By David Bauder, AP
NEW YORK — The fate of a Lifetime TV movie featuring Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig remained unclear on Friday after the project’s planned secrecy was spoiled.
The former ��Saturday Night Live�� stars made the ominously titled ��A Deadly Adoption,�� playing a couple who befriend a pregnant woman in hopes of adopting her child. Lifetime’s movies, frequently melodramas about life and love that appeal to the network’s primarily female audience, are a genre onto themselves and often ripe for parody.
��We are disappointed that our secret project with Will and Kristen was leaked and the network is determining the fate of the movie,�� said Michael Feeney, spokesman for Lifetime’s corporate parent, A&E Networks, on Friday.
A spokesman for the actors’ talent agency had no immediate comment on Lifetime’s plans.
After word of the project got out, Ferrell issued a statement that he and Wiig had decided it was ��in the best interest for everyone to forego the project entirely.�� Lifetime had said the movie was due to air this summer.
Ferrell’s statement may be an empty threat: Stars generally don’t have the ability to kill an already-filmed project, except in the unusual circumstance where they fully financed the production, said Jonathan Handel, an entertainment attorney for the Hollywood firm TroyGould. Even then, they could face a breach of contract lawsuit if the film had already been leased to a television network.
In most cases, television movies are financed jointly by a production company and the network itself, Handel said.
It has been a tumultuous professional week for Ferrell, whose ��Get Hard�� movie with Kevin Hart is currently in theaters. On Tuesday, Ferrell’s agent Jason Heyman was part of a high-profile group of agents who defected from the Creative Artists Agency to another group, the United Talent Agency. Ferrell stuck with Heyman, switching his representation to UTA. A day later, the Hollywood Reporter wrote an anonymously sourced story about the Lifetime movie, ��A Deadly Adoption,�� previously a closely guarded secret.
It’s not known how long Lifetime and the stars planned to keep the secret. Typically, a cable network that lands two big Hollywood stars for a project gives potential viewers at least some advanced warning that it is coming.
If Ferrell and Wiig legitimately want to shelve ��A Deadly Adoption,�� it means months spent writing a screenplay, acting the scenes and editing the movie would go to waste.
Ferrell and Wiig appeared together in the big-screen movie ��Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,�� playing it strictly for laughs.