Ben Stiller Directing Participant's Help Me Spread Goodness
by Alex Billington
May 3, 2009
Ben Stiller will be taking on quite a challenge. The actor/filmmaker is set to direct a project called Help Me Spread Goodness for Participant Media, a production company that has a mandate that says their films must compel social change. Help Me Spread Goodness, written by Mark Friedman, is about a Chicago banker who gets swindled in a Nigerian Internet scam. It's described as a drama with comic overtones and was developed by Participant Media exec VP Jonathan King and president Ricky Strauss. While the project is meant to be entertaining, it sheds a light on current issues in Nigeria and other African countries.
The reason this is a challenge for Stiller is that I don't know if he's good (yet) at directing anything but comedy. While he's starring in Night at the Museum 2 and Little Fockers, we can't forget that he co-wrote and directed Tropic Thunder and produced Blades of Glory, all comedies. I think he's a great director, I'm just interested in seeing how he handles a more dramatic project that has real world social implications. Maybe this is a chance for him to get some good experience before he directs The Trial of the Chicago 7, which is a big gig he landed in place of Steven Spielberg and, according to Variety, is still set to direct.