Cloud Atlas — that bold, uneven David Mitchell adaptation co-directed by Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, and Lana Wachowski — has proved to be one of the year’s most outspokenly divisive films. But if there’s one thing everybody can agree on, it’s this: After last appearing three years ago in Did You Hear About the Morgans?, the film represents a major step in the right direction for Hugh Grant. Less right, unfortunately, was the recent announcement that Grant has decided yet again to go back to the Marc Lawrence well — an actor-director partnership that, since 2002, has spawned romantic-comedy products such as Two Weeks Notice, Music and Lyrics, and the aforementioned Morgans. (I have no intention of typing out that title in full for a second time.)
An article over at The Wrap, however, has brightened up the prospects a bit by announcing that the ever-lovable Marisa Tomei is in talks to star opposite Grant in the film, which, according to the report, is being referred to as the Untitled Marc Lawrence Project. (If you ask IMDb, they’ll say the moniker is Untitled Marc Lawrence/Hugh Grant Comedy.) While the thought of Tomei joining such a derivative-sounding project has a disheartening quality to it, she’s the kind of sharp actress that can spruce up anything she’s in. What I’m trying to say is this: If the film’s getting made no matter what, it might as well co-star Tomei.
The project’s premise reads like a list of formulaic genre kinks, though it at least has the distinction of being about a screenwriter. Here’s a snippet: “The romantic comedy revolves around Ray Michaels (Grant) a witty, sexy, Englishman who, in 1988, is on top of the world in Hollywood, having just won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay. Fifteen years later, he’s creatively washed up, divorced, and broke. With no other options, he takes a job teaching screenwriting at a small college on the East Coast. What he doesn’t expect to find is romance with a single mom who’s gone back to school.”
I’m not going to lie: As forgettable as all this sounds, the thought of watching Marisa Tomei take a screenwriting class taught by Hugh Grant has — dare I say it — the potential to be somewhat passable. Lawrence himself is an educated guy, and almost surely took some screenwriting courses of his own back in the day. Perhaps parts of the film — the non-falling-for-Marisa Tomei parts, for instance — will have the encouraging ring of autobiography.
The film, which is scheduled to shoot in New York in the spring, is being handled by Castle Rock Entertainment.
Would you pay to see this film if Marisa Tomei officially signed on?