This is a project that's been in the works since 2010, which was when we first announced it; at the time, Taraji P. Henson was reportedly in talks to star in the movie – playwright/director David E. Talbert's rom-com, Baggage Claim, based on his best-selling debut novel about a flight attendant with thirty days and thirty thousand miles to find a husband.
The project was (and apparently still is) housed at Fox Searchlight, with Talbert set to write, produce and direct the film.
Fast-forward to today, with news that Paula Patton is now attached to star in Baggage Claim, as the flight attendant (Montana Moore), with the film now set to shoot this September, with Talbert still behind the camera.
Here's Amazon's description:
Pledging to keep herself from being the oldest and the only woman in her entire family never to wed, Montana embarks on a thirty-day, thirty-thousand-mile expedition to charm a potential suitor into becoming her fiancé. Whom will she choose? Damon Diesel, a P. Diddy wannabe; Reverend Curtis P. Merewether, pastor of Greater House of Deliverance, Tabernacle of Praise, Worship, and Miracles; pompous attorney-turned-councilman Langston Jefferson Battle III; or Quinton Jamison, a multimillionaire who's twenty years her senior?
You may recall Talbert's directorial debut, First Sunday, which starred Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan, amongst others.
Anyone read Baggage Claim? And if so, thoughts on it?
It looks like the success of Think Like A Man might have had a hand in helping push this forward, after 2 years in limbo.
I'd be remiss if I didn't remind you all of a 2010 L.A. Times report (soon after the above project was first announced) that suggested that Fox Searchlight was "pulling back from its foray into black-themed films." Why? Well, the last few "black-themed" films at that time that had been distributed by the studio hadn't exactly set the box office on fire – namely, Just Wright and Our Family Wedding, each grossing only about $20 million in domestic box office, as well as Notorious ($37 million gross, on an estimated $18 million budget) and I Think I Love My Wife ($13 million domestic on an $11 million budget).
Apparently, Fox Searchlight had been hoping to recreate some of that Tyler Perry magic that's been helping to keep Lionsgate afloat for the last few years.
The article further noted that "while the urban market remains under-served by conventional Hollywood, it's not an audience that's easily captured."
Obviously something has changed in that thinking on Fox Searchlight's part – emphasis on "thinking,"as in "think," as in Think Like A Man.
Execs at the studio later said at the time that they really weren't curtailing their efforts, insisting that there had been no strategic shift, even though they did acknowledged the difficulties they're having in reaching black audiences; and, oh, by the way, at the time, they reportedly put one proposed project into "turn-around," and guess which one it was?