Phil Johnston


Director Louis Leterrier and writer/actor Sacha Baron Cohen are two men who have made very different films and whose careers have taken very different paths, but nonetheless their individual journeys have led them both to a crossroads that is seeing them team up to do a movie together. The news comes from Variety, who reports that Leterrier has signed on to direct an action-comedy about a secret agent that Cohen and Phil Johnston sold as a pitch to Paramount last August. The film is called Grimsby, and it’s said to be about a black ops agent who is forced to go on the lam alongside his long lost brother, who happens to be a rowdy soccer hooligan from the north of England (one has to wonder which role was written for Cohen). In order to understand why this pairing could be crucial in deciding where Leterrier and Cohen’s careers go from this point forward, one must first take a look at where they’ve been.


Sacha Baron Cohen

In the grand tradition of movie-making teams like Jim Abrahams and David Zucker, Keenen Ivory Wayans and his entire family, and Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (okay, maybe not those last two), comes a new duo of creative types hoping to make a mint and produce laughter by spoofing the works of others, Sacha Baron Cohen and Phil Johnston. THR reports that the duo has just sold a pitch to Paramount that will see them making a spy comedy in the vein of a silly James Bond. Think Rowan Atkinson’s Johnny English character, but less…something, and more…I don’t know. Okay, so just think Rowan Atkinson’s Johnny English character. According to sources at the studio, this still untitled comedy will tell the story of a spy who “is forced to go on the run with his long-lost brother, a moronic soccer hooligan.” Six years ago Cohen was coming off of his hit series Da Ali G Show and its subversive and successful feature film spin-off Borat, and he seemed like he was pretty much the most vital and progressive comedian working in films. But since then his career has taken a huge downswing because of disappointments like Brüno and his recent mess of a movie The Dictator. I guess the big question here is, given Cohen’s sudden downturn in quality output, is there any reason why we should be excited for him doing a spoof of spy movies?


Confederacy of Dunces

John Kennedy Toole never got to see his lone novel, “A Confederacy of Dunces,” get published, as it was only ever made public eleven years after his death. And names like John Belushi, John Candy, and Chris Farley never got the chance to play the novel’s main character, Ignatius Reilly, as they all passed away before the various adaptations they were proposed to be parts of ever came together. At this point, it probably wouldn’t be much of a stretch to call any possibility of this beloved novel ever becoming a movie doomed. It appears as though its valve has closed. Or not. Vulture has news that the Confederacy of Dunces adaptation, which has been trying to get off the ground since 1982, is once again looking like it might be a go. And this time the talents involved in its resurrection are all so appealing that you might not even make yourself sick with worry that Toole’s wildly entertaining but constantly meandering story—which details a corpulent, over-educated, and outdated curmudgeon’s traversing of the exotic world of 60s era New Orleans—is completely unadaptable as a film.

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published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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