There's a lot more riding on the soon-to-open Tina Fey/Amy Poehler movie "Baby Mama" than just scoring at the box office. The future of female comedies could be at stake. At least, that's how comedic actress Missi Pyle sees it.
Pyle has her own femme comedy on the way -- "Spring Breakdown," which also has Amy Poehler in its cast, plus Rachel Dratch (who co-wrote it), Parker Posey, Jane Lynch and Amber Tamblyn. "As of yet, it hasn't gotten a release date from Warner Bros. They're afraid to release an all-female comedy, which drives me insane," says Pyle of her flick about co-eds on Spring break. "When I got it, they were like, 'This movie will be the determining factor as to whether there will be more female-driven comedies,' and it can't even get a release date. But, I hope 'Baby Mama' will do well, and they'll choose to release it."
Pyle theorizes, "I think this town has always been a male-dominated town and Warner Bros. certainly is a male-dominated studio. I think people are afraid it won't attract audiences. A lot of women over 27 have kids, so they don't necessarily make it out to theater, so that might have something to do with it. Then, there's the whole idea that women aren't funny. I don't know. It's ridiculous."
Pyle certainly is glad to have an outlet for that frustration in her newest venture -- music. She and fellow actress Shawnee Smith have started the band "Smith and Pyle," which will be playing at the Mint in Los Angeles tomorrow (4/10). They'll be joined by their producer Chris Goss, known to many as the godfather of desert rock.
"There's quite a bit of anticipation for this album to be released," claims Pyle, who says fans can still expect to see her being herself. "Shawnee's breakup song is called 'Sugar,' and mine is called 'I Wish You Were Dead,' if that tells you anything."
THE BIG-SCREEN SCENE: Tom Lennon is thrilled that Ben Stiller's getting back into flashlight-wielding security guard gear for his and co-writer Ben Garant's "Night at the Museum 2," which is soon to begin filming.
"I think he trusts us with our taste in what's funny and what's not," says Lennon. It also helps that the actors have a history together. "We've known Ben for a long time. Very few people remember this, but he was the first guest on 'Viva Variety,' which was our show in between 'The State' and 'Reno 911.'"
As far as getting Stiller to grace their ridiculous "Reno 911," Lennon can only say, "Wouldn't that be good? He might be slightly out of our price range now."
Lennon and Garant are busy on several fronts. "We have a Mike Myers movie with Paramount called 'How to Survive a Robot Uprising.' And then, before the strike, we did a new draft of 'The Incredible Shrinking Man' for Eddie Murphy that we wrote for him about four years ago. He suddenly re-read it and got interested in it again. The only one ready to shoot, though is 'Night at the Museum,'" he says of the sequel. "All the others are in the development stage."
BACK TOGETHER AGAIN: Oscar-winning actor Lou Gossett, Jr. reports that "Capture the Flag," the indie film he's currently shooting, is a reunion for him and veteran actor James Garner, who holds a special place in his heart. "James put me on the map in the 70s film called 'Skin Game,'" recalls Gossett of the 1971 film about two con artists in the post-Civil War south.
"Capture the Flag," says Gossett, "is about these kids between 10 and 12 in a military academy. I play one caretaker of the school from the Navy and Garner plays the other caretaker, who's from the Army. We're retired and our competition is supposed to be peaceful, but it's our last hurrah. It's all very tongue-in-cheek."
SHE'S GOOD: Alyssa Milano, who's been enjoying steady success since her days as a child star on "Who's the Boss?" says she's had no problems avoiding the numerous pitfalls that seem so prevalent with today's younger stars.
"I think part of the reason why I've been successful in this business, and not become screwed up by it, is because I don't have any long term goals. I just take it day-by-day and take the opportunities as they come to me, and not make any projections or have any expectations, but just do my job and go to work," says Milano, who's currently working on the NBC sitcom "My Name Is Earl." "I'm lucky. I've had a good experience in this town, and I have a great family to lean on."
With reports by Stephanie DuBois and Emily Feimster