Adam Shankman In Talks For This Is Where I Leave You Adaptation
Adam Shankman has been approached to helm Warner Bros' This is Where I Leave You, making him the latest director to be mentioned in connection with the in-development adaptation of Jonathan Tropper's cheered novel. Back when the studio first bought the rights to the book in 2009, writer-director Greg Berlanti (Life As We Know It) was attached to helm. However, Variety now reports that Shankman has entered negotiations to direct and produce the feature which centers on a far-flung family forced to reunite when their patriarch's dying wish is that they sit Shivah for seven days.
Shankman, who was a celebrated choreographer long before he became a movie director, has proven to possess a talent for sculpting spirited and funny films like Hairspray, Bedtime Stories, and the upcoming musical Rock of Ages. As such I think he'd be an excellent fit for the material. For while Variety calls This is Where I Leave You a drama, anyone who has read it knows that Tropper's novel is a blisteringly hilarious—albeit dark—comedy. Here you have a non-religious family practically vibrating with rivalries and recriminations that is forced to sit in the same room with each other—often entertaining or at the very least bearing guests, mourners, and well-wishers—for seven days. The tension that emerges from this concept is hair-raising, and leads to comedic outburst so intense you'll snort-laugh in public. (Trust me.)
At the center of this story is pitiable schlub Judd Foxman, a man who is thrown into a downward spiral when he gets word of his father's death hot on the hells of the revelation that his wife is cheating on him. Forced by obligation to return to his hometown and face his family, Judd must confront who he's become and figure out who he wants to be while dealing with a never-ending parade of family conflict.
Personally, I've been musing on who Warner Bros. would pick to write, direct and star in This is Where I Leave You, since I read the book at the time of their acquisition. Admittedly, my first choice for its helmer would be writer-director Thomas McCarthy who has created such wonderful—yet dark—comedies as The Station Agent and Win Win. But I have to admit; Shankman has won me over on several occasions, breathing a whimsy and joy into comedies that could easily have been vapid cash-grabs without his direction. So, if Warner Bros. is going to go with a director whose proven they can do mainstream, then I think Shankman is a solid choice.
This is Where I Leave You is aiming to shoot late this summer, which hopefully means we'll get wind of casting news soon.
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