EXCLUSIVE: Omar Epps, who just recently wrapped Shooter for USA Network, has sealed a deal to join the cast of Will Packer’s A Meyers Christmas for Universal Pictures. The comedy, which the studio will release Nov. 11, 2016, is about an estranged family forced to come together for their first Christmas since the death of the family matriarch. Epps joins a cast that includes Gabrielle Union, Danny Glover, Mo’Nique, Kimberly Elise and Jessie T. Usher.
The screenplay was written by David E. Talbert who will also direct. Talbert is an author and a filmmaker. He also adapted the comedy Baggage Claim from his own best-selling book of the same name and helmed the feature for Fox Searchlight. The film starred Paula Patton, Derek Luke, Taye Diggs and Jill Scott.
Packer is producing A Meyers Christmas through his Universal-based Will Packer Prods., which has a first-look deal with the studio. Talbert will exec produce alongside Lyn Sisson-Talbert, Preston Holmes, James F. Lopez (who heads motion pictures at Packer’s company), Gabrielle Union and Jeff Morrone.
Packer, of course, has enjoyed a number of hits, including Ride Along and Straight Outta Compton, two films that the studio marketed brilliantly and received a hefty box office. Ride Along, on what was a modest budget, was released on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and went onto to gross $153.9M worldwide. Packer’s next film, Ride Along 2, will come out on that same date next year.
Straight Outta Compton gave August a big box office boost this year. It has grossed over $200M worldwide for Universal.
Senior Vice President Kristin Lowe and Create Executive Chloe Yellin will oversee A Meyers Christmas for the studio.
Besides starring opposite Ryan Phillipe in Shooter, Epps has numerous film and television projects in various stages of development through his production company, Brooklyn Works Films. Those include The Delta, set up at eOne with Catherine Hardwicke directing; Caesar, a hip hop drama with Russell Simmons; and Hustle, a drama about money laundering with Anonymous Content.
Epps was also an executive producer on the documentary Daddy Don’t Go, which premieres next week, on November 14 at DOC NYC.
Epps is represented by WME, Anonymous Content and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller.