Strangers With Candy Movie
Picked up by TH!NKFilm
The Press Release that I received from the film's producers:
THINKFilm Takes a Bite of "Candy"
New York, February 7 - THINKFilm has acquired all worldwide rights to STRANGERS WITH CANDY, a feature film adaptation of the acclaimed Comedy Central series of the same name, it was announced today by the company's President and CEO, Jeff Sackman, and Head of US Theatrical, Mark Urman. Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello, who wrote and starred in the series, repeat those chores here, with Dinello also directing. Colbert, now starring in Comedy Central's hit "The Colbert Report," is co-producer, Lorena David and Mark A. Roberts produced, along with David Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants Incorporated, whose first feature film this is. THINKFilm plans to release the film in exclusive engagements early this summer.
STRANGERS WITH CANDY toplines Sedaris as Jerri Blank, a 46 year-old ex-junkie, ex-con who decides to get a fresh start in life and regain the trust of her family, by returning to high school. Little does she know that the cool kids in her middle class suburb are far more dangerous than anyone she ever encountered in prison. Colbert and Dinello portray the science teacher and art teacher respectively (who happen to be enamored of one another), and the ensemble cast also includes Greg Hollimon, Deborah Rush, Dan Hedaya, Alison Janney,
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Kristen Johnston, Justin Theroux, Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker and Sir Ian Holm.
About the acquisition, Urman says "At this important stage of our company's development, we were looking for a film that combined all of the best qualities of 'Crash,' 'Brokeback Mountain,' and "Capote.' STRANGERS WITH CANDY has ethnic slurs, clandestine gay sex, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. What more could we want?!"
About the partnership with THINKFilm, Rob Burnett, President and CEO of Worldwide Pants, said, "At this important stage of our company's development we were looking for a distributor that could give a really funny quote in a press release."
The deal was negotiated by Randy Manis, THINKFilm Executive Vice President of Acquisitions and Business Affairs, and CAA on behalf of the filmmakers.
THINKFilm received its fourth Oscar nomination last week with MURDERBALL, which is up for a Best Documentary Feature award. Its 2005 comedy smash, THE ARISTOCRATS, was just released on DVD and their next theatrical release, the Beastie Boys musical extravaganza AWESOME; I F*#&%N' SHOT THAT!, recently had its world premiere at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and opens commercially on March 31st. THINKFilm is a privately held company with offices in New York and Toronto. For information, please go to www.thinkfilmcompany.com.
Worldwide Pants, Inc. (WPI) is the Emmy-award winning, independent entertainment company that David Letterman founded in 1993. WPI creates original content for television and film, as well as for new media platforms including broadband and wireless. The company's successful network productions include "The Late Show with David Letterman," "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," "Everybody Loves Raymond," and "Ed." WPI currently has several comedy, animation, variety/talk, and feature projects in active development.
From The Hollywood Reporter
ThinkFilm in 'Candy' cult
February 7, 2006
NEW YORK -- ThinkFilm has acquired all worldwide rights to "Strangers With Candy," the feature based on the Comedy Central cult hit about 46-year-old ex-junkie high school student Jerri Blank. The complex deal amounts to about $2 million plus boxoffice bonuses for the filmmakers, according to a source close to the negotiations. The company plans to release the film in exclusive engagements in late June or early July. The acquisition marks a successful resolution for the film's distribution fortunes, which had temporarily been left in a sort of limbo. Warner Independent Pictures picked up the film at last year's Sundance Film Festival for some $3 million, but then first-time feature producer Worldwide Pants Inc. got it back in the fall after WIP raised questions about clearance issues. According to a source close to the production, no changes were made to the feature during or after its time at WIP. Warners' lawyers, the source contended, were overzealous regarding rights clearance issues on posters and other elements in the production. A WIP spokesperson said the company had no comment. (Gregg Goldstein)
From New York magazine
Sweet Revenge For 'Candy'
Warner had let it rot.
