‘F’ as in ‘Fox Searchlight’

VANCOUVER — Producer Marc Stephenson’s feature film The F-Word has been picked up by Fox Searchlight and will be directed by Alex Holdridge (In Search of a Midnight Kiss).

The project has also landed two of Hollywood’s hottest producers — Russell Smith and Lianne Halfon who made the hit movie Juno. They will produce with Stephenson.

Marc Stephenson

‘It’s an exciting culmination of years of development,’ says Stephenson, who coproduced the 2008 stop-motion feature Edison and Leo.

The F-Word is a romantic comedy based on the Fringe Festival play Toothpaste and Cigars, written by Vancouverites T.J. Dawe and Michael Rinaldi.

Stephenson optioned the film rights back in 2003 and hired Vancouver writer Elan Mastai (MVP: Most Vertical Primate) to pen the script.

It’s the story of Wallace and Chantry who meet and have instant chemistry but decide to just be friends because Chantry already has a boyfriend. The film follows their struggle to maintain a platonic relationship while both yearn for the friendship to become something more.

‘The material is very fresh and the writing is smart,’ says Stephenson. ‘It doesn’t rely on goofy weddings or baby dramas. It’s a funny, quirky tale about two people and it’s a story that I think we all can relate to.’

Stephenson developed the project with the financial support of Corus Entertainment, BC Film and Telefilm Canada. He then signed a shopping agreement with Mark Costa and Ford Oelman of L.A.-based NHO Entertainment to pitch the script around Hollywood.

The screenplay generated a lot of buzz and ended up on the 2008 Black List — an insider Hollywood listing of the best unproduced screenplays of the year.

‘I got a call from Fox Searchlight and they said they loved the script,’ says Stephenson. ‘We hadn’t officially sent the project to them but they got a hold of it.’

No decision has been made on shooting location or casting at this point.