Writing duo John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the men behind the critically-lauded hit Horrible Bosses, received much-welcomed news this week when it was announced they would get a chance to helm the Vacation reboot they’d penned together. With the future of an adored franchise now at their fingertips, the first-time feature directors tell EW they hope the new Vacation will both honor the original (possibly with a Chevy Chase appearance!) and still act as a worthy introduction to a new generation.
“We had always wanted to direct from the get-go, basically. When we got the opportunity to write the script, we definitely could see how we wanted the movie to play out if we had the opportunity to direct it,” Daley, who currently stars on Bones, tells EW in an exclusive chat. So how will it “play out”? For one, the story finds grown-up Rusty Griswold hitting the road with his wife and two sons as he attempts to “recapture” what he recalls having with his own family. The best way to do so? Head for Wally World, of course.
“Some of us have a tendency to romanticize our childhoods,” Goldstein explains. “We like the notion that Rusty has chosen to forget the less-pleasant parts we saw in the [first] movie and thinks it was just the greatest time.” In a sense, Rusty is now Clark. “We want [Rusty] to have the same fatherly impact on our audience that Clark did in the original,” Daley says. “Clark Griswold is everyone’s dad, and we want Rusty to be [the same], with his goofiness and relentless optimism and ability to embarrass.”
Clark, Goldstein adds, “has an important part to play in this movie,” but they have yet to nail down Chevy Chase for the project. They remain optimistic, however, that both he and Beverly D’Angelo (who played Ellen in all the Vacation movies) will be willing to participate. And Daley says while they have actors in mind for the other roles, it’s too early to give names. (An extra bit of scoop: Clark and Ellen no longer live in Chicago, but neither Goldstein or Daley would give up their current locale.)
Vacation’s trip from from script to screen is likely to begin toward the end of this year, at the earliest — that’s when they’re hoping to start filming — but that will depend on actor availability. This is also far from the only project in the works for Daley and Goldstein. Horrible Bosses 2 is also currently on their plates and their comedy Burt Wonderstone, which stars Steve Carell and Jim Carrey, is currently filming.
“The tone of what makes people laugh has changed. We’re not trying to re-do the tone of National Lampoon’s Vacation in the early ’80s,” says Goldstein. Daley adds: “In no way do we think of this as a remake. It’s definitely an extension of the legacy that has already been created.”