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Crashers And Sideways Directors Team Up
Exclusive: Payne and Dobkin plan a new comedy

04 July 2005  |  Written by   

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At the Wedding Crashers premiere this evening, we naturally turned the questions for director David Dobkin to his next project. Now, last we heard, he was planning to work on a fantasy film called Jack, which he described as "a Lord of the Rings take on Jack and the Beanstalk. A big, action, family movie."

But in the last few weeks he's decided to skip ahead to make I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry, which will be written by Oscar-winning screenwriter and acclaimed director Alexander Payne and his writing partner Jim Taylor.

Like Dobkin's current film, this one will feature a wedding – but of a very different sort. "It's about these two firemen in Philadelphia who pretend they're gay to get insurance benefits and then they get in trouble and they have to keep up the charade. It's a Tootsie-type movie."

With gay marriage being something of a hot button issue in the States at the moment (here too, for that matter) we wondered if he had any hesitation in taking on such a controversial topic. "It could be an important film if we don't totally screw it up. But I've got two of the best writers around doing the work, so…You can't make a joke out of the subject matter. You have to be very careful, because it is a topic and it is an issue that, if you do it right, you can open some people's minds. It's all about tolerance and understanding what it's like to be in someone else's shoes."

A fan of Sideways, Dobkin was clearly pleased to have Payne and Taylor working with him on the project. "They asked me, 'Who do you want to re-write the script?' I said, 'Alexander Payne,' and everybody was like, 'Oh god.' We sent him the script, and he and Jim called and said, 'We like it! We have some ideas," so I was like, 'Uh, OK. You just won an Oscar; this is weird!'

"It's got a lot of character, a lot of heart. It's maybe a little bit bigger and broader than some of the stuff they've done, but it's got the same depth of character and the same intelligence."

With Wedding Crashers and Shanghai Knights showing that Dobkin can handle the broad stuff, and with Payne and Taylor adding in their subtlety of character, this could be one to watch out for. You heard it here first!

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