So, John Wells is here to stay, then? The former titan of network TV — having taken high-ranking positions on shows such as ER, post-Sorkin The West Wing, Shameless, Southland, Third Watch — made a cinematic leap with the small-scale The Company Men, and only a few years later moved on to August: Osage County. That picture, set to release this fall, puts him in some bigger, more award-friendly leagues: it’s backed by The Weinstein Company, uses a Pulitzer Prize-winning play as source material, holds an impressive roster — including (but not limited to) Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, and Benedict Cumberbatch — and works on bigger scales than the feature debut.
Keeping up the pace, Deadline tell us Wells has taken the reigns on Chef, the cooking-obsessed drama that had been making the rounds as of late when, since-faulty reports told us, a reunion for The Place Beyond the Pines‘ Derek Cianfrance and Bradley Cooper. People Magazine’s former Sexiest Man Alive has remained on board; the world’s most convincing Ryan Gosling doppelgänger, you can see, has not. (Intouchables star Omar Sy, rumored months ago, goes unnoticed in the Deadline article.) Since they have hands in both pies, perhaps this is a sign that The Weinstein Company are fond of what’s come from Osage County?
That shall remain to be seen until this fall, and the potential of John Wells‘ Chef will not go fully answered for some time. Being such a hot star and all, Cooper‘s schedule — projects with David O. Russell, Cameron Crowe, and, coming together recently, Steven Spielberg — will occupy a lot of time which, otherwise, could’ve made more headway for the project at hand. When you’ve got that sort of lineup in your future, though, this is a project he can hold off on.
Does Wells appear to be a suitable replacement for Cianfrance? How does your perception of Chef, should any have previously existed, now change?