Out of musical comedy trio The Lonely Island, Andy Samberg has enjoyed perhaps the most mainstream success in both film and TV, but by no means have his co-members been slumming it on their own fronts. While Akiva Schaffer recently scored a better directorial opportunity than result with his summer effort “The Watch,” Jorma Taccone has been busy developing a number of different projects, in addition to popping up in Lena Dunham‘s “Girls,” and now finds himself fronting perhaps his highest-profile project yet.
Following a successful pitch from writer Adam Sztykiel (“Due Date”), New Line has announced the action-comedy “Spy Guys” will move forward with Taccone directing. Combining elements of “Ocean’s Eleven,” “True Lies,” and “Mission: Impossible,” the film will follow a CIA operative who’s forced to reveal his double life to his friends following a European mission gone wrong. Once they recover from the initial shock, the gang then find themselves implicit in his espionage, and go on the lam together once they’re targeted by baddies as well. Behind the scenes, and in keeping with the inseparability theme at play, all three Lonely Island members will help produce the film, along with the outside force of producer John Rickard (“Horrible Bosses”).
As the creative force behind dozens of “SNL” skits and the cult classic, “MacGruber,” Taccone clearly has the chops necessary for a big-budget comedy such as this, as his ability to balance absurdist comedy with a feature narrative has proven successful once before. Clearly others believe so as well, since besides prepping a “MacGruber” sequel he’s also been tapped to direct comic adaptation, “The Great Unknown,” but this latest project clearly marks a step up for him into the studio arena. Now let’s hope Schaffer has offered to Taccone his own observations on mixing genre with comedy, and an emphasis on legitimate character and stakes can be achieved in “Spy Guys” rather than just rampant improv overall as a pacifier. [THR]