Producer Martin Shafer announced today that J.K. Simmons and Chris Elliott will join writer/director Marc Lawrence's new untitled romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant with Marisa Tomei, Bella Heathcote and Allison Janney. The film will begin shooting in New York in April. Shafer will produce with Liz Glotzer for Castle Rock Entertainment. FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales for all territories outside the U.S.
In 1998, 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 portray Dr. Lerner, Chairman of the University's English department, a family man who takes Michaels under his wing. Simmons is represented by The Gersh Agency.
Elliott will portray Jim, a Shakespeare professor and next-door neighbor to Michaels, in search of that certain someone. Elliott is represented by UTA and Anonymous Content.
Shafer, Glotzer and Castle Rock Entertainment recently produced Richard Linklater's Bernie, released by Millennium Entertainment, Friends with Benefits released by Screen Gems, and Whit Stillman's Damsels in Distress, released by Sony Pictures Classics. 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 Before Sunrise.