Last Chapter of Focker Trilogy Finally in Development

February 19, 2009

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You'd think that after meeting your wife's parents and then introducing them to your parents, most of your family-related comic mishaps would be over. Not the case (if you're Ben Stiller)! If you're Ben Stiller, and your father-in-law is Robert De Niro, you'll never escape from a living hell of pratfalls and nervous family interactions. You might as well kill yourself. But first have kids, because that will make for a great movie where De Niro can accuse you of milking your children:

It looks like "Little Fockers" is finally coming of age.

The long-gestating third installment of the comedy franchise is maturing quickly at Universal — but with new parents.

John Hamburg has been brought on to write the screenplay after Larry Stuckey penned an earlier draft.

Meanwhile, Jay Roach, who of course directed the first two films and had been loosely attached to direct this one, will not helm the picture. The hyphenate is concentrating on the comic romp “Dinner for Schmucks” for DreamWorks and Parkes/Bowles and only will produce “Fockers.”

Among the candidates said to be in the running are comedy veteran Paul Weitz, who wrote and directed “In Good Company” and co-wrote and co-directed “About a Boy”; the quirky-comedy figure David Wain, writer-director of cult pic “Wet Hot American Summer” and Universal’s male-buddy hit “Role Models”; and Peyton Reed, who directed the current Jim Carrey starrer “Yes Man.”

On the casting side, Stiller, Robert De Niro and Owen Wilson — the last of whom had unrelated small parts in the first two pics as an ex-fiance and a minister, respectively, but could have an expanded role here — are in negotiations to star in “Fockers.”

I could always tell we'd need a trilogy to tell the entire Focker arc. Such a rich narrative. At the end of Meet the Fockers, you just get the sense that Ben Stiller needs one more film where he'll finally fully rise above all the family strife, then slip and fall into a pile of dirty diapers. Classic three-act structure.

Congratulations, it's a little Focker [THR]

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