We all know Nicholas Stoller for his comedy work, from Forgetting Sarah Marshall to the upcoming frat comedy Neighbors, but it looks like the typical funny man may be branching out in terms of genre for his next film – at least a little bit. While it was announced recently that Stoller would next be directing a buddy cop comedy starring Seth Rogen and Kevin Hart set in the 40s, we now have some more details that suggest the picture will be much more action heavy than anything the director has ever done.
While talking to Stoller in New York City today, I asked him about comparing Black And White to a Tarantino movie, as QT’s films always tend to sport some uber-violent material. Here’s what he had to say:
WGTC: The next project you’re being tied to is a buddy cop comedy tentatively being called Black And White and starring Seth Rogen and Kevin Hart. Has writing commenced on that project, or is it simply an idea at this point?
Nicholas Stoller: Oh no, Rodney Rothman wrote a draft and it’s hysterical. It’s an insane movie. I’m a little out of my comfort zone which means I want to do it, I like to challenge myself each time. It’s about the first black and white cop pairing in history, and it takes place in the late 40s. It’s a weird mix of whatever my tone is mixed with Tarantino mixed with Baz Luhrmann. They’re infiltrating the jazz scene in New York City to bust jazz musicians for weed, so it’s insane. I think it should be a fun, really nutty movie.
WGTC: So you just said Tarantino – does that bring violence into the mix?
Nicholas Stoller: It’s a really violent movie. Violent, but fun! I want it to be fun. I want it to be like the way when you watch a Tarantino movie – and this is a strange reference, and I think Luhrmann is similar – but you’re at a fun, crazy party. There’s also a revenge element to it to, which is why I mentioned Tarantino.
I don’t think we’ll go as gory – I don’t want people throwing up or anything. There’s an element to it that I really love and it’s that all the characters in the movie have horror PTSD from WWII, because they’ve all murdered so many people – every character. Good guys. Bad guys. Every single one of them. You’re constantly seeing these brutal flashbacks to WWII, which to me is very funny. That’s the tone of the movie.
WGTC: So an action comedy?
Nicholas Stoller: An action comedy with a bit of L.A. Confidential too, that kind of plot. I’ll say this, it’ll be unlike any movie anyone has every seen – for good or bad [Laughs]. It’ll be so many different things in one movie.
The more Stoller talked about Black And White, the more excited I got, honestly. Tonally, I immediately thought back to Tropic Thunder while Stoller was talking about the blend between action and comedy, but the comparison to Tarantino – along with the PTSD bit – makes me think our comedians are going to be covered in gore for some scenes. Think the upbeat jazz tempo of The Great Gatsby mixed with a story of revenge like Django Unchained – I’m not sure I can fathom a beast so vast in range.
While no cast has been announced besides Rogen and Hart, I’d say Black And White (if that title stays) is off to a pretty decent start, and it’s a relief to see Stoller so excited about the project. Something of this nature needs a certain attitude, a tone only passion can create. Judging only on the conversation I just had, I can say I’ll be waiting on pins and needles to hear more about this project.
What do you think? Does this sound like a winning combination of old-timey action and comedy?