February 6, 2006 By Jada Yuan
Remember Stephen Colbert and Amy Sedaris’s movie version of Strangers With Candy? A full year after Warner Independent Pictures laid down $3 million for distribution rights at Sundance 2005, it may finally see the light of day. Scheduled for release last October, Candy reportedly got shelved when Warner balked over the producers’ failure to secure copyright clearance for prop posters and tchotchkes in the film. A source close to the film says the copyright wasn’t as much of an issue as a difference in taste. (“Rumor has it the heads of Warner Bros. don’t get it. Their independent-film branch came back with this strange, offensive comedy, and I think they were just appalled.”) But sources familiar with Warner’s side insist it never got the proper paperwork, even though the filmmakers had months to do so. Rights to the film eventually returned to the producers, Roberts/David and David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, which, sources say, are very close to striking a deal with ThinkFilm (which distributed The Aristocrats) to bring it out this summer. ThinkFilm and Worldwide Pants spokesmen declined to comment.
Stephen Colbert Sweetens The Deal With 'Strangers With Candy' Flick
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sarah Jessica Parker also appearing in film companion to short-lived TV show.
February 13, 2006
When short-lived television shows like "The Naked Gun" and "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" were killed by rock-bottom ratings after a handful of broadcasts, few fans expected them to be resurrected as blockbuster movies because, quite frankly, there were only those few fans. Looking at it that way, the future seems sweet for "Strangers With Candy," the irreverent 1999-2000 program that will resurface in theaters this summer with a fiercely loyal built-in audience.
"We found ourselves after the series was over," Stephen Colbert said while the cast offered MTV News a preview of the full-length film of the same name. "About a year later we wrote a book, and while we were making the book we kept doing character voices and said, 'Oh, Jerri Blank would say that.' "
"We had like a hundred pages of that," Paul Dinello added. "Then a producer named Mark Roberts came and said, 'Well I can get this money together and it would be no trouble, and you guys could have complete freedom behind this movie.' "
Half-joking, Dinello punctuated his statement: "That didn't happen."
What happened instead was a difficult journey down a long and winding road, with the shared passion of the filmmakers and fans ultimately saving a project that sometimes looked like it might never see the bright flicker of a movie projector. A successful debut at Sundance '04 was followed by months of studio politics and complex clearance issues, until indie distributor ThinkFilm recently rode in and rescued the flick. Now the show's vocal fanbase can finally look forward to its next fix of Jerri, a 46-year-old former junkie adrift in a high school full of "very special" lessons.
"Jerri always needs a moral dilemma," Colbert said of the film's plot. "The after-school specials were always that in the first 30 seconds you knew that mom has a drinking problem ..."
"... or daddy has two mommies," chimed in Amy Sedaris, the actress/comedian who returns for her breakout character of Jerri.
"Or her boyfriend wants to go all the way," Colbert grinned. "So we knew that Jerri needed a dilemma, and we thought: 'What's the most basic dilemma you can have in high school?' And that is: Do you give into peer pressure? And so it evolved from there into betraying her friends, and then the actual event came at the science fair."
With the current "Colbert Report" star returning as loose cannon science teacher Chuck Noblet, and Dinello playing gay art teacher Geoffrey Jellineck while simultaneously directing, the three stars would have had their hands full already even if they hadn't been committed to writing the movie as well. "I'll put a story line or an outline together and structure some scenes, and then I'll take it to these guys and I'll say, 'This is what's going on in the scene,' " Noblet said of the process. "We'll improvise for about an hour in the character voices, and we'll just record what makes us laugh."
Once again alluding to the unpredictable nature of the low-budget shoot, Dinello added that the main plot idea was hatched "two days before the cameras started to roll."
"I had dental surgery," Sedaris said of yet another adversity to be overcome. "I had stitches in my mouth ... but it was easy to slip into Jerri with these two coming up with stuff for Jerri to say. I couldn't wait to say it."
