In one of the most talked-about deals thus far at the Toronto International Film Festival, Paramount has acquired distribution rights to Chris Rock’s new comedy entitled Top Five. The comedian wrote, directed, and stars in the movie about a stand-up comedian trying to make it as a serious actor. Rosario Dawson (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) plays Rock’s reality TV star girlfriend, while fellow comedians Adam Sandler, Kevin Hart, and Jerry Seinfeld all make appearances in the movie.
This is the third movie Rock has directed, following 2003’s Head of State and 2007’s I Think I Love My Wife. From the sound of it, this is Rock’s best effort yet, as the film brought the house down at its premiere this past Saturday night. An intense bidding war began and lasted for days, with Paramount finally claiming victory. The studio has not announced a release date yet and it will be interesting to see if they try to squeeze it into the crowded fall season, or hold it over until early next year, where there is traditionally a dearth of quality movies.
The plot of the movie would seem to somewhat mimic that of Rock’s life, as he seems to be gravitating toward more serious, grounded fare in an effort to stretch himself creatively. He still appears in the occasional broad comedy with friends, like the much-maligned Grown Ups franchise, but he also recently took on a role where he played in straight, in Julie Delpy’s low-key 2012 dramedy 2 Days in New York. Clearly Paramount is hoping that audiences respond to this new, more thoughtful Chris Rock.