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Catherine Keener and John Malkovich, together again?

January 31, 2011 |  7:42 pm

Malkov
EXCLUSIVE: Film fans eager to see "My Idiot Brother," Jesse Peretz's Sundance hit starring Paul Rudd that will be in theaters later this year, could soon get another dose of seriocomedy from the filmmaker.

Peretz is making headway on a new family drama called "What's This S%^@ Called Love?" Peretz, who wrote the script and has been talking to financiers, said that Catherine Keener and John Malkovich are attached to star in the movie -- the first time, if financing and scheduling work out, that the actors would appear on-screen together since "Being John Malkovich," the 1999 surrealist hit that turbocharged both their careers. (Representatives for the actors could not immediately be reached for comment.)

The new movie, which is being produced by Tim Perell ("Last Chance Harvey," "The Rebound") is set in Cambridge, Mass., during the 1980s, a place and period in which Peretz, the son of well-known journalist Marty Peretz, came of age.

It centers on a teenage boy who's contemplating coming out. But in a twist, his ultra-progressive family actually wants to celebrate the boy's newfound sexuality, while all the boy wants is to be left alone. (Keener and Malkovich would play the parents; Keener has played the open-minded parent of precocious children before, perhaps most famously in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin.")

"My Idiot Brother," a story of a dimwitted man and his doting sisters, became a breakout at Sundance, snapped up by The Weinstein Co. for more than $6 million. Peretz doesn't make movies very often -- it had been five years since his previous effort, the Amanda Peet-Jason Bateman dramatic comedy "The Ex," came out.

When asked if "What's This S%^@ Called Love?" was a little like the coming-of-age story in "The Squid and the Whale," Noah Baumbach's paragon of upper-middle-class family dysfunction, Peretz didn't disagree. "It's kind of like that," he said. "But maybe a little more positive."

-- Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

 Photo: Catherine Keener and John Malkovich in "Being John Malkovich." Credit: USA Films


 
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