Television bas been very kind to Matthew Weiner. The creator and executive producer of AMC’s Mad Men enjoys one of the richest deals on TV ($30 million for the show’s final three seasons); he’s been honored with four consecutive Emmys for outstanding drama series; and the show’s two-hour fifth-season premiere March 25 drew 3.5 million viewers, its most-watched episode to date.
Weiner, 46, has had less success jump-starting his planned directorial feature debut, You Are Here. But that soon could be changing. Weiner has set Zach Galifianakis and Owen Wilson to star in the film, and Amy Poehler is in talks.
Weiner wrote the script back in the early 2000s — when Don Draper was merely a twinkle in his eye — and the project could not be more different from Mad Men or The Sopranos, on which Weiner worked as a writer. It’s a dramedy that centers on a weatherman who is dependent on a best friend for his good times. When the friend inherits a business and some land from his father, the weatherman is forced to get his own life in order.
As a small-budget independent film with comedic elements, it’s not completely out of Weiner’s wheelhouse: He worked briefly in comedy in the early 2000s as a writer-producer on shows such as Becker and Andy Richter Controls the Universe.
Here has been a 10-year journey for Weiner. Part of the struggle could be traced to his famous obsession with Mad Men; he’s had a heavy hand in every episode and is signed to remain at the helm of the 1960s-set series through its seventh and (presumably) final season. But casting difficulties also have stalled the film; incarnations of the project have had such actors as Matt Dillon, Jack Black, Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey circling, but nothing took hold. In fact, some Hollywood skeptics have wondered if Here would ever come together.
Now, Weiner and his producers — Gary Gilbert, Jordan Horowitz and Scott Hornbacher — are closer than ever, determined to take the film before cameras as early as late April in North Carolina.