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Baumbach and Stiller off Mr. Popper's Penguins?

04.30.2010
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After writing THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX with Wes Anderson, writer/director Noah Baumbach decided he didn't want to return to the world of family films and has left a bunch of sad penguins in his wake. Baumbach had been attached to direct Ben Stiller in Fox's MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS but left the project earlier this week after "creative differences" with the studio.

Though neither side would talk, it seems that Fox wanted something more family-friendly and were worried Baumbach would deliver something more along the lines of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. And while creatively there doesn't seem to be much wrong with that, Fox is looking for a bigger box-office hit. PENGUINS follows a man who unexpectedly gets a shipment of penguins in the mail and must deal with the chaos they raise at his house.

So what does this mean for PENGUINS and specifically Ben Stiller's involvement in the film? Stiller joined the film to reteam with Baumbach with whom he had just made GREENBERG. Without his involvement (and presumably and entirely different take on the film), Stiller would be gone. Fox may also be willing to let Stiller, who commands a high salary, walk and let the penguins of the film be the stars (something similar to the business model behind ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS).

Stiller just recently wrapped filming on LITTLE FOCKERS and is currently developing ZOOLANDER 2 but hasn't decided yet on what his next project would be.

Extra Tidbit: The book was originally released in 1938.
Source: LA Times

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3:56PM on 04/30/2010

Once again Fox ruins what could have been a great franchise!


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