The Help costars Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer are reuniting for an as yet untitled road trip movie comedy from Universal. Chastain herself co-wrote the film’s original treatment along with Kelly Carmichael. Chastain’s Freckle Films recently hired Carmichael, a former Weinstein Company executive, as president of production and development.
The new project marks a reunion for Chastain and Spencer, who first starred together in 2011’s The Help. Both women snagged Best Supporting Actress nominations for that film, with Spencer ultimately claiming the statue. Spencer finds herself in the thick of awards races again this year for her role in Guillermo del Toro’s acclaimed film The Shape of Water. Chastain, meanwhile, scored a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress (Drama) for her performance in Aaron Sorkin’s chatty drama Molly’s Game.
THR reports that Chastain and Spencer will now headline an untitled road trip comedy for Universal. Chastain and Kelly Carmichael’s original treatment now goes to Peter Chiarelli, who will write the script. The film reportedly revolves around two women trying to make it home for the holidays. Chastain is producing together with Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler via Maven Pictures. Universal finally landed the project after a fierce bidding war against Fox and Paramount.
The planned Chastain-Spencer road trip comedy is being described as in the vein of Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Steve Martin and John Candy of course made a memorable comedy team in John Hughes’ movie, now regarded as a holiday classic. In the film, Candy and Martin are strangers who must team up to make it home after their holiday travel plans go awry. Candy is especially memorable as Del Griffith, a likable lump who nonetheless gets on Martin’s nerves.
For Chastain, this planned comedy project marks a rare deviation from heavy roles. The actress will next appear in Woman Walks Ahead, a very serious period drama about a painter traveling west to paint a portrait of Sitting Bull. Chastain later this year plays the mysterious character “Smith” in X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Chastain also has signed on to play the title character in the comic book adaptation Painkiller Jane. Having established herself as one of Hollywood’s best dramatic actresses, it seems Chastain now wants to branch out and try new things. Hence her coming forays into superhero films and buddy comedy.
Unlike Jessica Chastain, Octavia Spencer already has a lot of experience doing comedy movies and genre films. The renowned character actress has already tackled roles in movies that range from Rob Zombie’s Halloween II to Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell, and the Divergent films. Spencer has also done holiday themed comedy, thanks to Bad Santa 2. Spencer can next be seen in A Kid Like Jake, a drama also starring Claire Danes and Priyanka Chopra.