Paul Feig has been working in comedy for more than twenty years. Now the man behind Freaks and Geeks, Bridesmaids, and the criminally underseen Melissa McCarthy film Spy is jumping genres – he’ll next direct a murder mystery called A Simple Favor that currently has Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) and Blake Lively (The Shallows) in talks to star.
The Tracking Board first reported the news of everyone’s involvement with this one. Lionsgate is attempting to take over the project from Fox 2000, who purchased it in January of last year. Weirdly, TTB reports that Jessica Sharzer (American Horror Story) wrote the screenplay, while Deadline says Feig will direct from his own adaptation. Regardless of who receives official credit from the WGA, it seems like a sure bet that Feig would at least take a pass at the material given all the writing he’s done in his career thus far.
A Simple Favor is based on the popular book of the same name by author Darcey Bell, which has been compared to thrillers like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. Here’s the synopsis:
It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time.
But Emily doesn’t come back. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong—Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. She also reaches out to Emily’s husband, the handsome, reticent Sean, offering emotional support. It’s the least she can do for her best friend…
Soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems.
I removed a plot reveal from that synopsis in case it’s a spoiler, but either way, it sounds like there might be some shades of Big Little Lies in the mix here along with the Gone Girl vibes. I can totally see Kendrick as an amateur sleuth looking for Lively’s PR exec, so the casting seems right on the money. I’m equally interested in what Feig will do behind the camera since he’s never done anything in this genre before. This story doesn’t sound like it has a ton of room for jokes in it, so it’ll be fascinating to see if he can apply some style and atmospherics to the proceedings, because if his comedies (while often very funny) have a common flaw, it’s that they’re rarely visually arresting pieces of work.
There’s no start date yet, but we’ll keep you posted when we hear more.
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