Thirteen years after his last directorial project, James L. Brooks is planning to make Ella McCay for Twentieth Century Fox. Negotiations are reportedly underway with emerging and established actors that include Albert Brooks, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ayo Edebiri, Spike Fearn, Woody Harrelson, Emma Mackey, and Kumail Nanjiani.
News of Brooks’s latest venture came this week in an exclusive story by Deadline. The article quoted Steve Asbell, president of 20th Century Studios, as saying: “As one of the most empathetic dramatists of our time, James Brooks has set the bar across film and television for decades. From Broadcast News to The Simpsons, Jim is also a foundational element in the bedrock of 20th and we couldn’t be more proud to support him in his long awaited return to the director’s chair.”
Ella McKay focuses on the challenges faced by an idealistic young woman about to become her state’s governor, following in the footsteps of an incumbent who had long been her mentor. The aspiring politician must deal with family issues involving a disabled, needy brother and a husband who wants her to prioritize their marital relationship.
Brooks will produce the movie for Gracie Films, as part of a team that includes Julie Ansell and Richard Sakai.
The executive producer will be Seth Meier. Brooks hasn’t been in the director’s chair since 2010, when he helmed How Do You Know, a comedy that starred Owen Wilson and Reese Witherspoon. More recently, he produced the Lionsgate film Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, an adaptation of the novel by Judy Bloom.
The 83-year-old Brooks made his directorial debut in 1979 with Starting Over. Among his seven other films are Terms of Endearment (1983), Broadcast News (1987), and The Simpsons Movie (2007). Terms of Endearment won him three Oscars, for writing, producing, and directing.
It’s speculated that Ella McKay will debut later in 2024 or in 2025.
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