Universal has picked comedy troupe Broken Lizard’s latest screenplay Rogue Scholars as well as a second, unnamed project. The studio has agreed to co-finance the scripts with the Motion Picture Corporation of America through its studio feature film investment fund.
It’s a good movie for Universal. Both projects are being described as “low budget,” so there is not much investment on their part. And while Broken Lizard’s films have never set the box office on fire, the group has a loyal fan base which fuels strong home video sales.
Rogue Scholars will see the five members of Broken Lizard – Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske – as five goofy college professors who run afoul of both the students and the administration. When I chatted with Heffernan and Lemme back in December he described the script as “a reverse Animal House.”
While everyone is being tight-lipped about the title of the deal’s second script, we can make a couple of guesses about what it may or may not be. The project that their fans are looking forward to the most is probably a sequel to their biggest Super Troopers. And while the group has stated that they are working on a script for a sequel, Super Troopers was released by Fox Searchlight so presumably they have first dibs on the sequel. Likewise, their script The Babymaker, in which Heffernan would play a man who recruits his friends to break into a sperm bank to steal back some donations he made years previously in order to get his wife pregnant, is currently in development at Warner Brothers. Another project they have talked about for some time is The Greek Road, in which Heffernan and Lemme would play Greek philosophers Plato and Socrates on a road trip being interfered with by the Gods, portrayed by the other three members of the group. What makes it doubtful that this could be the mysterious second film is that Greek Road had previously been passed on by Warner Brothers who felt that the film was a too expensive for their tastes.
That does leave two possible known projects that this mystery second film could be. The first is Pot Fest, first promised at the end of the group’s 2006 Beerfest. The second is a script about a former NFL linebacker called Nutcracker. The group has already shown the script to their Slammin’ Salmon co-star Michael Clarke Duncan who liked the script. Lemme told me back in December that the group and Duncan are currently looking for a way to put the project together. Could this be it?