'Ruby Sparks' & 'Little Miss Sunshine' Directors Light 'The Big Cigar'
by Ethan Anderton
December 13, 2012
This year, directing duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris delivered the low key Ruby Sparks, a romantic comedy in the same vein as Stranger Than Fiction. It's easily one of the best films of the year with great performances from Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, and audiences should seek it out on Blu-Ray/DVD right now. Now Dayton and Faris, who also directed the crowd pleasing Little Miss Sunshine, are attached to direct The Big Cigar at Sony Pictures. The story sounds like an unofficial companion to Ben Affleck's Argo as it follows a successful cover effort to smuggle the Black Panthers co-founder Huey Newton out of the United States and into Cuba to avoid being prosecuted for murder and another violent crime. More below!
In fact the script will be based on a Playboy Magazine article by Joshua Bearman (who also wrote the article that Argo was based on) and he will write the screenplay with Jim Hecht, who wrote Ice Age: The Meltdown. That's a strange mix of writing talent, and with Dayton and Faris on board, maybe this will be a little bit lighter fare than Argo? Because when you get down to the details, these stories are too similar for The Big Cigar to get made without being hailed as merely a copycat of Argo, especially if the story turns out to be a straight up dramatic telling of this true life story.
The Big Cigar also has ties to the film industry as Newton's escape was aided by Easy Rider producer Bert Schneider, someone who was actively involved with helping another notorious figure, Abbie Hoffman, founder of the Youth International Party which was involved in the riots at the 1968 Democratic national Convention. Schneider, who also produced TV shows like "The Monkees" built a movie around Newton called The Cigar, which he never intended to make, but used it as a cover to get him and his girlfriend out of the country. Yeah, that's an Argo sequel. Of course, the setting and different political climate makes it interesting in its own right, but this film would be better served coming out five or ten years from now.