Jeff Baena

Jeff Baena, born in Miami in 1977, took his time, whether by choice or not, to become a legitimate Hollywood screenwriter. In 2003, he started writing a screenplay about a teenage boy who, after the death of his high school girlfriend, can't cope with the loss. Unfortunately, she comes back as the undead, which leads to far more pressing issues. That screenplay made the rounds, even having such actors as Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zachary Quinto in talks to star, but ultimately, that movie didn't get made back then mostly because the actors Baena had in mind weren't big enough yet. Instead, Baena wrote a script called "I Heart Huckabees" (2004) that was made into a film by writer/director David O. Russell. "I Heart Huckabees" wears Baena's philosophical inspirations on its sleeve, as Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin star as "existential detectives" trying to help the lives of Jason Schwartzman, Mark Wahlberg, and Jude Law's characters. While the film was generally well received, it took a while for Baena to see another project of his get off the ground. As a matter of fact, it took an entire decade rife with unproduced screenplays and rewrites, including a reported rewrite for the "Revenge of the Nerds"-inspired "Revenge of the Jocks" in 2011. The script he worked on back in 2003, now called "Life After Beth" (2014), came back from the dead after he set it down when he wrote "I Heart Huckabees." Baena wrote and directed the film, which starred his girlfriend Aubrey Plaza in the titular role in addition to Dane DeHaan as Beth's boyfriend and John C. Reilly as her father. After writing and directing the dark comedy-drama "Joshy" (2016) starring Thomas Middleditch, Baena reteamed with Plaza and Reilly for the critically-acclaimed comedy "The Little Hours" (2017), the tale of three nuns at a remote Italian convent based on a story from Boccaccio's 14th century collection The Decameron.