Where’s Megan Ellison when you need her? Still remaining unmade, and looking more and more likely to remain so, is Charlie Kaufman‘s ambitious, musical, Hollywood satire “Frank Or Francis.” Even though it’s housed at Sony, in this tentpole-heavy world, the movie unsurprisingly hasn’t been greenlit, despite amassing a cast of willing players including Jack Black, Nicholas Cage, Steve Carell, Elizabeth Banks, Kevin Kline, Catherine Keener, Paul Reubens and Jacki Weaver. And earlier this summer, things weren’t exactly looking good as reps for the director told us the project was “postponed” for the moment. And we figured it was financing that was keeping things from getting rolling.
“We are just about 10 million dollars shy of the cost to make it, so if anyone out there reading this can scrape together a cool 10 mil, this thing can happen,” Black told Vulture. And while that’s probably the catering budget on blockbuster movies, for a risky, high concept movie the likes of which can only be dreamed up by Kaufman, that probably represents a significant amount of the money they need to make it happen.
If/when it gets made, and provided it keeps the same cast, “Frank or Francis” will feature Carell as Frank, a pretentious charlatan of a filmmaker and Black will play Francis, his nemesis in the form of an online commenter who tears down the director at every turn. Cage was set to play Alan Modell, a fat-suit-wearing comedian who is also known as The Emcee due to his Oscar-hosting duties, with Kline playing two roles: Richard Waller, the brother of filmmaker Jonathan Waller, who directed a hit epic called “Hiroshima” that failed to win Best Picture, and the voice of Richard’s Head, the superwiz computer-brain programmed to write hit screenplays. You can read a full breakdown of the script right here.
“I wish that it would fucking happen, but I think it is a little too expensive for how ambitious it is. It is a very surreal and dark look at Hollywood,” Black said, summing up our feelings on the matter. So, can someone swoop in and rescue this? Let’s hope so.