J.K. Simmons, Chris Elliott to Co-Star in Hugh Grant Rom-Com

NBC; Getty Images
J.K. Simmons, left, and Chris Elliott

Marc Lawrence directs the Castle Rock film, which begins shooting in April in New York.

J.K. Simmons and Chris Elliott have joined the cast of writer-director Marc Lawrence’s untitled indie starring Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei.

Bella Heathcote and Allison Janney already have boarded the romantic comedy, which will begin shooting in April in New York.

Martin Shafer is producing with Liz Glotzer for Castle Rock Entertainment. FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales for all territories outside the United States.

The story is set in 1998, when Ray Michaels (Grant) was on top of the world -- a witty, sexy Englishman in Hollywood who had just won an Academy Award for best screenplay. Fifteen years later, he’s creatively washed up, divorced and broke. With no other options, he takes a job teaching screenwriting at a small college on the East Coast. Although the idea of teaching is less than thrilling, he hopes to make some easy money and enjoy the favors of impressionable young co-eds. What he doesn’t expect to find is romance with a single mom (Tomei) who’s gone back to school.

Simmons will play Dr. Lerner, chairman of the university’s English department, a family man who takes Michaels under his wing. He is repped by the Gersh Agency.

Elliott will portray Jim, a Shakespeare professor Michaels' next-door neighbor, who is in search of that certain someone. He is handled by UTA and Anonymous Content.

Shafer, Glotzer and Castle Rock recently produced Bernie, Friends With Benefits and Damsels in Distress. They executive produced the upcoming Richard Linklater film Before Midnight, which reunites Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in the third installment of the series that began with 1995's Before Sunrise.

Email: Tatiana.Siegel@THR.com, Twitter: @TatianaSiegel27