Cameron Crowe has a long history of crafting quirky romantic comedy fare, and Deep Tiki is just one known example where the Oscar-winner's off-beat script may have contributed to it falling into development hell a few years ago. The project is being resurrected now that We Bought a Zoo has revitalized Crowe's flailing career, following the lackluster performance of Elizabethtown back in 2005.
Emma Stone has reportedly been locked down to headline Deep Tiki for Crowe. The rapidly-rising actress joins the impressive list of Crowe's leading ladies, including Jennifer Jason Leigh (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Renée Zellweger (Jerry Maguire), Penélope Cruz (Vanilla Sky), and, most recently, Scarlett Johansson (We Bought a Zoo).
Deep Tiki was originally going to be a Ben Stiller/Reese Witherspoon vehicle, with the former playing an archetypical Crowe protagonist (a man who undertakes a spiritual journey to repair his fractured life). Stiller's character was, specifically, a disgraced weapons consultant who is downgraded to a lowly Hawaiian base where he (via Collider) "starts to discover himself and the relationships he left behind against the backdrop of mythical island lore and Cold War-esque diplomacy."
Variety's Jeff Sneider reports that Crowe's recent rewrite of the Deep Tiki script has helped the project to regain momentum over at Sony, following its four-year stint in arrested development (whether or not the screenplay still reads as Joe Versus the Volcano-meets Jerry Maguire, that's another matter).
Stone has ascended to the ranks of fan-favorite starlet in a relatively short period of time, following her roles in Zombieland, Easy A, Crazy, Stupid, Love., The Help, and most recently Amazing Spider-Man. She plays the femme fatale in Gangster Squad (which has been delayed to January 2013) and has Amazing Spider-Man 2 in her future, so there's no reason to doubt the charismatic actress' star meter won't remain on the rise by the time Deep Tiki reaches theaters.
It would come as a surprise to learn that Crowe has reworked his Deep Tiki script for Stone to play a youthful, brooding, protagonist, as opposed to the stereotypical love interest in recent Crowe movies (a stock character unflatteringly dubbed the Manic Pixie Dream Girl). Such an unprecedented move makes the film sound all the more like an intriguing change-of-pace for Crowe - but, again, it's likely that Stone's casting was just announced first.
We'll keep you updated on the status of Deep Tiki as the story develops.