PREVIOUS: As Deadline readers found out on Monday that NBC and 20th Century Fox TV were developing a comedy series followup to Cameron Crowe’s 1989 coming-of-age classic Say Anything starring John Cusack and Ione Skye, apparently so did Crowe. And he was not amused. I hear that Crowe had not been aware of 20th TV’s plans for a Say Anything series before my story ran Monday afternoon, shortly after NBC closed a deal for a script commitment plus penalty to the project. I hear Crowe had a very strong reaction to the announcement, and he took to Twitter to share his intent to kill the project late Monday night.
“Regarding the announcement of a “Say Anything” tv show…
@JohnCusack, @IoneSkye1 and I have no involvement… except in trying to stop it,” he wrote.
While legally studios are within their rights to exploit titles from their libraries without the filmmakers’ consent, getting their blessing is considered the right thing to do because of the creators’ emotional attachment to their movie or TV series. I hear that there was an effort on part of 20th TV to reach out to Crowe but a miscommunication with his executives led to the disconnect.
That mishap puts 20th TV and NBC in a difficult position — do they proceed with the Say Anything series, which they legally can, over the strong objection of the movie’s writer-director who wants the series dead? From what I hear, that appears unlikely.
20th TV identified Say Anything, produced by sibling 20th Century Fox, as a property they wanted to mine for a TV series earlier this season and brought in writer Justin Adler and producer Aaron Kaplan to develop the comedy as part of Adler’s blind script deal with the studio.
The 1989 movie, which marked Crowe’s directorial debut, chronicled the romance between average student Lloyd Dobler (Cusack) and valedictorian Diane Court (Skye) during the summer after their high-school graduation. Set in present day, the Say Anything series picks up ten years later. Lloyd has long since been dumped by Diane and life hasn’t exactly turned out like he thought. But when Diane surprisingly returns home, Lloyd is inspired to “dare to be great” once again, get Diane back and reboot his life.
Cusack also expressed his displeasure with the idea for a Say Anything series on Twitter. Asked whether he or Crowe were involved in the project, he responded, “Hell no !!”
Crowe has his own TV project in the works, comedy pilot Roadies at Showtime, which he wrote and is directing as well as executive producing alongside J.J. Abrams. Echoing one of Crowe’s signature movies, Almost Famous, Roadies follows the day-to-day life of a successful rock tour as seen through the eyes of the crew members.
Last season, Murder, She Wrote star Angela Lansbury spoke publicly against NBC’s plan to remake the classic series with a new character played by Octavia Spencer. While her comments had no direct impact on the network’s development process, the project ultimately didn’t go forward.