There is so much exciting news involved in this story that I'll just give it to you bit by bit: Sam Raimi is producing a movie called Murder of a Cat, which is about a guy who discovers that his recently deceased cat was leading a double life with another owner. That guy will be played by Fran Kranz, who was most recently seen in that other amazing Joss Whedon movie released this year, The Cabin in the Woods. As if this couldn't get any more fun, he will be directed by Gillian Greene-Raimi, wife of Sam, making her debut as a feature director. This movie was made for the geekiest faction of the internet. This movie was made...for us.
One of the things I distinctly remember after seeing Cabin in the Woods was discussing with my friend the fate of the actors who had to wait three years for this movie to be released and didn't get to reap the benefits of this movie for all that time. Obviously, Chris Hemsworth turned out okay. But one of the standouts in that movie was easily Fran Kranz, who had honed his genre dramedy craft (say it out loud -- you'll sound totally drunk) with Whedon on Dollhouse and was set to appear as Claudio in his stealth production of Much Ado About Nothing. And while he was certainly working in the years following Cabin in the Woods, my friend and I were left wondering if this really funny and talented actor had missed some Titanic-sized boat of opportunity when that movie was shelved. What parts could Cabin in the Woods have gotten Kranz had it been released when it was supposed to, in 2010? The world will never know.
But now, as if the entertainment gods had actually been planning this all along, he will go from a movie on par with the horror comedy classic The Evil Dead to a project being produced by one of that movie's creators. And it sounds like a very cool project, indeed. Here is a summary of the script by Christian Magalhars and Robert Snow, which had made it onto the 2010 Black List of unproduced screenplays just waiting to be picked up:
A hapless 28-year-old eccentric [Kranz] vows justice when he finds his beloved cat shot dead with a crossbow arrow. After some sleuthing, he is shocked to discover that his cat was living a double life with a mysterious young woman. Forced into an awkward partnership, the two cat owners must embark on an epic suburban murder mystery that leads them to a conspiracy far greater than they ever imagined.
Kranz will be replacing Jay Baruchel, and will appear alongside the great and powerful Raimi Spider-Man staple J.K. Simmons as well as Dianne Wiest. It will be produced and distributed through Lionsgate.
But what better people to attach themselves to this script than the Raimis? The Raimis!!! As far as I'm concerned, anything resembling a dark horror comedy will benefit from the Raimi touch, and now, we've got two Raimis. That's double the Raimis! But it also means that right smack in the middle of a Raimi-Whedon Venn diagram is Fran Kranz. The entertainment gods will be pleased.