Martin Freeman to star in “Modern Family” director and Colbert writer’s comedy “Ode to Joy” aka “The Pursuit of Unhappiness”

The premise: A man suffers from a serious disease that causes acute narcolepsy whenever he is happy. The man develops a variety of techniques to deny himself pleasure and deal with the sleep issues, but they’re put to a big test when he falls in love.

Behind the film adaptation based on a segment from public radio’s This American Life Are Jason Winer, Helmer of Warner Bros’ recent Arthur remake and many episodes of ABC’s Modern Family, and to be scripted by Max Werner, a writer on The Colbert Report.

We’ve uploaded some photos taken from social media to our Gallery from filming locations:

Filming Ode to Joy

According to The Hollywood Reporter Winer and Werner have been eyeing the project for years, and were developing it together, Winer said he sparked to the project because it reminded him of his favorite high-concept movies and TV shows growing up, such as Tootsie and Taxi, “something truthful about the human condition.”

The radio segment detailed the challenges faced by people who suffer from the rare but very real disease of cataplexy, which sometimes affects people with narcolepsy. Winer and Werner’s story centers on one male character, a librarian in New York, who has isolated himself to protect himself from the humiliation of passing out in public. But the man then meets a woman for whom he is ready to risk everything for.

The feature version starring Martin Freeman has not yet been given a release date, but with filming started in Brooklyn in the summer, we expect it’ll hit the big screen some time in 2018.

The film is also starred by Morena Baccarin (Deadpool, Homeland), Jake lacy (Carol, Girls), Melissa Rauch (Big Bang Theory) with OST by Lohai and produced by Brett Harris and Sony pictures.

5 Comments on “Martin Freeman to star in “Modern Family” director and Colbert writer’s comedy “Ode to Joy” aka “The Pursuit of Unhappiness””

    1. Hi! We’re in the same spot as you: we really can’t tell for sure. There is still lack of information. From the time he has spent filming and the different photos and locations we like to suppose that it is a lead role. But this is just speculation and not based on any particular piece of information. As soon as something else is confirmed we will post it here and on our social accounts.

  1. Hi. As a Martin Freeman fan, I would like to help in advertising this film on my personal FB and Twitter. Other MF fans would like to do the same. Which production do we write to for posters and info materials? If it’s a good story (and I think it is considering that director and writer from “Modern Family” and the “The Colbert Show” are heading the project), it deserves attention… It frustrates me that our favorite actor doesn’t get the global notice he deserves as his talent is excellent.

  2. When did it become acceptable to laugh at a chronic illness that for some can be disabling? What makes Narcolepsy different from Lupus, Alzheimers, Cancer or Epilepsy?

    Aside from the blatantly incorrect synopsis (cataplexy is a SYMPTOM of Narcolepsy-Narcolepsy is the disease), what frustrates me about this film is that it is based on one extreme spectrum of the disorder and I would even say an anomaly at that. For the majority of people with Narcolepsy, the primary concern is excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). Managing this symptom is often not as simple as taking a drug and returning to “normal” in terms of energy. A cost-benefit balance is needed between medications and side effects not to mention the cost and availability of the drugs.

    Additionally, there are only two types of narcolepsy distinguished by the presence or absence of cataplexy. The more prominent type of narcolepsy is in fact with cataplexy. Cataplexy isn’t all or nothing but rather a spectrum and can be caused by extreme or in some cases moderate emotions (most commonly laughter/humor). On one extreme, you have complete loss of muscle tone, where someone might fall to the ground while remaining conscious and breathing. On the other extreme, someone’s cataplexy might go unnoticed by the general public and could display as having a slight drooping of their head while laughing or their jaw may slack for a second.

    Misinformation hurts and there are already too many misconceptions about narcolepsy thanks to inaccurate or incomplete portrayals of narcolepsy like this film.

    Learn the facts:

    https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Narcolepsy-Fact-Sheet

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