Can Neil LaBute direct a comedy? It’s debatable whether “Nurse Betty” fit the bill and “In the Company of Men” and “Your Friends & Neighbors” had their moments, but a flat-out comedy? Well, after “The Wicker Man” and “Lakeview Terrace,” it may be his savviest career move yet.
Director Neil LaBute takes on the remake of the 2007 British hit comedy “Death of a Funeral.” However, this version has been co-written and and will star Chris Rock. Also starring in the cast are Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan, James Marsden, Zoe Saldana, Danny Glover, Regina Hall and Loretta Devine. Although Hollywood has a history of making American versions of foreign films, the original versions are usually in a language other than English. This is not the case here, however, since the original film was a British production and filmed in English, with an American director (who was, as it happens, born in Britain), and several American actors (including Peter Dinklage, who reprises his role in the remake).
The ensemble comedy centers on a funeral that turns into a farce of missing dead bodies and hidden family secrets. Just when things can’t get any worse, a man arrives saying he’s the deceased’s gay lover and threatens blackmail.
This will mark the first project for Lawrence since back to back appearance in the underrated “Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins” and the forgettable “College Road Trip.”
Morgan has made inroads in the movie world thanks to his role on “30 Rock” and recently starred with Bruce Willis in “Cop Out.”
Rock, who also produced the picture, recently reprised the voice of Marty in “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” and is starring opposite Adam Sandler and Kevin James in “Grown Ups” in June.
Local man wins “Death at a Funeral” stand-up comedy challenge
Philadelphia’s Monroe Martin, 23, is the lucky winner of the “Death at a Funeral” Philadelphia stand-up comedy Challenge, sponsored by Screen Gems and WMMR last week and held at the Helium Comedy Club. Monroe won $1,000 along with VIP seating and free popcorn and soda for the “Death At A Funeral” advance screening in Philadelphia.
His video will be on the official website this week. www.deathatafuneral-movie.com