This story first appeared in the Sept. 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Nearly a decade after his last “mockumentary” filmmaking outing in For Your Consideration, Christopher Guest is getting the gang back together again — well, most of them, anyway.
Netflix said Aug. 11 that it had signed Guest, 67, to write and direct Mascots, which will premiere in 2016 on the streaming service. What Netflix wouldn’t divulge is which of Guest’s usual repertory of regular actors would return to the fold. But sources tell THR that Jane Lynch, Parker Posey, John Michael Higgins, Jennifer Coolidge and Bob Balaban are in various stages of negotiations to headline Mascots, set in and around the world of sports mascots. All of these actors were featured in Guest’s past three films — 2006’s Consideration, 2003’s A Mighty Wind and 2000’s Best in Show — with Posey and Balaban going all the way back to the writer-director’s 1996 community theater sendup Waiting for Guffman.
Two longtime familiar faces, however, are not due to return, according to insiders: Eugene Levy, who also co-wrote the four previous Guest satires, and frequent scene-stealer Catherine O’Hara. It’s unclear why neither will be making a fifth Guest appearance, though scheduling could have something to do with it — both are starring on the Canadian television comedy Schitt’s Creek, which Levy co-created with his son Daniel Levy (the series, which airs on the Pop network in the U.S., has been picked up for a second season). Mascots is due to start shooting in November in Los Angeles.
Levy and O’Hara might be no-shows, but sources tell THR that Chris O’Dowd, the Irish IT Crowd actor who broke out stateside in Bridesmaids and has appeared in St. Vincent and HBO’s Girls, is in talks to join the cast. It will be O’Dowd’s first feature with Guest, although the Irish comedian worked with him on the filmmaker’s short-lived HBO show Family Tree.
The experienced comedian should be a good fit for Guest’s improv-heavy ensemble, which this time around will be riffing on the off-kilter world of mascots — specifically, “The 8th World Mascot Association Championships, where a group of ‘unusual’ men and women, with big heads and furry suits, compete to win the prestigious gold fluffy award and be crowned best mascot in the world,” according to a teaser poster that Netflix released.
Guest (UTA) never has been a big box-office draw as a director (Best in Show is his highest-grossing effort at $20.8 million), but his style of filmmaking has influenced everything from The Office to Modern Family.
Updated Aug. 26 9:40 to reflect O’Dowd worked with Guest previously in television.