The dynamic duo of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci joined forces with Jody Lambert to write the DreamWorks drama Welcome to People.
Elizabeth Banks is now in negotiations to star in the film. This will be a great start for the production if she officially joins – Banks is easily one of the most charismatic and enjoyable women on screen today.
The actress will play the main character’s sister in Welcome to People. The story comes off as a variation on Garden State, but with the talent behind the screenplay it should appeal to the masses.
Then again, the three writers have little combined experience in drama.
Deadline first reported the casting update and also shared the general synopsis of the film.
“[Welcome to] People follows a businessman who returns home after his estranged father’s death and discovers that he has an alcoholic sister with a 12-year-old son. Banks will play the sister.”
It doesn’t look like Banks’ charm will be her main card in this film. She’s been effective in serious roles though – specifically Oliver Stone’s W. Even in the political biopic, she portrayed Laura Bush with a hint of charm and southern style.
The most important phase of this project will be hiring a director as the tone of the film could range anywhere from Oscar-bait serious to slightly off-kilter. Surely, that style has been written into the script, but certain directors can take the most serious topic and make it an energetic dramedy.
The story has enough grounding in reality to add a sense of humor into the mix. Orci and Kurtzman, who also wrote Star Trek and the upcoming Cowboys & Aliens, have a way of injecting humor without forcing comedy. Straight drama is a relative unknown for the duo, which may be the reason for Jody Lambert’s input. Keep in mind this is Lambert’s first credit as a writer.
It is interesting that Banks is the first negotiation we’re hearing about. Does this mean she is the most important character? Is the role written with her in mind or is she simply the most accessible actress at the moment? We’re going to have to wait a bit for answers.
Banks is currently filming Man on a Ledge, as a hostage negotiator in Summit’s film, about a suicidal man played by Sam Worthington. She also stars alongside Russell Crowe in the upcoming thriller The Next Three Days.
We’ll keep you posted as more details on the film are announced. It will be interesting to see how the cast unfolds. It calls for some serious acting talent to portray a businessman, an estranged father (if he is in the film), and the 12-year-old son.