UPDATE: Thanks a lot, Internet.
Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig say they are scrapping plans for their secret Lifetime movie after news of the project leaked online Wednesday night.
“We are deeply disappointed that our planned top secret project was made public,” Ferrell said in a statement to EW. “Kristen and I have decided it is in the best interest for everyone to forego the project entirely, and we thank Lifetime and all the people who were ready to help us make this film.”
The two-hour film was titled A Deadly Adoption and slated to air this summer. The idea was to release a quasi-parody of the soapy thrillers Lifetime is so well known for. Part of Lifetime’s 25th anniversary celebration of its movie franchise, the project was called a “high-stakes dramatic thriller” about husband (Ferrell) and wife (Wiig) who take in and care for a woman (Jessica Lowndes) in the final months of her pregnancy with the aim of adopting the baby, only to have the situation spiral dangerously out of control.
The project was executive produced by Ferrell and Adam McKay. The script was penned by co-creator Andrew Steele, who co-created IFC’s The Spoils of Babylon, which starred Ferrell and Wiig.
The question now is whether the actors’ stance will have any impact on Lifetime’s decision to move ahead on a project it has likely sunk millions into. Multiple reports say the movie is already in the can, and it’s unlikely Ferrell and Wiig have any control on whether it ever makes it to air. “The only leverage Ferrell has is Lifetime not wanting to piss him off,” says one observer. “But what difference does it make if they piss off Ferrell? He will never work again with Lifetime.”
The timing of the leak was suspicious because the news broke on April Fools’ Day. Nevertheless, it seems unlikely the project will go away. Lifetime could still run the film without their stars’ blessing, assuming the cable network owns the rights. The situation remains uncertain.
The decision recalls last year’s incident when writer-director Quentin Tarantino decided to halt development of his Western film The Hateful Eight after the script leaked online—though the director later decided to go ahead with the project. Perhaps Ferrell will eventually have a change of heart, as well?