Tina Fey, Steve Carrell, James Franco, Mark Wahlberg, Leighton Meester, Common, Taraji P. Hensen and Kristin Wiig all in the same movie? That’s what’s being reported for Date Night, a comedy from director Shawn Levy:
Wahlberg plays a successful and crazily buff securities expert who flirts with Fey’s character. Franco portrays a not-too-bright conman and petty criminal. Meester is onboard as the couple’s babysitter. Henson plays the one good cop who believes the couple is in danger, and Common portrays a villain. Wiig, who worked with Fey on “Saturday Night Live,” rounds out the cast as the actress’ best friend.
Fey and Carrell play the couple on the titular event, and it’s quite an impressive octet overall (and an expensive one, I’d imagine – at least the first four). It’s also a surprising one for a project with questionable pedigree. Levy’s previous work is Night at the Museum, Just Married, Cheaper By The Dozen and Frankie Muniz vehicle Big Fat Liar. The screenwriter, Josh Klausner’s only writing credits are direct-to-DVD Juliette Lewis-William Hurt horror film The 4th Floor and the third installment of Shrek (though he did work as a second unit director on some of the Farrelly Brother’s best work, including Kingpin and There’s Something About Mary.
I’m trying to think of examples of directors or writers working in the Hollywood arena that made a bunch of shitty films before finally churning out a really worthwhile one (after – one would only imagine – getting some creative control based on paying their dues via the crap). Adam Shankman kind of comes to mind with Hairspray, which was a very good film that followed the sequel to Levy’s Cheaper By The Dozen and The Pacifier, among others. But he also made Bedtime Stories afterwards so I don’t know if he still counts.