The comedy gods are smiling down on Hollywood, as an almost surefire success is in the quickly moving developmental stages. Fox 2000 is teaming up with the super-producer couple Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald for the suburban comedy Keeping Up With the Joneses, and they’ve landed two whopper male leads in Zach Galifianakis and Jon Hamm, two guys who should become an official comedic duo at some point in the future.
Both actors are still negotiating their deals, but the deal has already been completed with director Greg Mottola to helm this feature. Having most recently handled Larry David’s awkwardly enjoyable HBO movie Clear History, which also starred Hamm, Mottola is more recognizable for such riotous gems as Superbad and Adventureland, and his work on series like Arrested Development and Undeclared.
This trio is just oozing with potential, although the only plotline THR has is generic enough to go either direction. The story "follows a type-A couple in an idyllic suburban neighborhood who discover that their new, seemingly perfect neighbors are undercover agents." No distinction between which actor would get what role, but there’s room for two hilarious female leads to join them.
No screenwriter for the project is named, but Parkes and MacDonald have been developing the project for a couple of years. While the couple has a few comedies like the Men in Black franchise and Dinner for Schmucks, they’re usually more involved with serious fare like The Kite Runner, The Ring and most recently Flight. Does that mean this will be a comedy with a budget big enough to buy up an entire suburb? We’ll see.
Hamm, who will soon have millions of TV audiences eating out of his hands as Don Draper during Mad Men’s final season, has often balanced that show’s serious tone with a ton of work in television comedies of different kinds, such as Archer and Childrens Hospital. But his upcoming film work, beyond voicework in The Minions, is of more emotionally driven fare. In a couple of months, Craig Gillespie’s sports drama Million Dollar Arm and James Franco’s currently filming take on William Faulkner’s classic The Sound and the Fury.
Thankfully done with Hangover sequels, Galifianakis was most recently seen on TV for the hilarious second season finale of IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang!, but you probably saw him just the other day when he interviewed President Obama on his anti-talk show Between Two Ferns, which was more enjoyable than anyone could have hoped for. He’ll be seen later this year in James Bobin’s Muppets Most Wanted and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s star-studded comedy Birdman, and will next break from his comedic roots for the gay rights drama Freeheld.
Speaking of Between Two Ferns, let’s take a trip back to 2008 for a little Galifianakis on Hamm on wry. (Pun!)