Life­time de­cid­ing what it will do with Will Fer­rell movie af­ter leak

The China Post - - ARTS & LEISURE - BY DAVID BAUDER

The fate of a Life­time TV movie fea­tur­ing Will Fer­rell and Kristen Wiig re­mained un­clear on Fri­day af­ter the project’s planned se­crecy was spoiled.

The for­mer “Satur­day Night Live” stars made the omi­nously ti­tled “A Deadly Adop­tion,” play­ing a cou­ple who be­friend a preg­nant woman in hopes of adopt­ing her child. Life­time’s movies, fre­quently melo­dra­mas about life and love that ap­peal to the net­work’s pri­mar­ily fe­male au­di­ence, are a genre onto them­selves and of­ten ripe for par­ody.

“We are dis­ap­pointed that our se­cret project with Will and Kristen was leaked and the net­work is de­ter­min­ing the fate of the movie,” said Michael Feeney, spokesman for Life­time’s cor­po­rate par­ent, A&E Net­works, on Fri­day.

A spokesman for the ac­tors’ tal­ent agency had no im­me­di­ate com­ment on Life­time’s plans.

Af­ter word of the project got out, Fer­rell is­sued a state­ment that he and Wiig had de­cided it was “in the best in­ter­est for ev­ery­one to forego the project en­tirely.” Life­time had said the movie was due to air this sum­mer.

Fer­rell’s state­ment may be an empty threat: Stars gen­er­ally don’t have the abil­ity to kill an al­ready-filmed project, ex­cept in the un­usual cir­cum­stance where they fully fi­nanced the pro­duc­tion, said Jonathan Han­del, an en­ter­tain­ment at­tor­ney for the Hol­ly­wood firm TroyGould. Even then, they could face a breach of con­tract law­suit if the film had al­ready been leased to a tele­vi­sion net­work.

In most cases, tele­vi­sion movies are fi­nanced jointly by a pro­duc­tion com­pany and the net­work it­self, Han­del said.

It has been a tu­mul­tuous pro­fes­sional week for Fer­rell, whose “Get Hard” movie with Kevin Hart is cur­rently in the­aters. On Tues­day, Fer­rell’s agent Ja­son Hey­man was part of a high-pro- file group of agents who de­fected from the Cre­ative Artists Agency to an­other group, the United Tal­ent Agency. Fer­rell stuck with Hey­man, switch­ing his rep­re­sen­ta­tion to UTA. A day later, the Hol­ly­wood Re­porter wrote an anony­mously sourced story about the Life­time movie, “A Deadly Adop­tion,” pre­vi­ously a closely guarded se­cret.

It’s not known how long Life­time and the stars planned to keep the se­cret. Typ­i­cally, a ca­ble net­work that lands two big Hol­ly­wood stars for a project gives po­ten­tial view­ers at least some ad­vanced warn­ing that it is com­ing.

If Fer­rell and Wiig le­git­i­mately want to shelve “A Deadly Adop­tion,” it means months spent writ­ing a screen­play, act­ing the scenes and edit­ing the movie would go to waste.

Fer­rell and Wiig ap­peared to­gether in the big-screen movie “An­chor­man 2: The Leg­end Con­tin­ues,” play­ing it strictly for laughs.

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