The dialogue was similarly appealing to an impressive list of Hollywood names that proudly count themselves among the "Candy" diehards, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick and current Oscar-frontrunner Philip Seymour Hoffman. "Some we fooled, some we knew," Sedaris said of the supporting actors.
"And some we had some information on them that they didn't want out in the public," Dinello riffed, before getting serious. "Some were friends and fans of the show, so when they found out we were doing it they said, 'Oh, write something for me. We'd love to be in it.' Ian Holm we had no connection with. We just sent him a script and a request and ... he asked his son about 'Strangers With Candy' and his son said, 'Yeah you should do it.' And so he called and said he would."
"We were shocked when he said yes," Colbert said of the "Lord of the Rings" star. "We thought that was the stupidest thing we'd ever heard."
Once the cameras began rolling, the three found themselves falling back into their old characters quite easily. "Everything we always do together is to make each other laugh," Colbert summed up of the "Candy" ethos. "If it doesn't do that, then we don't put it in."
This summer the three comedic veterans will aim to make patient fans and newcomers alike laugh as well — and Colbert won't complain if they overlook the finest dramatic performance of his career. "I stretched a little, I went from weak to frail," he smirked, before revealing the secret behind his thespian skills. "I had a very sad childhood and sometimes I'd tell Paul, 'I need an hour to work up to these tears. Just get the crew out of here, it's a closed set.' And then he'd stand behind the camera and mock my figure."
— Larry Carroll, with additional reporting by Corey Moss
THINKFilm Grabs the Candy
Strangers with Candy feature lands a distributor.
by Jeff Otto
February 7, 2006
THINKFilm announced today that it has aquired the worldwide rights to the Strangers with Candy feature film, based on the cult Comedy Central series. The film features Amy Sedaris in the lead role of Jerri Blank, a recovering junkie who returns to high school at the ripe age of 46. Co-stars include Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello as romantically involved teachers and Deborah Rush as Blank's evil stepmother.
Joining the cast are a host of notable cameo appearances including Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Allison Janney, Dan Hedaya, Kristen Johnson and Justin Theroux.
The film was produced by David Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants. Warner Independent Pictures originally picked up the film at last year's Sundance Film Festival for around $3 million, but the deal allegedly fell through over clearance issues over posters and other portions of the production.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, THINKFilm has stated, "all problems were overcome before we acquired it (and) we do not have issues that will prevent us from gleefully promoting it." THINKFilm's deal is said to be in the $2 million range plus filmmaker box office bonuses.
THINKFilm's Head of US Theatrical, Mark Urman, stated in a press release, "At this important stage of our company's development, we were looking for a film that combined all of the best qualities of Crash, Brokeback Mountain, and Capote. Strangers with Candy has ethnic slurs, clandestine gay sex, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. What more could we want?!"
If all continues according to plan, the Strangers with Candy movie should hit theaters in limited release this June or July.
The April 28/May 5, 2006 issue of Entertainment Weekly, their annual Summer Movie Preview issue, featured the following blurb about the Strangers With Candy movie:
Strangers With Candy
STARRING Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick
WRITTEN BY Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello, Amy Sedaris
DIRECTED BY Paul Dinello
A prequel to Comedy Central's cult series that was canceled in 2001 (sic, it was actually 2000), the big-screen Strangers is like an after-school special crossed with a Lifetime flick dosed with laughing gas. "In superhero [talk] we call it an origin movie," deadpans Colbert, who reprises his role as a not-so-ambiguously gay schoolteacher. The film finds Sedaris' ex-crack whore/junkie Jerri Blank released from jail and becoming Flatpoint High School's proudest 47-year-old freshman. On the New Jersey set two years ago (the release was delayed due to a change in distributors) Sedaris admitted she had jitters about carrying her first feature: "It's terrifying! It's like I'm drivin' a bushey, no license!" (June 28)