Hollywood’s track record for turning brand-name non-fiction titles into commercial movies is not stellar. But the trend continues on, and Phoenix Pictures and Lionsgate are proceeding with What to Expect When You’re Expecting. They have hired Kirk Jones (Nanny McPhee) to direct the ensemble relationship comedy, which producer Medavoy compares to Love Actually.
Medavoy’s former assistant-turned-Phoenix production exec David Thwaites developed the script for What to Expect When You’re Expecting, using the title of the how-to bestseller (16 million copies sold) for a warm and fuzzy romantic comedy ensemble. Lionsgate won the bidding war for worldwide rights to the film. Heather Hatch Freaky Friday originally pitched the film based on the Heidi Murkoff non-fiction title, which lasted on the NYT bestseller list for over 500 weeks. Shauna Cross (Whip It) took over from Hatch on the final draft.
Lionsgate production president Alli Shearmur and her senior-vp Jim Miller will supervise the project. Phoenix’s Medavoy, Arnie Messer and Thwaites are producing; Doug McKay is co-producing. Heidi and Erik Murkoff are exec producers along with lit manager Alan Nevins of Renaissance Literary & Talent.