Bear in mind, this is not anywhere close to happening — and is pretty much a wishlist sort of thing — but its a pretty good reminder that optioned projects can continue to be talked about, even if it takes a while to get off the ground.
Variety reported way back in 2003 that Columbia Pictures optioned “Fat Man,” a spec script by “The Simpsons” writer and producer Mike Reiss, to be produced by Adam Sandler‘s Happy Madison shingle “about an 800-pound man who drops 600 pounds with the help of a nurse he finds more appealing than a Happy Meal.” Sounds like a pretty dumb comedy right? Not so, as apparently the story does get pretty dramatic as “the portly protag undergoes an emotional metamorphosis to rival the obvious physical changes. He’s a bright but bitter and bed-ridden guy whose infatuation with the nurse prompts him to drop weight. As he sheds the pounds, the man faces a king-sized dilemma: What if she doesn’t fall in love with him?” At the time, the project was not expected to star Sandler — he would just be producing — but for “Cedar Rapids” helmer Miguel Arteta, he would love to take a shot at the material with the comedian in the lead.
Speaking with FirstShowing at Sundance, Arteta revealed, “I’d love to do a movie with Adam Sandler that… someone said he was flirting with? It’s called ‘Fat Man.’ I don’t know if you’ve heard about this? One of the main writers of ‘The Simpsons’ wrote the script and it’s amazing. He would play an 800lbs. guy who has a love affair between him and his nurse. And he’s naked for the first half of the film… and it’s very touching… and it’s very funny. So, I hope he gets the gumption to do it, and maybe I get a crack at that, that would be amazing. Certainly, it would be not a movie you would forget anytime soon… and [it’s] beautifully written. I don’t know if that’s meant to get out on the internet…”
We’re particularly curious by the statement that the project is “beautifully written” though we can buy it. Reiss wrote the “Moaning Lisa” and “‘Round Springfield” episodes (among others) during the golden years of “The Simpsons” which more often than not had a good heart amongst its big laughs. Or, it could just be a “Shallow Hal” retread. But either way, if it’s still earning interest eight years after its been optioned, at the very least, perhaps it will compel someone at Happy Madison to dust it off, give it a read and maybe give Arteta a call.
While Arteta waits to see what he will get to next, you can see “Cedar Rapids” when it opens on February 11th.