Staring at a menu that included American pie and White Castle burgers, “Harold & Kumar” creators Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg have decided they’re hungry for something new.
The duo is coming aboard to direct “American Pie 4,” Universal’s reboot of the “American Pie” franchise, setting the stage for newcomer Todd Strauss Schulson to direct “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas,” the third installment of the trippily successful “Harold & Kumar” series.
The decision for Hurwitz and Schlossberg is tinged with some irony as their original stabs at screenwriting in the late ’90s were designed to bring back the R-rated comedy. When “American Pie” was released in 1999, they saw that someone — writer Adam Herz — had beaten them to the (spiked) punch.
“Pie 4,” which Hurwitz and Schlossberg are already penning, seeks to reunite the cast of the original movies. No deals have been made, but the strong interest on the actors’ end is one reason the project is in high gear.
On the “Kumar” front, Mandate, the production outfit behind the movies, recently completed deals with John Cho and Kal Penn to reprise their roles (Penn’s deal was trickier to make as the actor had left Hollywood to work as associate director at the White House Office of Public Engagement). Schulson’s deal isn’t closed yet. The movie is eyeing a summer start.Hurwitz and Schlossberg, repped by CAA and Principato/Young, wrote the script for the new one, as they have with the previous two. The pair made their directorial debut with the second movie, “Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay.”
The duo was initially on board to direct the third “Kumar,” but their decision to segue to “Pie” resulted in a search for prospects.
Schulson began his career working on music videos, which led to “MTV Whatever Things,” and then he moved into comedy by directing shorts for comedians as well as helming commercials. His short “Mano-a-Mano” premiered at 2008’s SXSW, and the resulting buzz caught agency and studio attention.Insiders say Schulson, repped by Gersh and Brucks Entertainment, wowed Mandate with his presentation and take on “Kumar.” The log line is being kept under wraps, although one story line does resurrect Neil Patrick Harris, who plays himself in the movies and “died” in the second one.
The story line for “Pie 4″ also is being kept under wraps.
The “Pie” series has remained a lucrative franchise for Universal despite the fact that the last time a film hit movie screens was in 2003. The studio puts its trust in its home entertainment division, which began churning out straight-to-DVD spinoffs beginning with “American Pie Presents Band Camp.” The movies, of which at least four were made, did not star the original cast and sold millions of copies on DVD.
-I know I'm perhaps the only film critic who likes all of the theatrical American Pie movies, but I could see this working, provided the original cast does indeed return...thoughts?