Ever since Italian director Gabriele Muccino officially arrived in the States with The Pursuit of Happyness (his first English-language film), he's been searching for the perfect project to follow up his U.S. studio debut. At one point he was attached to helm Tonight, He Comes -- another Will Smith pic set in Brooklyn, New York. Though he eventually left that film (to be replaced by Peter Berg), Muccino has decided to remain in Brooklyn and helm Man and Wife for Universal Pictures. Written by Lorene Scafaria, Variety calls the pic a love story which "stresses an immigrant's love for the U.S. -- something, I imagine, hits pretty close to home for Muccino.
The director adds, "Diving into this culture is something I've enjoyed doing, but there is nothing more universal than love, and this is about how love can wake a man up like nothing else." Love is a theme Muccino has been attracted to; in 2001 he wrote and directed One Last Kiss, which was later remade in America as The Last Kiss starring Zach Braff. He was also set to helm A Little Game of Consequence for Focus Features but, like with Tonight, He Comes, left the project (along cast members Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz)) when script issues were raised. Double Feature partners Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher (World Trade Center, Freedom Writers) will produce Man and Wife, which will begin production this summer in Brooklyn; currently, no cast officially attached.