Rainn Wilson, who plays the sycophantic Dwight on "The Office," is making his screenwriting debut on a project in which he will star as a once-great ninja who is now living a life of mediocrity.
Fox Searchlight has picked up the dark comedy, "Bonzai Shadowhands," which Jason Reitman ("Thank You For Smoking") will direct.
While "Bonzai" will be a comedy, the tone will be somewhat serious, said Reitman. "It's 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' meets 'Midnight Cowboy' ... We wanted to do something that was more than a light comedy. We feel it could be a movie that had something to say."
Wilson met Reitman when the former was in Vancouver working on "My Super Ex-Girlfriend," which was being directed by Reitman's father, Ivan.
"I was in a Starbucks, and a young fellow walked in and he said to me, 'Hi, you don't know me, but my name is Jason Reitman, and I'm Ivan's son. I want to do a movie with you, and would you play a ninja?"' Wilson recalled. "I felt like I was discovered at Schwab's."
The two spent the next several months honing the pitch before taking it to Fox Searchlight. Wilson is now writing the script while he is on hiatus from "The Office," which is set to resume in mid-January.
He said he plans to enlist his "Office" mates for help. "I am going to take my outline to all of the writers and one by one get their ideas and feedback, and by the end of that, it'll be kick-ass in a way only a ninja can kick ass," he said.