Well, talk about a match made in heaven. On one hand, you’ve got Cameron Crowe, the man behind sweet-natured, smart romances like “Say Anything,” “Jerry Maguire” and “Almost Famous,” films of their kind as good as any that Hollywood has produced in the last few decades (take a peek at our recent retrospective on the filmmaker). After taking a serious bruising after the critically reviled “Elizabethtown,” Crowe bounced back with three films last year, most notably the charming, somewhat undervalued “We Bought A Zoo,” which proved to be a modest hit over the Christmas period ($120 million worldwide, which isn’t too shabby for a film that had some tough competition).
And on the other, you have Emma Stone, perhaps the most naturally gifted young comic actress of her generation, who’s delighted audiences in the last couple of years with “Easy A,” “The Help” and most recently “The Amazing Spider-Man,” wherein she and real-life boyfriend Andrew Garfield were the undoubted highlights of a somewhat patchy film. Crowe and Stone have seemed destined to work together, and fortunately, Sony agrees, as Deadline reports that the studio has acquired Crowe’s latest script, and set Stone to star in the project, with bigwig Scott Rudin (“The Social Network“) producing.
Deadline has minimal details on the script, which they say is a two-hander with a yet-to-be cast male lead, and a tone closer to “Almost Famous” and “Jerry Maguire.” Crowe’s had a number of projects in the works of late, including meth addiction adaptation “Beautiful Boy,” and an untitled project he described to us as being close to Preston Sturges. But according to one Variety reporter on Twitter, the project is actually a revived and rejuvenated version of “Deep Tiki,” a movie that Crowe was to have directed in 2008, and then 2009 when it got delayed, and which was to have starred Reese Witherspoon and Ben Stiller.
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We wrote a script review back in the day, but in brief, the plot involved a military contractor (Stiller’s part), presumed dead after an incident in Afghanistan. In fact, he survived, but he rejects his former life, with only his best friend, Jeremy, a supercomputer, for company. He’s assigned to a top-secret military satellite launch in Hawaii, and sets out with an uptight military liaison (the part Witherspoon would have played) to get a blessing from local spiritual leaders who believe a prophecy involving gods Lomo and Pele is about to come to pass.
You can read more about the script here, but suffice to say it’s something a little different from Crowe’s usual fare, while still maintaining much of what makes his scripts special in the first place. Presumably, Stone is attached to play the part Witherspoon had back in the day, which suggests that 1) part of Crowe’s rewrite, which has apparently been well received at Sony (where the project was set up in the first place), has involved making the characters younger, and that 2) this could be something a little different from Stone, seeing as the character was initially an anal-retentive type. Stone’s more than capable of playing that, though, and we’re dying to see what she and Crowe come up with together. Interestingly, when we talked to the director before Christmas, he said the film was on the “backburner,” but presumably he’s had some inspiration over the last six months or so.
There’s no word on who the male star might be as yet, but we suspect it’ll be someone from the younger generation. Our first thought was Garfield again, only because the two shared such great chemistry in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” but they may not want to work together, given that they’d move on to that film’s sequel midway through next year. So who would you pick for a part like this? Channing Tatum? Seth Rogen? James Franco? Someone relatively untested like Jake Johnson? Feel free to let us know in the comments section. Filming is set to get underway in the spring, so Crowe and company have a little time to find a co-star, but frankly, Stone could be acting opposite a mannequin and we’d still probably pay to see this in theaters. Assuming all sticks to schedule, it sounds like this’ll be in theaters sometime in 2014.