Like almost every project in Hollywood, the “Community” movie is on hold amid the writers strike. However, the bright spot in the darkest timeline is that, according to star Joel McHale, series creator Dan Harmon and co-writer Andrew Guest had almost finalized the Peacock film’s script ahead of the Writers Guild of America’s (WGA) work stoppage and Harmon was in talks with his ideal director for the movie.
“We had a shooting date coming up, which was going to be in the summer,” McHale told Variety. “And I think they were extremely close to — I mean, Dan is somebody that tweaks things but, obviously, that’s all stopped. But I think it was pretty darn close. It was close, the shoot date was coming up and we were all excited to do it and then the writers strike happened, which obviously put everything on hold, and rightfully so. The writers are asking for very reasonable things. Writers need to be paid properly.”
Harmon, McHale and other members of the WGA have been on strike for more than a month following the union’s inability to reach a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) over issues including AI and streaming residuals. And with the studios and writers not yet back at the table to continue negotiating, the return to Greendale has been pushed.
With the Sony Pictures Television and NBCU-produced project, ordered at Peacock last September, having eyed a start date for this summer, it’s fair to assume the team had at least been close to nailing down a director — and McHale says that is correct, but won’t share who it is.
“I know who wants to do it and we’re talking to and is interested and engaged,” he said.
A source tells Variety there were many conversations with various directors being held ahead of the strike, but no one was pinned down with production dates in flux.
Now the final question is, will the entire cast be involved? Last Harmon spoke with Variety, all the main cast members had been publicly announced as returning for the “Community” movie, with the exception of Chevy Chase, Donald Glover and Yvette Nicole Brown. (The confirmed cast includes McHale, Danny Pudi, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash and Ken Jeong.)
While Chase (who infamously had behind-the-scenes issues with his co-stars and Harmon) is 100% not coming back, Harmon has confirmed that there is “nothing official about anybody being out” — meaning Glover and Brown — and that Glover in particular is “down to clown” in the movie.
McHale believes in Harmon’s ability to get the whole study group back together in the end: “I agree with Dan in that he’s going to get everybody on board.”