According to a recent Deadline report, blockbuster comedy director Todd Phillips (The Hangover) and Hollywood producer Joel Silver are putting their heads together to produce a raunchy, Hard-R comedy. The catch? The movie will be produced for a scant $12 million and will feature a cast of actors who have never appeared on the big screen before.
The film, which is backed by Warner Bros. and is currently in pre-production under the working title of Project X, will be the feature directorial debut for commercial director Nima Nourizadeh. Although Phillips isn’t directing the project, he will remain a strong creative presence during filming, which is set to begin on June 14th (between the time when Phillips finishes his current project, the Robert Downey-Zach Galifianakis film Due Date, and before he starts work on The Hangover 2.)
In addition to having an unusually low budget and a no-name cast, Project X is unique in that the plot of the film is being kept under extremely tight wraps. In fact, according to Mike Fleming at Deadline, the movie is such a big secret that the producers are not even providing auditioning actors with full scripts, only “watermarked pages.” The only piece of information Fleming was able to dig up on the film is that it’s got “an outrageous high concept.”
Now granted, I have no idea what the film is about, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I think studios should invest in projects like this more often. By and large, films are produced with a focus on the bottom line. As such, they are written, cast, and marketed for the easiest mass consumption. Sadly, studios like to hedge their bets with a formula that works rather than taking a chance on something new.
Project X, on the other hand, presents a unique alternative. By taking on a young director and a cast full of nobodies, Warner Bros. is taking a significant creative risk. However, they are mitigating this risk by pegging the film’s budget at $12 million and placing the entire project in Phillips’s capable hands. In this way, the studio stands to suffer relatively minor losses if the film isn’t a success, while earning major profit if it is. Likewise, audiences are treated to a film that hasn’t been overly hyped and marketed to the point where we’ve lost interest.
What do you think? Do you like the sound of Project X? What kind of “outrageous high concept” could the movie’s plot entail?