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Paul Briganti, one of the key directors for Saturday Night Live, has boarded Chris Pratt’s indie comedy, The Black Belt.
Pratt is starring and producing the project through his banner, Indivisible Productions, with producing partner Jon Schumacher. Monarch Media and its principals Steve Barnett and Alan Powell are also producing, with the company’s Vicky Patel exec producing.
Written as a spec by Randall Green, Black Belt is described as a comedic coming-of-age story about a shy, unassuming teen boy on a quest for expertise in karate, and the unorthodox uncle who guides him along the way. Pratt will play the uncle.
The script is well-regarded in Hollywood circles and made the 2020 edition of The Black List, the list of most-liked unproduced screenplays in a given year.
UTA Independent Film Group will oversee film sales and distribution.
Briganti is known for directing the filmed segments of SNL, many of which have gone viral. Among those were Melissa McCarthy as former White House press secretary Sean Spicer; Donald Glover in the rap video “Friendos”; Brad Pitt as Dr. Anthony Fauci and David Harbour’s parody of The Joker, “The Grouch.”
In making the announcement, Monarch’s Barnett noted that Briganti was “leading the way for the next generation of elevated comedy filmmakers.”
The director called the script “timeless and hilarious,” quipping, “It feels odd though that they want me to direct a movie about an anxious nerd, because I was very cool and popular as a kid. No one fact checks these, right?”
Building out his comedy resume, Briganti has helmed episodes of Chad, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Adam Ruins Everything. He is repped by UTA, Mosaic, and Ginsburg Daniels Kallis.
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