Participant wags 'Taildraggers'


Participant Prods. is teaming with some strange bedfellows — Broken Lizard comedy producers Jay Chandrasekhar and Julia Dray — to develop the broad comedy "Taildraggers."

The feature, set to be scripted by Will Gluck, will revolve around a group of young pilots at a small Alaskan airline who face a bitter rivalry with a local taxi company. The wild plot line ventures into Participant's socially conscious territory when the pilots uncover a plan to dig oil from the Alaskan nature preserve.

"Taildraggers" is the first new Participant film announced since Jonathan King joined the company in April as executive vp production and signals a direction toward reaching younger audiences by a company known for more serious fare. Director of production Nate Moore will oversee the project.

"You want to reach the widest audience possible, not just the 'NPR listeners,' as I call them," King said. "There are many other channels to choose from. When we heard the pitch from Will, we knew this was something we wanted to do."

King added that a few forthcoming projects also will veer from the type of films for which Participant is known, like last year's "An Inconvenient Truth." "As fantastic as 'Good Night, and Good Luck' is, there are some people who will never want to see it," he said. "You don't want to dilute your message, but you do want more people to hear it."

Chandrasekhar and Dray's previous projects with the Broken Lizard comedy troupe include "Beerfest" and "Super Troopers." Participant's upcoming films include Errol Morris' Iraq War torture documentary "S.O.P. (Standard Operating Procedure)," financed with distributor Sony Pictures Classics, and Jonathan Demme's Jimmy Carter book tour docu "Carter."