Brow Beat

Elaine May Might Finally Be Directing Another Movie!

Elaine May accepts the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for The Waverly Gallery onstage during the 2019 Tony Awards.
Elaine May winning a Tony Award.
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Elaine May, the legendary director of The Heartbreak Kid, Mikey and Nicky, and Ishtar, might finally be making another movie, according to Deadline. The news was buried in a story headlined “Notes on the Season: ‘Dark Waters’ Joins Oscar Race; ‘Joker’s’ Last Laugh; Tarantino Loves “Crawl”; How Scorsese Never Heard of Ray Romano,” and here is everything that has been reported so far about it:

Dakota Johnson, there with her Peanut Butter Falcon co-stars, tells me she plans to do a movie for Elaine May, a recent Tony winner who is getting behind the camera again at age 86 to direct Johnson in a movie called Crackpot.

May, who won that Tony Award this year for appearing in Kenneth Lonergan’s The Waverly Gallery, rose to fame alongside the late Mike Nichols as part of comedy duo Nichols and May. She has also long been a go-to example of the way Hollywood mistreats female directors, which is what makes any rumors of her return to the screen so exciting. While male directors are allowed to fail—Michael Cimino, for instance, got to make four more unsuccessful features after destroying an entire studio nearly singlehandedly with Heaven’s Gate—May’s only directorial project since Ishtar flopped at the box office in 1987 was a 2016 American Masters episode about her one-time comedy partner. Thirty-two years in director jail, despite the fact that the bad press that sunk Ishtar seems to have stemmed from a regime change at Columbia, and also despite the fact that Ishtar is hilarious:

As a special bonus clip, here is how Nichols and May approached the biggest challenge any comedian can face: producing three 60-second PSAs to remind people to file their taxes on April 15 on behalf of those wags at the National and State Organizations of Public Accountants. They pulled it off:

It goes without saying that anyone who, when asked to remind people about Tax Day, decides the best premise is “a husband and wife bicker over who is going to shave the dog” should not have a problem getting work in comedy. There’s a vast distance between “a project mentioned in passing by an actress” and “a completed feature film that you can pay someone money to watch,” but when it comes to Elaine May, any news is great news. Johnson’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment or more details about what Crackpot might be, but let’s go ahead and call it: If Elaine May directs this movie, you should watch it.