Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre

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LA Times names Ben Schwartz a "Face to Watch in 2012"


Los Angeles Times January 2, 2012
Ben Schwartz, 'House of Lies' and 'Parks and Recreation'
by Judy Berman
photo by Patrick Ecclesine / Showtime

Ben Schwartz is fairly sure that Clyde Oberholt, his character on the new Showtime comedy "House of Lies," which premieres Jan. 8, would hate Jean-Ralphio Saperstein, the lovably clueless, self-styled entrepreneur he plays on "Parks and Recreation."

"Clyde would write off Jean-Ralphio in two seconds," Schwartz said. "He would see that he's all talk and no game."

"House of Lies" follows a team of management consultants, led by a Don Draper-like antihero (played by Don Cheadle), under constant pressure to impress high-powered corporate executives while jockeying for position in an ethically ambiguous field. Clyde's calculating nature extends to all aspects of his life. "When he's trying to pick up a woman, he does it in a certain number of keystrokes," Schwartz noted.

An Upright Citizens Brigade veteran, Schwartz also appeared in NBC's short-lived 2010 spy drama "Undercovers." The promising "House of Lies" role is only one of many items on Schwartz's busy 2012 agenda: He wrote the screenplay for a "Soapdish" remake that recently made industry insiders' "Black List" of highly anticipated unproduced projects and will voice the title character of the Disney XD animated series "Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja," slated to premiere late next year.

The project became a priority at the studio when Fox 2000 bought it for $1 million against $1.5 million. Emma Stone has been circling the project -- her interest is how it got on studio radars -- and while I've heard she's now unlikely, studio insiders express optimism they will still land her. The comedy focuses on a social media-savvy girl who is pessimistic about love and vets her friends' dates to find flaws. When that process leads her to uncover the perfect guy, she decides to use her Internet research skills to turn herself into his perfect match. The film will be produced by Gary Sanchez's McKay and Will Ferrell. The Gary Sanchez team helped her hone the script and gave her notes to help shape it.