Cohen sets up camp on 'Park' pic


Television comedy veteran Rob Cohen has been hired to helm "Park Narcs," a comedy script set up at Intrepid Pictures.

Jacob Isser and Paul Lutz wrote the original screenplay about a college freshman who takes a summer job as a park ranger at a hard-partying lake after being dumped by his girlfriend. The intervention of a killjoy senator spurs the eccentric ranger crew into action.

"I'm so thrilled that, finally, park rangers are going to get their due," Cohen said from Toronto, where he's finishing filming the documentary "The History of Canadian Humor, If It's Not Too Much Trouble" (yes, he's a native). "Because I'm just sick of them protecting our geysers and everything else — let's toot their horn for a while."

Cohen will rework the script to tailor it to the actors once they are cast (offers are going out this week).

Intrepid's Marc D. Evans and Trevor Macy, who originated the idea with the writers, are producing and co-financing. The filmmakers hope to begin production on the low-budget laugher this summer in Canada or Utah.

Cohen hopes to nail a tone and approach like that of his favorite '80s comedies, such as "Meatballs" and "Better Off Dead." To achieve that, he plans to create a kind of writers room on set and encourage an actual summer-camp atmosphere for the cast and crew that will produce a "lo-fi, homegrown feel."

"I love those kinds of movies," Cohen said, pointing to the "Meatballs" DVD extras. "They wanted to make the experience of making that movie like summer camp, and I think that definitely came across on screen — that whole vibe of how much fun people were having. That's my goal, to take the cast and everybody else, go to the woods somewhere and have a blast."

Intrepid co-produced the horror hit "The Strangers" and has a sequel in development with Relativity Media. It also has the action pics "The Cold Light of Day" and "The Couriers" in development, along with the original script "The Highest Bid."

Cohen, repped by UTA and Generate, has been a writer and/or producer on "Saturday Night Live," "The Big Bang Theory," "Just Shoot Me," "The Simpsons" and "The Ben Stiller Show," which scored him an Emmy Award. The move to features is one that Cohen has been angling to make for the past 18 months.

"It's a gamble," he said. "But this seems like a really fun way to get into it that's not a heavy drama or anything that I would certainly screw up."