RKO lays down a new 'Bet'

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RKO is putting money down for "Love on a Bet," a remake of a 1936 road comedy that will be directed by Steve Carr.

RKO's Ted Hartley is producing along with Carr and Jason Taragan via their Rumpus Entertainment banner. Aaron Ray is producing as well.

The original "Bet" was a Depression-era comedy — directed by Leigh Jason and starring Gene Raymond and Wendy Barrie — that followed a man who, in order to raise money for a play, makes a bet with a rich uncle that he can begin a journey in New York's Central Park with nothing but his underwear and end up in California with a suit, $100 and a fiancee.

"The original took place in the days where it was racy to be in underwear," Hartley said. "This movie is going to start out with the guy wearing a lot less than his underwear. It's going to be edgy and romantic."

Dave Punch, who met Carr while the two worked on IFC's series "The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman," is writing the script, which will play up the romance and the cross-country nature of the story. Kevin Cornish is overseeing for RKO.

"Bet" reunites Carr with RKO, for which he did 2007's "Are We Done Yet?" a remake of RKO's "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House."

Carr, who has worked with Eddie Murphy for "Dr. Dolittle 2" and Kevin James for the upcoming "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," hopes that "Bet" will take him in a different comedic direction.

"I've done hip-hop videos, family comedies, a quirky comedy," said Carr, repped by ICM and the Collective. "What I've always loved are movies like 'When Harry Met Sally …' and 'The Sure Thing.' This will be my first swing at a romantic comedy."

Along with developing bigger-budgeted remakes, RKO and its genre division, Roseblood, is chugging along on several fronts. RKO's remake of "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt," starring Michael Douglas, is in the can.

RKO hopes to move fast on "Bet," eyeing a shoot for next year. "It's like doing a souffle," Hartley said about the development process. "You don't serve it before it's ready, but you don't let it bake too long." (partialdiff)
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