EXCLUSIVE: Earlier this year, during an interview with David Gordon Green, we asked about his Rough House Pictures production shingle, the company he formed with filmmaking pals Jody Hill, Danny McBride and Matt Reilly. He told us it’s a place where the “strange ideas and concepts” they cook up or come across have a home to grow and develop. And it looks like those plans are starting to bear some fruit, particularly on television. Last spring, MTV picked up the animated series “Good Vibes” and this summer Rough House signed a one-year development deal with 20th Century Fox. Well, they certainly haven’t wasted any time in getting things rolling.
The first project under the deal has been sold to the network and it sounds pretty great. Director Max Winkler and actor/writer Jake Johnson will create and write a comedy centered around two brothers, one a drunk ne’er do well and the other a prickly failed D.C. politico, who reunite and decide to do the most ambitious and awesome thing of their lives: win the seat of Mayor on Catalina Island.
“We are thrilled to be working along side the Rough House boys with this project. Their compassion for old fashioned American underdogs and anti-heroes align perfectly with what we want to do with this show,” Winkler told us. “Fox is the perfect home for us to take a riveting look inside the world of politics on Catalina island.” Green, Hill, McBride and Reilly are all producing the untitled program along with 20th Century Fox, and Winkler will helm the pilot episode. Johnson won’t star in the pilot but he and Winkler will also act as co-executive producers.
The project marks a very busy year for both young and rising talents. Winkler unveiled his feature film debut “Ceremony” earlier this spring (which also starred Johnson) and is also writing “First Man” with Matt Spicer based on a pitch they sold to Paramount. Along with Spicer, he’s already written a feature project for Jason Reitman (an executive producer on “Ceremony”), and in an interview with The Playlist earlier this year, he told us he’s hoping to make a ’70s-like movie in the vein of “Scarecrow,” a 1973 roadtrip film starring Gene Hackman and Al Pacino.
Meanwhile over at Universal, Winkler’s got “The Adventurer’s Handbook” set up, which he wrote with Spicer and Jonah Hill. As for Johnson, he has no shortage of projects on the go either. He co-starred in “No Strings Attached” which hit theaters in January and will also star alongside Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in “21 Jump Street,” as well as “Safety Not Guaranteed” with Aubrey Plaza and Kristen Bell. He’s no stranger on the Fox lot either, as he’ll star in the upcoming fall sitcom, “The New Girl” opposite Zooey Deschanel starting September 20th.