There’s a ritual I go through every time I read a story about casting news, and it involves squeezing my eyes shut and concentrating all my energy on making sure neither Kevin James or Adam Sandler has anything to do with the movie I’m reading about. I was already at a loss with the upcoming Pixels, as Sandler has been attached since 2010, but I blame myself for allowing James to squeak past my watch to start negotiations for joining his Grown Ups cast mate in this One More Production and Happy Madison joint. The pair could also be joined by Josh Gad, who is probably most recognizable in audio form at this point, having voiced the role of Olaf the snowman in Disney’s ridiculously successful musical Frozen. I guess they’ve nailed the all-ages crowd control already.
Pixels is based on the 2010 short film of the same name from creator Patrick Jean, who will step in as executive producer. Taking over the feature’s direction is Chris Columbus, best known for his younger viewer-skewing films like Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, the Home Alone flicks, and the first two Harry Potter movies. He should have no problem handling the heavy CGI effects. Tim Herlihy, who’s scripted nine of Sandler’s films in the past, wrote the scrip along with Tim Dowling (This Means War), who co-wrote the awesome 1999 short George Lucas in Love.
So what’s this movie about, you ask? It’s not clear, as the Pixels short was relatively story free and based mostly on the amazing and inventive animation. All that happens is 8-bit video games from the 1980s magically appear in a big city and wreak all sorts of pixelated mayhem. Subways? Pac Man ate them. Skyscrapers? Tetris blocks are making them disappear. And the Space Invaders squad is there to handle anything else still rounded off and moving. Check out the short below, and hold on to your nostalgia.
Again, these are still just early talks, so maybe “something” will come up and one of them will have to drop out. The producers are also trying to get Jennifer Aniston in there, but scheduling conflicts are making it difficult.
On the big screen, Gad can be seen later this year in Zach Braff’s sophomore directorial effort Wish I Was Here and the Jeremy Garelick comedy The Wedding Ringer. On the small screen, he’s joining Billy Crystal for the sketch show-themed sitcom The Comedians. James, meanwhile, could be making a stretch for his next film, the comedic war drama Little Boy for Alejandro Monteverde, but he’ll be right back in his usual form for Paul Blart 2. Is it too much to hope that one of the cars from Pole Position knocks this production into a different batch of actors?