Russell Brand’s film work to date hasn’t exactly appealed to the family crowd or horror enthusiasts (though Hop was easily one of the scariest films of 2011 in all the wrong ways), but nonetheless he’ll star in a film that will bring the two audiences together. Paramount Pictures and Platinum Dunes – the production company headed by Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller – have set the Get Him to the Greek comedian to topline a supernatural children’s tale titled Hauntrepreneur, which comes from a spec script from Scott Rosenberg (Kangaroo Jack, Con Air).
The story is said to revolve around a family that has trouble adjusting to life in a new town and then hires a peculiar man who calls himself “the Hauntrepreneur” to help. To unite them, the eccentric figure creates a haunted house filled with a horde of odd creatures and, one would assume, pits them against the family. No other casting decisions have been made, but now that the titular role has been filled, the search for a director has begun.
Based on that brief description, I’m getting the feeling that Hauntrepreneur will boast shades of Beetlejuice, Poltergeist and The Haunted Mansion along with state-of-the-art special effects to bring an army of monsters to life. With Michael Bay and company involved you know you’re in for an adrenaline pumping adventure, and Brand has the whole over-the-top thing down pat, so I’m excited to see what kind of gusto he’ll bring to an out-of-this-world character like this. The only red flag I see at this stage is the fore mentioned parties producing a “family film.” Even in his more toned-down big-screen appearances, Brand is raunchier than a late-night White Castle feast. And family friendly isn’t in Bay’s vocabulary. Together, they are a recipe for cinematic vulgarity unlike the world has ever seen. I think it’s going to take a filmmaker on the other side of the scale to balance this production out – might I suggest an Andy Fickman or Thor Freudenthal?