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Screenwriter Geoff LaTulippe is set to make his directing debut with a project for Paramount, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed today. LaTulippe, who wrote the Justin Long–Drew Barrymore comedy Going the Distance, got the gig after helming a successful short for WME that attracted the attention of Paramount Film Group president Adam Goodman.
Speaking with THR, LaTulippe said directing the original short, which starred comedian and Curb Your Enthusiasm actor JB Smoove, came up as a matter of practicality. “It actually came up almost by accident,” LaTulippe said via e-mail today. “I was approached by WME to write something for a company-centric short they were doing. We had sort of a short time frame to get it done, and when they talked about pairing me up with a director, I just asked if it was OK that I gave it a shot, thinking we’d be able to shoot/edit it quicker. They agreed, and I was off. Long story short, JB Smoove is ridiculously fun to work with, he was awesome and I had a lot of great help that made the job easy.”
LaTulippe said that the short’s immediate popularity snowballed from there into the meeting, and the directing job. “Adam Goodman saw it and called my reps asking if I had any ideas that I might want to direct,” he said. “After I picked myself up off the floor, there WAS one idea that I had in mind that I really wanted to pitch them.” Although the screenwriter has enjoyed his partnerships as a screenwriter, he looks forward to the opportunity to make calls on a film as its director as well. “It’s sort of a dream for a writer, getting to direct,” he said. “You always want to collaborate, but you want that one shot to sort of have the last say on a lot of things.”
“For me, it’s all about finding out if I have the right instincts in comedy, finding out if I actually know what I’m doing. So that’s the crux of this opportunity for me. I’m cautiously optimistic. And a little nauseous.”
The screenwriter’s collaborators on the project include Dawn Olmstead, whom LaTulippe said he fell into an immediate groove with the first time he met her. “I had been working with Dawn, Kate Fenske and Veronica McCarthy at Grady Twins on a TV idea, and our work on that kind of snowballed over into this particular project,” he revealed. “It’s weird to sit down in a room with other people and have the exact same comedic sensibilities, so when you find that, you latch on and ride it out for all you can. And we all have the same mindset, which makes this a hell of a lot of fun.” LaTulippe also said that he hasn’t met another of the film’s producers, screenwriter and executive producer Marti Noxon, but he’s confident in their collaboration based on her successful coordination of like-minded creative types on her own projects, which include Glee and Mad Men.
“I haven’t had the chance to actually sit down with Marti yet, but you can tell that, as a screenwriter, she has a certain idea of the path development should take and has surrounded herself with people who are on the same page. For me, it couldn’t be a better fit.”
LaTulippe is repped by WME and Mosaic.
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