Despite their debut feature “Little Miss Sunshine” being the toast of Sundance, becoming a sleeper box-office hit, and picking up a Best Picture Academy Award nomination (as well as winning the Oscars for Supporting Actor Alan Arkin and Michael Arndt‘s screenplay), directing couple Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris have taken a while to follow it up. The filmmakers had various projects circulating, including the adaptation of Tom Perrotta‘s “The Abstinence Teacher,” Demetri Martin‘s fantastical comedy “Will,” which would have co-starred Paul Rudd and Zach Galifianakis, and the long-gestating comedy “Used Guys.”
But between one thing and another, none got made, and it’s over half a decade since their last, and first, picture. But fortunately, they’ve been in production on a new project, and it looks like we’ll be seeing it in the very near future, albeit with a different title than the one we were expecting. Very Aware (via Fox Searchlight’s Twitter) report that their latest, the comedy formerly known as “He Loves Me,” has the new title of “Ruby Sparks,” and will land in theaters on July 25th, 2012, one day shy of exactly six years since the same studio released “Little Miss Sunshine” into theaters.
Written by indie starlet Zoe Kazan (“The Exploding Girl,” “Revolutionary Road,” “Meek’s Cutoff,” the project stars her boyfriend Paul Dano as Calvin, an unlucky-in-love novelist struggling to follow up his hugely successful debut (ooh, meta…). To help his block, he creates a fictional dream girl, Ruby (Kazan), to be his muse, but a week later, finds that she’s sitting on his couch in the flesh.
It’s a promising premise — a sort of indie “Weird Science,” it would seem — and Dayton and Faris have, unsurprisingly, been able to attract an impressive supporting cast, including Annette Bening as Calvin’s mother, Antonio Banderas, Steve Coogan, Deborah Ann Woll, Alia Shawkat, Elliot Gould and Chris Messina. While the film will be hitting theaters against some stiff comic competition in the shape of Ben Stiller vehicle “Neighborhood Watch,” the summer’s so far looking light on indie/specialty fare, and this certainly seems to have the potential to follow its predecessor into sleeper hit territory. Hopefully a trailer will land soon.