Former “Girls” collaborators Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner will not make their studio screenwriting debut with Paramount’s English-language take on “Toni Erdmann.” Last June, the duo was negotiating to adapt Maren Ade’s 2016 dramedy of the same name, which vied for the Palme d’Or and Best Foreign Language Film Oscar (Germany). However, co-producer Adam McKay told IndieWire that “it didn’t work out with them.”
Paramount confirmed that the new writers are Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg, Oscar nominees for their “The Kids Are All Right” screenplay. Cholodenko, who directed that film, will also direct “Toni Erdmann.” “We just got our first draft of it,” said McKay.
He added that the project is “on track” and lead producer Jessica Elbaum — who conceptualized Gloria Sanchez Productions as the female-centric counterpart to McKay and Will Ferrell’s Gary Sanchez Productions — is “really happy” with the initial script, which now requires McKay’s notes. IMDB currently lists Konner as the film’s sole screenwriter, but reps for Konner and Dunham confirm that they are no longer working on the project.
In the original, a divorced, German music teacher (Peter Simonischek) — fond of disguises and mourning his dog — visits Romania to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Sandra Hüller). The most-nominated feature at the 2016 European Film Awards, “Toni Erdmann” took home five of six prizes (Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenwriter, Best Actor, and Best Actress). IndieWire’s Eric Kohn praised writer-director Ade for delivering “the funniest nude scene of all time” in his B+ review. Toni Erdmann is what the father christens one of his go-to characters.
Variety broke news of the American version in February 2017, the same month “Toni Erdmann” lost an Academy Award to “The Salesman.” Jack Nicholson is set to end his eight-year retirement to play the elder Conradi, Winifried, while Kristen Wiig will produce and also portray his business consultant daughter, Ines.