EXCLUSIVE: Penelope Cruz is signing on to star with Ben Stiller in Zoolander 2, the comedy that puts Stiller back behind the camera again, with a Justin Theroux script for Paramount Pictures. Stiller will reprise his role as empty headed supermodel Derek Zoolander, and there have been rumors that Will Ferrell will be back as the sinister Mugatu and Owen Wilson as Zoolander’s supermodel rival Hansel. Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld are producing for Red Hour.
Cruz just wrapped the Julio Medem-directed Ma ma in Spain, and she plays a small role in the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy Grimsby. Let’s hope that a byproduct of the surprising success of the long awaited sequel Dumb and Dumber To is that sequels to other worthy niche comedies like Zoolander will gain more currency at studios. Despite the presence of Jim Carrey (who never does sequels) and Jeff Daniels and the Farrelly Brothers, Dumb and Dumber To got turned down by its original maker, New Line, and everywhere else before Red Granite stepped up and financed the hit and Universal Pictures distributed.
The original Zoolander was an irresistibly silly film. Like Carrey and Daniels, Stiller fully committed to character, that mugging buffoon supermodel and there were some hilarious moments in the original, from Blue Steel to the catwalk showdown between Zoolander and Hansel, to the freak gasoline fight accident that was one of the funniest movie comedy moments in recent years. Stiller has wanted to make this movie for a long time and it shouldn’t have taken 13 years to get this far. I’m hoping he gets to do this in time for his 87-year old dad Jerry Stiller to reprise as the weak-willed agent Maury Balltein, and that this re-dedication to dumb comedies clears a path for another Dodgeball. And how about another Borat or Bruno? Here’s a reminder of the freak gas fight incident.