*“Parks & Recreation” co-star Rashida Jones and her writing partner, fellow actor-writer Will McCormack, have signed their first TV pod deal — a two-year pact with Warner Bros. Television, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Under the agreement, the two will develop, write and produce comedy and drama projects for broadcast and cable.
McCormack and Jones, the daughter of music producer Quincy Jones, previously wrote the Jones-starring indie romantic comedy “Celeste And Jesse Forever, “which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and recently nabbed a Film Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best First Screenplay.
The duo is currently writing the feature “Frenemy Of The State” for Universal and Imagine.
On the TV side, they previously wrote “We Are Puppets,” which was in development at Showtime.
The actress was plugging her new movie “Celeste and Jesse Forever” with her co-star Will McCormack when the subject of singer Frank Ocean and his admission to being gay came up.
‘”There needs to be, like, a professional athlete that comes out,” said McCormack, before Jones blurted out, “And a movie star! It’s time…Like John Travolta? Come out! Come on. How many masseurs have to come forward? Let’s do this.”
Jones used Twitter Tuesday to apologize for what she said: “Made a thoughtless comment about John Travolta. I sincerely apologize. Nobody’s personal life is my business.”
During her interview, Jones added that “big stars need to come out” and said that she was “really happy” when Ricky Martin admitted he was gay.
“Celeste and Jesse Forever,” co-written by Jones and Will McCormack, tells the story of a divorcing Los Angeles couple – longtime best friends and former high school sweethearts – who try to remain close buddies while they both pursue other people.
Jones, the daughter of legendary producer Quincy Jones, stars as Celeste, opposite Andy Samberg’s Jesse. They first come off as that annoyingly perfect couple who have quirky inside jokes and are completely at ease around each other – but we soon learn that they are actually in the process of splitting.
Over the course of the divorce, both eventually realize that their vow to have an uncomplicated divorce and continued closeness is not possible, and that moving away from their comfortable rapport is unavoidable.
“Will and I wrote it four years ago and it’s definitely a composite of relationships that I’ve had, that he’s had, and that people we know have had – so that’s all in there. We used a lot of ourselves in it, for sure.”
“Celeste and Jesse Forever” opens nationwide on Aug. 3. Scroll down to watch the trailer.
Below, Jones, whose mother is white actress Peggy Lipton, opens up about the challenges and advantages she’s had in Hollywood being a bi-racial actress.
*The Sundance Film Festival has been hopping with excitement, especially with premiere film “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” starring Rashida Jones. But critics and fans were hailing her father, Quincy Jones, nearly upstaging the actress at the reveal.
“He’s what he is and he will always be and has always been, way before I was here,” Jones said Saturday. “I feel lucky to hang out with him. And we’re different, too. People like us for different reasons.”
Her father was definitely supportive of his daughter’s first screenwriting effort, which explores relationships, marriage and it’s place in society.
According to Ms. Jones, the film was inspired by lots of pain and deep seeded emotions.
“We’re both very deeply feeling people, and we love to talk about relationships and love and feelings,” she said, speaking of her co-writer Will McCormack. “We like to be as inappropriate as possible when things are grave and difficult, so I think it probably came from that place. It also came from, as an actress, reading so many scripts, you kind of intrinsically absorb storytelling script structure into your being without even knowing it, and we wanted to try and tell this story.”
Actress Rashida Jones arrives at the Trevor Project's 2011 Trevor Live! at The Hollywood Palladium on December 4, 2011 in Los Angeles
*Director Spike Lee, actress Rashida Jones and rapper/actor Ice T all have works in the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, organizers announced Monday.
Lee has directed “Red Hook Summer” from a screenplay he wrote with James McBride about a young Atlanta boy who spends his summer in Brooklyn with the grandfather he’s never met.
Festival director John Cooper and director of programming Trevor Groth note that the film has the flavor of Lee’s early work and “may push some buttons,” Groth says. Lee last had the musical adaptation “Passing Strange” in the festival in 2009.
(L-R) "Red Hook Summer" stars Toni Lysaith, Clarke Peters and Jules Brown
Jones, star of NBC’s “Parks & Recreation,” has co-written the film “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” which also stars Jones and “Saturday Night Live’s” Andy Samberg as high school sweethearts trying to remain friends after their divorce.
Ice-T will screen his exploration of the history of hip-hop, “Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap,” co-directed by Andy Baybutt.
The 28th annual festival runs January 19-29 with screenings and events in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. The complete program will feature 112 feature-length films from 31 countries, including 90 world premieres.