Neil LaBute Signs with Screen Gems for Two More Films

January 27, 2009

Neil LaBute

After a successful team up on Lakeview Terrace, Screen Gems has signed director Neil LaBute to a new two-picture deal. LaBute's first project will be the remake of the British comedy Death at a Funeral that is set to star Chris Rock (as we announced last year). This unnecessary remake will be an ensemble comedy about a funeral ceremony that serves as the catalyst in the reveal of shocking family secrets. I hate the idea of remaking what was a very great, very British black comedy for American audiences -- it's sure to void itself entirely of subtlety and situational irony in lieu of slapstick and overt, broad humor.

LaBute's second film as specified by Screen Gems will be the romantic comedy Here Comes the Sun (which has nothing to do with The Beatles song). Written by Nina Coleman, this likely offbeat and not altogether conventional film (if LaBute's history is any indicator) is being kept tightly under wraps. Even without any plot details, I've got more hope in this project, assuming that LaBute can recapture the magic that was his 2000 film Nurse Betty. One thing is for sure, LaBute is not shy about tackling projects across multiple genres - even if they're not always good. What do you think of LaBute's future?

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Reader Feedback - 14 Comments


Not a flattering picture.

bRINGER on Jan 27, 2009


It's astonishes me that terrible directors keep getting films made while it takes other (see: good) directors near a decade to get one film made.

Fuelbot on Jan 27, 2009


YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS was fantastic. I'm constantly reminded of what a genius Jason Patric is. The fact that he didnt win an Oscar for that role, let alone be nominated, shows you what a farce all the awards are. laBute unfortunately has never even touched the heights of that film.

Jingo on Jan 27, 2009


LaBute- used to good and then became bad. Death at a Funeral- also used to be good and now it will become bad.

BahHumbug on Jan 27, 2009


saw the movie...enjoyed it. didnt love it,but a remake?i agree why?

esophus on Jan 27, 2009


95% percent of the remakes that come out are unnecessary. I did like Lakeview Terrace though.

Jon on Jan 27, 2009


Is this the same Neil LaBute that's also a playwright?

Michael on Jan 27, 2009


In The Company of Men is still one of my favorite movies of all time which is why I gave Labute about 5 shots afterward. Now we're through. Since, Your Friends & Neighbors, his films have been utterly useless. It's kind of what has happened to Mamet since the Spanish Prisoner. Redbelt anyone?

Joe S. on Jan 27, 2009


Yeah, no. People, the man's movies have LOST money. Apart from Roger Ebert, who's all up in his grill for no good reason, he's the laughingstock of critics. He has been nominated for a Razzie, for Christ's sake. And this isn't even getting into his woman-hatey politics (he probably whacks off to the rape scene in _Boys Don't Cry_) or his craptacular visual ability. Does Neil Big Bootay have pictures of various producers and studio heads ::ahem:: with livestock? Is this how he gets his movies made?

Chelsea on Jan 27, 2009


chelsea, loving those vitriol cocktails, eh? i never judge anything until it's done... then, i'll offer my opinion on the FILM, not the personality or looks or track record of the people involved. to do otherwise makes me the idiot i'm trying to make someone else appear. if he wasn't bankable, he wouldn't have contracts, would he? the man can write, he's an amazing director with a clear vision of what he wants.. the hope is the studio won't step in and make it veer away from that vision.

quin browne on Jan 30, 2009


Labute has written some great stuff. The Shape of Things, In the Company of Men, and Your Friends and Neighbors were all, very good. Esp the latter. The rest was not (sorry Nurse Betty. not bad, but not that compelling). He made some art. Some of it people liked, some of it they didn't. I don't see how, after the art has been made, it has anything to do w/the artist, really. One watches it. One reads it. It's it's own thing then. To bring the artist into it is to give it history, totally unnecessary to experience the text/movie. You like it, you don't. You like the style? You look for the author again. Maybe you get more of the same style, maybe you don't. Maybe he's apeing Mamet, maybe he's not. Does it matter, if it's good? Oh, and Redbelt was fantastic.

gentrysama on Feb 12, 2009


How can one justify Redbelt as fantastic? It was practically Karate Kid 8 written by Mamet. I ruly love Mamet to death but I just thought he wanted to capitalize on the MMA craze and even then there wasn't much action for the actual MMA fans that went to see it because of who was in it. I don't watch MMA but I understand why people like it. It was just a weird blending of crowds that I found wholly unsatisfying.

Joe S. on Feb 12, 2009


Well, would one "justify" anything? I'm not really sure what that means, but I guess you're making some sort of claim of similarity btwn Redbelt and the Karate Kid franchise? I would suggest that any justification falls in your court at the moment of such comparisons. To relate the two would be like comparing Orangina to Orange Juice. They're both performing completely different texts, styles, etc. They aren't really comparable. I mean, you can try to compare them, but it's not very interesting and it doesn't work well. Redbelt in no way ascribes to pop-media culture and movies. MMA is popular, but as a sport, and this movie is really just a hero movie. It's like a western, or a samurai movie (as Mamet himself mentions in interviews). You may read the movie as KK8, and that's fine, but what does that mean? You didn't like the KK movies? Why? Why do you make comparisons to Redbelt? What are you saying by making that argument? I's a confused statement. The movie didn't ascribe to make action for MMA fans. That's the job of an MMA, or another, movie. And why would anyone make a movie about MMA? I would assume that anyone who likes the MMA for it's action would watch the MMA, not a movie about it. Again, confusing. I agree that blending genres doesn't always work none too good, but it absolutely worked here. It worked b/c it wasn't distracting. The story flowed un-eddied through the vehicle of martial arts. It never seems like a martial arts/action movie placed in a drama/hero's movie, or vice versa. It just happens that the conflict has been cultured in the setting of the martial arts subculture. To the contrary, it was refreshing and brought a new facet to this type of movie, in that it glimpsed us a subculture that maybe many of us aren't too familiar with, including Hollywoods connection with martial arts. Something I personally knew nothing about and found interesting.

gentrysama on Feb 13, 2009


@2 fuelbot There's a good reason for that =P Its cause it takes 10 mins to whip up a movie that sucks And much much longer to make one that doesn't Lots of stuff sounds great on paper, that isn't. Takes lots of tinkering to nail out all the bugs in a script.

Dating in Toronto on Mar 23, 2009

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