The Nancy Meyers movie that recently fell apart at Netflix over budget issues may be revived at Warner Bros.
After being set up at Netflix for over a year, Meyers’ long-awaited return to the director’s chair began to fall apart last week over disagreements about the budget. Sources tell that Warners, attracted to the idea of a ready-made hot project with an A-list cast and possible summer start date, may be stepping in to pick it up. Exploratory talks are underway, according to several sources.
Scarlett Johansson was attached to play the lead role in Meyers’ feature, with Penélope Cruz, Owen Wilson and Michael Fassbender also eying the project. Meyers will write, direct and produce the comedy, which is currently known as Paris Paramount, although it is not clear if that’s the actual title, a working title or a code name.
It is unclear if the cast will remain intact if and when the project moves to Warners. Meyers had been asking for a budget north of $130 million, possibly as high as $150 million, according to sources. Netflix held the film at $130 million. It’s not clear what Warners would agree on given the belt-tightening the studio is facing, although generous backends could end up on the table.
Sources say Paris centers on a talented young writer-director who falls in love with a producer, with the pair making several successful films before calling it quits romantically and professionally. The two are forced back together, however, when a great new project arises, and they find themselves teamed up again and having to deal with high stakes and volatile stars.
There are several parallels with Meyers’ own life. She had a longtime romantic and professional relationship with Charles Shyer, a fellow writer-director-producer, after they met while working in Hollywood. The pair married and had an enviable output that included movies such as Private Benjamin, Baby Boom, The Parent Trap and Father of the Bride. After Meyers and Shyer split, Meyers went on to write and direct movies such as Something’s Gotta Give and The Holiday.
Meyers last directed the 2015 comedy The Intern, starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro. (She produced the 2017 feature Home Again, which was written and directed by her daughter Hallie Meyers-Shyer.) “I am taking a break,” said Meyers in a 2019 conversation with Mindy Kaling at the annual Produced By conference. She also discussed the disappearance of mid-budget comedies like hers from the theatrical marketplace: “The business has changed in a way that is somewhat unrecognizable to me.” The Meyers canon also includes It’s Complicated and What Women Want.
If the Warner Bros. deal comes together, the film is expected to receive a theatrical release. Once constant theatrical presences, rom-coms fell out of vogue at the box office and have become the domain of streamers. Meyers has commanded prices on the higher end for the genre. Her productions have earned a lofty place in the rom-com annals, with Architectural Digest-worthy production design and call sheets featuring massive stars like Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.