Scarlett Johansson, Penélope Cruz Circling New Nancy Meyers Movie Budgeted at $130M-Plus

Nancy Meyers’ return to the director’s chair is getting underway.

After not directing a movie since 2015’s The Intern, the filmmaker known for her upscale romantic comedies is back with a project that is attracting A-list talent. Scarlett Johansson is circling the lead role in Meyers’ upcoming feature for Netflix, multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, with Penélope Cruz, Owen Wilson and Michael Fassbender also eying the project.

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Netflix had no comment.

Meyers will write, direct and produce the comedy, which is currently known as Paris Paramount, although it is not clear if that’s the actual title, a working title or a code name.

Sources say the story centers on a talented young writer-director who falls in love with a producer, with the pair making several successful films before calling it quits romantically and professionally. The two are forced back together, however, when a great new project arises, and they find themselves teamed up again and having to deal with high stakes and volatile stars.

There are several parallels with Meyers’ own life. She had a longtime romantic and professional relationship with Charles Shyer, a fellow writer-director-producer, after they met while working in Hollywood. The pair married and had an enviable output that included movies such as Private Benjamin, Baby Boom, The Parent Trap and Father of the Bride. After Meyers and Shyer split, Meyers went on to write and direct movies such as Something’s Gotta Give and The Holiday.

The project is currently eying a budget in the $130 million to $150 million range — meaning it could be the most expensive romantic comedy to come out of Hollywood — with the studio and filmmakers going back and forth over costs, as first reported by Puck. It has been in the works for some time, with the studio first announcing the feature in April of last year. A previous incarnation circling late last year had Jennifer Lawrence eyed for the lead before the Oscar winner fell out for unspecified reasons.

Romantic comedies have long been the realm of the midbudget, but Meyers has commanded prices on the higher end for the genre. Her productions have earned a lofty place in the rom-com annals, with Architectural Digest-worthy production design and call sheets featuring massive stars a la Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.

Meyers last directed the 2015 comedy The Intern, starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro. (She produced the 2017 feature Home Again, which was written and directed by her daughter Hallie Meyers-Shyer.) “I am taking a break,” said Meyers in a 2019 conversation with Mindy Kaling at the annual Produced By conference. She also discussed the disappearance of midbudget comedies like hers from the theatrical marketplace: “The business has changed in a way that is somewhat unrecognizable to me.” The Meyers canon also includes It’s Complicated and What Women Want.

Johansson was last seen in the Marvel feature Black Widow and is set for the new Wes Anderson movie Asteroid City. Cruz is set for Michael Mann’s Ferrari, Wilson will next be seen in the Disney movie Haunted Mansion, and Fassbender is set for Searchlight and Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins.

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