. Titled Keanu, the film is set to start production next spring. The title refers not to the actor who played Neo in The Matrix, but rather to a kidnapped cat.
Said Peele: “The movie should resonate with a large audience as almost everyone has had a house pet stolen by a street gang, right?”
The pair worked together on MAD TV and have seen their Comedy Central sketches develop a strong viral following. They have been circling numerous film projects for the past few months, including a Police Academy reboot, an untitled Judd Apatow feature and a spinoff of Mr. Garvey, aka Substitute Teacher, a popular character on the show. Keanu tells the story of friends who pose as drug dealers to infiltrate the criminal underworld, all to retrieve a stolen kitty. Peele wrote the script with Alex Rubens, a writer on the show as well as on Community.
The project will shoot in Los Angeles by April and will be overseen by New Line SVPs of production Michael Disco and Sam Brown. New Line is in director talks Peter Atencio, who helms every episode of Key And Peele and is credited with giving those skits a cinematic aesthetic. Key and Peele produce with Key & Peele executive producers Peter Principato, Paul Young and Joel Zadak. “None of our Key & Peele characters will be harmed in the making of this film,” Jordan said.
Both stars have worked separately on films — Key most recently appeared in The Lego Movie and Let’s Be Cops, while Peele did Wanderlust and Little Fockers — but this is their first joint film project.
New Line President of Production Richard Brener said Key and Peele were originally planning to make the movie independently. “We were happy that they were open to doing it at a studio, particularly ours,” Brener said. “Everything they do is funny.”
Key and Peele are repped by Principato-Young. Key also is with UTA.