July 9, 2009 / 4:01 AM / 10 years ago

Phillippe, Kilmer in talks for "MacGruber" film

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - “MacGruber,” the recurring “Saturday Night Live” skit that parodies the action series “MacGyver,” is one step closer to going before cameras as a big-screen movie.

Actor Ryan Phillippe attends the Behind the Camera Awards in Los Angeles November 9, 2008. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

Ryan Phillippe is in negotiations to star in the feature, with Val Kilmer in negotiations to join the Relativity Media production, which will be distributed by Universal. Will Forte and Kristen Wiig are reprising their roles from the skits.

Jorma Taccone, who created the character and directed most of the skits, is at the helm of the film; “SNL” producer and creator Lorne Michaels is producing.

“MacGyver” starred Richard Dean Anderson as an especially resourceful secret agent and aired on ABC from 1985 to 1992. The “MacGruber” sketches star Forte as MacGyver’s son, with Wiig as an assistant. They always find themselves, along with that week’s host, in a control room with a ticking bomb about to go off. MacGruber gets sidelined by personal issues, and the bomb explodes.

Forte and Taccone wrote the parodies with John Solomon. The trio wrote the feature script, which, finds the legendary, much-decorated MacGruber retired and living as a monk in Ecuador — until he’s enlisted to fight the evil Cunth, who has a nuclear warhead; the mission is personal because Cunth killed MacGruber’s bride.

The movie version would see Phillippe playing Piper, an Army officer forced to pair up with a reluctant MacGruber. Kilmer would be Cunth.

The project has been an open secret around Hollywood, with Forte even talking about it on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” last month.

The film harks back to an earlier era when comedies based on “SNL” skits were commonplace, especially in the wake of the massive success of 1992’s “Wayne’s World” and its sequel. The trend eventually faded, seemingly with the relevancy of the show itself. But in recent years, the late-night mainstay has regained popularity and critical acclaim. The box-office fate of “MacGruber” could foreshadow whether a new crop of “SNL” movies invades screens.

At this stage, the “MacGruber” movie looks likely to hit the screen before a “MacGyver” movie, which is in development at New Line.

Phillippe recently wrapped production on “The Bang Bang Club,” a true-life drama about four photographers set in apartheid-era South Africa.

Kilmer recently finished shooting “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans,” directed by Werner Herzog.

Editing by SheriLinden at Reuters

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