Scarlett Johansson is currently in talks to star in Move That Body for Sony Pictures, and while that title sounds as though the actress is considering branching out into exercise DVDs, it is, in fact, a comedy script from the writing duo behind the successful TV show, Broad City. Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs wrote the screenplay, which became the subject of a studio bidding war in June 2015. Sony was victorious, and their investment in the property was recently justified when Move That Body won a spot on the Black List 2015 selections.
The film is characterized as “The Hangover meets Weekend At Bernie’s,” but the script logline actually harks back to a different male-led, darkly comic movie.
“Five friends rent a beach house in Miami for a batchelorette weekend, and accidentally kill a male stripper.”
This premise bears a striking resemblance to the 1998 Peter Berg film Very Bad Things – or at least the first half of that movie, anyway. While Very Bad Things soon expanded its narrative to include the aftermath of the killing and its effect on a wider range of characters, it would not be unexpected for Move That Body to remain centred on events inside the beach house. This is not only suggested by the title, but also by the fact that these writers in particular tend to focus on specific, single events, exploring every avenue within the confines of that moment.
The power of writers Aniello and Downs clearly lies with female-led projects, so it is encouraging to see them finding success on the big screen – taking the opportunity to create stories with women at the centre, in a cinematic arena.
Aniello is currently aiming to direct Move That Body, with Downs featuring as a cast member in an as-yet unspecified role. What is most intriguing about this project, however, is the possible involvement of Scarlett Johansson, whom we have not seen in a story where she gets to be actual friends with other women in over five years.
Who will those other women be? Watch this space and we’ll let you know.