EXCLUSIVE: After nearly a decade of trying and failing to get to the altar on Honeymoon With Harry, New Line has hired Crazy, Stupid, Love scribe Dan Fogelman to redraft the comedy as a star vehicle for American Sniper‘s Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. No deal with those two yet, but they are keen to work together again and this is a project they are both sweet on.
Fogelman is a high-priced writer and what he writes usually gets made, so the message here is that New Line is serious about moving forward. Cooper has long been intrigued with playing a formerly self-centered womanizing booze-hound who changed his ways when he met a girl and fell in love. He’s loathed by the girl’s dad, who recognizes himself in the young man. They get engaged anyway. When she dies tragically just before their wedding, the devastated groom heads off on their honeymoon to drown his sorrows and drink himself to death. Who does he meet but his almost father-in-law, who has come to spread his daughter’s ashes on her favorite beach.
De Niro has been interested in playing the dad, and both he and Cooper once did a reading of the script back in 2010.
Producer Mike Karz set this up way back in 2004 based on an unpublished novel by Bart Baker, in heated bidding. It was scripted by Paul Haggis before he helmed Crash or scripted Million Dollar Baby. Haggis was attached as director when Vince Vaughn and Jack Nicholson circled, but the film fell apart over budget, even though the script made the Black List. Most recently, Jonathan Demme was circling as director to re-team with Rachel Getting Married scribe Jenny Lumet, while Cooper and his Limitless and Silver Linings Playbook co-star De Niro first circled this.
This has been one of those projects studios will always be cautious about, because it’s more of a James L. Brooks-esque drama with comic overtones than a broad comedy. Done right, these films tend to stick around in awards season. Toby Emmerich, Richard Brener and Dave Neustadter are shepherding for New Line. Karz will produce, Josie Rosen will be exec producer through Gulfstream Pictures, and Russell Hollander is co-producer.
WME and Management 360 rep Fogelman, who most recently wrote and directed Danny Collins, the Al Pacino- and Jennifer Garner-starrer that Bleecker Street will release this year. Fogelman also created the new ABC comedy Galavant and scripted the CBS Films hit Last Vegas as well as the Pixar pic Cars. CAA reps De Niro and Cooper, latter of whom is currently on the Broadway stage in The Elephant Man.