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Just days before the opening of her comedy Identity Thief, Melissa McCarthy and her husband/partner Ben Falcone are unveiling three new movie projects to be developed via On the Day, a production shingle the duo have formed.
Michelle Darnell, which Universal pre-emptively picked up this week, is based on an original character created by McCarthy and on a story hatched by McCarthy and Falcone. The duo will write the script with Steve Mallory, a compatriot they met in L.A.-based improv group The Groundlings.
The logline is being kept under wraps. McCarthy is attached to star and produce with Falcone.
Cousin Irv From Mars, also set up at Universal, is based on the upcoming book written and illustrated by Bruce Eric Kaplan. Kaplan is best known for his single-panel cartooning work in The New Yorker and has written scripts for Seinfeld and Six Feet Under.
Kaplan, now a co-executive producer on HBO’s Girls, will adapt his book, which tells of a boy and his weird cousin who happens to be from Mars.
Finally, On the Day has boarded Fox’s adaptation of the sex-help book Just Do It: How One Couple Turned Off the TV and Turned On Their Sex Lives for 101 Days (No Excuses!) and will produce the adaptation with Michael Aguilar (The Crazies, The Departed). The book is a memoir by author Douglas Brown, who recounted his and his wife’s attempts to rekindle their 14-year marriage with a 101-day sexual marathon, some of it good, some of it bad, most of it funny.
Just Do It brings McCarthy back in the Fox fold after she successfully wrapped The Heat, the studio’s comedy that pairs McCarthy with Sandra Bullock for her Bridesmaids helmer Paul Feig. The Heat recently was moved to a summer release date.
McCarthy and Falcone will take a pass on writing the Just Do It movie, and McCarthy is attached to play a role.
“We’ve been writing together for longer than we’ve been married,” McCarthy and Falcone tell The Hollywood Reporter in a joint statement. “To be able to produce our own work and other people’s work that we are so passionate about is really a dream come true.”
McCarthy, who stars on CBS’ Mike & Molly, became a Hollywood player with her breakout performance in Universal’s 2011 comedy Bridesmaids. (Falcone had a minor role in the movie as well.) She quickly followed that up by landing starring roles in a pair of big studio comedies: UniversaI’s Identity Thief, which pairs her with Jason Bateman and is directed by Seth Gordon, and Fox’s Heat. Identity Thief opens Friday in theaters.
Falcone will next appear in Nicole Holofcener’s untitled project and recently wrapped Bateman’s directorial debut, the comedy Bad Words. He is also working on a pilot for TV Land.
McCarthy and Falcone are repped by CAA and managers Christian Donatelli and Courtney Kivowitz of the Schiff Co.
Universal senior vp production Erik Baiers will oversee the McCarthy projects for the studio.
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