New Line’s deal expands Cherry’s footprint at Warner Bros in his second deal with the Burbank, CA lot in a matter of days. Last week, Warner Bros Television said Cherry had signed a multi-year, first-look deal where he will create, develop and produce new material for a variety of platforms.
Michael Starrbury, the Emmy-nominated scribe of the Netflix miniseries When They See Us, wrote the screenplay for The Come Up, which is described as Friday meets Oceans 11 from an original story idea by Coming 2 America, Sorry to Bother You actor and CBS Superior Donuts scribe Jermaine Fowler, who will also star and executive produce. Already attached to star is Get Out‘s Lil Rel Howery and Keith Lucas and Kenneth Lucas from 22 Jump Street. Rampage and Horrible Bosses franchise producer John Rickard is producing.
Cherry won the Academy Award in February for his animated short Hair Love, which he wrote, produced and co-directed. He personally raised over $280,000 on Kickstarter for Hair Love, the most any short film, animated or not, had ever achieved on the funding platform at the time. Hair Love was adapted into a picture book for Penguin Random House in May 2019 and immediately became a New York Times bestseller and earned nominations for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Children and the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Picture Book.
“I am super honored to be working with Jermaine Fowler, Michael Starrbury, John Rickard and New Line on The Come Up,” said Cherry. “Jermaine and Michael are two of the most exciting young creatives working today and I can’t wait to start working with them.“
Starrbury adds, “I’ve known Matthew for years and have proudly watched him develop into one of the most promising filmmakers working today. Just as importantly he’s a great guy who fits in with the amazing chemistry we’ve developed with the team and New Line. I couldn’t be more excited to embark on this journey with all of them.”
Says Fowler, “I feel soooo damn lucky to have Matthew Cherry onboard to helm this film. He’s a brilliant filmmaker whose vibes are genuinely reminiscent of the people that inspired the original concept of the project. I know he will let everyone involved shine and execute a hilarious comedy with a profound message. Plus, he promised that I could hold his Oscar one day.”
An all-conference football player at the University of Akron, Cherry played for three years in the NFL for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens before retiring in 2007. He wrote and directed the award-winning feature The Last Fall and 9 Rides which was shot entirely on an iPhone 6s. Cherry’s TV directing credits include Mixed-ish, Black-ish, The Last O.G. and The Unicorn. An accomplished music video director, he has directed artists including Michelle Williams, Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, Snoop Dogg and Common.
Cherry is repped by ICM Partners, Blue Key Management and The Law Offices of R. Vaughn Gill.