Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris have been some of the most in-demand directors in Hollywood ever since their "Little Miss Sunshine" became a sensation four years back. But they've been pretty choosy ever since, courted by many but committing to few.Now it looks like they've settled on a new project. It's a movie called "Will," a high-concept comedy about a world in which people's lives are scripted by angels, and the particular predicament of one man when his angel quits. Dayton and Faris are near a deal to direct the movie, adding it to a short list of films they've signed on for (the science-fiction comedy "Used Guys" and the sex comedy "The Abstinence Teacher," specifically; the status of both, however, is uncertain).
Generic title notwithstanding, "Will" has an offbeat comedy vibe to it -- Demetri Martin wrote the script -- that's been taking hold in the zeitgeist lately, the kind of comedy vibe that's embodied by Zach Galifianakis. Actually, he's not an incidental example, as we've learned that that the BabyBjorn one has been attached to star in "Will." And Paul Rudd, he of many studio and indie comedy hits, is also on board, according to sources. Several high-profile producers are also expected to join the project. [Updated 7:01 p.m.: Will Ferrell and producing partner Adam McKay of Gary Sanchez Productions are likely to be among those producers, we've learned, joining Scot Armstrong as the original producer and Ravi Nandan as executive producer.]
If it hits its marks, the Paramount-developed "Will" has the possibility to be a better version of "Stranger Than Fiction" (i.e, a high-concept comedy with a literary conceit). Or with its supernatural overtones, it could be a more commercial version of the under-praised Ricky Gervais comedy "Ghost Town". Either way, we can only hope Dayton and Faris bring some of the subtle comic energy and man-on-the-brink insight they brought to "Little Miss Sunshine."
There's no word yet on who's playing the man and who's playing the angel -- though seeing Galifianakis prance around with wings would be worth our $10.50 right there.
Photo: "Little Miss Sunshine." Credit: : Eric Lee, Fox Searchlight