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Community: Joel McHale Offers Movie Script, Director & Cast Update

Community: The Movie might be delayed by the writers' strike, but it sounds like it's in great shape based on what Joel McHale had to share.

So the last time we checked in on how things were looking with Peacock's Dan Harmon & Andrew Guest-written, Joel McHale (Jeff), Gillian Jacobs (Britta), Danny Pudi (Abed), Alison Brie (Annie), Ken Jeong (Ben Chang), Jim Rash (Craig Pelton), and Donald Glover (Troy Barnes)-starring Community: The Movie, McHale was offering us an update on how things were looking before the WGA/AMPTP writers' strike brought a large chunk of television & film production to a halt. But during an interview with Variety, McHale shared some more details – and this time with a much more positive spin. Because from the sounds of things, the project will be able to hit the ground running once the strike eventually does get settled. Not only does McHale share how close Harmon & Guest are to wrapping a script, but he also teases some news about a potential director and the chance of getting the entire gang back together.

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Image: Peacock

"We had a shooting date coming up, which was going to be in the summer. And I think they were extremely close to – I mean, Dan [Harmon] is somebody that tweaks things, but, obviously, that's all stopped. But I think it was pretty darn close. It was close, the shoot date was coming up, and we were all excited to do it, and then the writers' strike happened, which obviously put everything on hold, and rightfully so," McHale explained. "The writers are asking for very reasonable things. Writers need to be paid properly." Though there were pre-strike rumblings that a number of directors were being considered, McHale shared that a director was close to being locked in. "I know who wants to do it, and we're talking to and is interested and engaged," McHale offered – but no name (sorry). And what about the names that haven't been officially added to the returning cast rundown? We can't see Chevy Chase returning, but Donald Glover sounds like he's already (unofficially?) aboard. So what about Yvette Nicole Brown? It sounds like McHale is keeping his faith in Harmon when he responds, "I agree with Dan in that he's going to get everybody on board."

Dan Harmon on What Won't Work for Community Movie

Checking in with Six Seasons and a Podcast, Harmon had some intel to share on the script (written by Harmon and Andrew Guest) for the upcoming movie. In the following highlights (you can listen to the entire episode below), Harmon addresses some of the thematic concepts that worked during the show's run not making the cut for the film & why, and discusses why there needs to be a reason for the gang to reunite that doesn't go down cliched routes like "class reunion."

Image: YouTube Screencap

Community Fans Shouldn't Expect a "Greatest Hits" Tour: "It's a lot easier for me to rule stuff out than tell you what we're pursuing. For instance, we go, 'Do we really think it'd be a good idea to be a paintball episode?' It's one of the first things to rule out because it's the first thing off the top of your head, and that's an issue with the 'Community' movie concept. We did a lot of episodes where you are joyfully locked into a construct that isn't a traditional sitcom narrative but is rather through the lens of David Fincher or Martin Scorsese. There were a lot of special episodes that were kind of like genre homages. The paintball thing was one of them. We tried to do a bunch more paintballs, and they were all perfectly wonderful things to do, but would anything ever capture the joy of the original paintball episode?"

Harmon On Why "Paintball" Wouldn't Play Today, Dungeons & Dragons Out: "You're running around with guns in a school, which was never a good idea on TV, even back then. How can we do that in a way that's acceptable? You sit down to write the movie, and you're like, 'So, we'd do that, right?' Because it's so emblematic of what made our show special and the triumphs we had, the things we contributed as a show. Or we'd play Dungeons & Dragons for 90 minutes. I kinda gotta rule that out — maybe a better writer wouldn't."

Community Movie Won't Go Reunion/Closing-the-School Route: "You're not gonna do anything terribly clever with using the school's demise or resurrection as a device because you don't want too much of your movie to be spent unrecognizable. It wouldn't be outlandish to suggest that enough time has gone by in 'Community' that the world, and not these characters, has changed so significantly that there's a lot to deal with. They haven't been together in a long time, but it's not because they swore each other off… there's a reason to get together, and there's a reason they have to stay together."

Now, here's a listen to the entire episode of Six Seasons & a Podcast, "Intro to Remedial Cinematic Pitches with Very Special Guest Dan Harmon":

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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