There are some movies that thrive at festivals, and some that get lost in the fray. Unfortunately, Max Winkler's debut feature Ceremony, which centered on the unlikely romance between a bedraggled twenty-something writer (Michael Angarano) and an elegant older woman (Uma Thurman), fell into the latter category, getting an unenthusiastic response from critics, and ultimately earning an underwhelming box office. However, I'm among those that found Winkler's quirky rom-com vibrant and beautiful, and so I'm thrilled to hear he has at long last selected his follow-up.

Earlier this year, Winkler was attached to helm an in-the works mob comedy which will star Steve Carell and Jake Johnson. While this remains on the horizon, Deadline reports that Winkler and Ceremony producer Matt Spicer will also co-write a film adaptation of Nick Jones’ stage play The Coward, which Winkler will ultimately helm. The show is set in 18th century England, and centers on the aristocracy. While a period piece about nobility may seem an odd choice for Winkler, The Coward is no stodgy drama, but rather a colorful comedy that notably featured coveted character actress Kristen Schaal in its 2010 run in New York City's Lincoln Center Theater.

The Coward mentioned in the title is one Lucidus, a gentleman who is delicate to say the least (his interests include butterfly collecting and pie tasting.) When forced into a duel he cannot bear to face, Lucidus hires a lowbred man as his stand-in. From there, hilarity ensues. It seems the kind of caper Winkler's offbeat energy would be a great fit for, but this gamble is far from a safe bet as The Coward received mixed reviews, with Schaal repeatedly being mentioned as its standout. Winkler and Spicer seem sure to attempt to address the issues the stage show struggled with, but hopefully they'll also be sure to bring Schaal in to reprise her role as the daffy lady Isabelle Dupree.

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