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Area Satirists Stay in the Picture

Onionistas’s sketchy film.

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Whatever happened to The Onion’s once-ballyhooed sketch-comedy feature film, originally announced for winter 2004? After stalling when the original co-directors and head screenwriter bailed a year ago, the movie’s back on: Mr. Show veteran Scott Aukerman has been brought in to write new material, and Sanford Panitch, president of production at New Regency, the company financing the film, says shooting should resume “in the next couple of months.” Panitch says an hour of previously completed footage will be used in the final film, which he says he’d like to release before the year’s end. That timetable may be optimistic: A source close to the project says the current Onion leadership probably wants to use as little banked material as possible; another insider points out that no replacement director has yet been selected. An Onion spokesperson would say only that the staff is currently debating the wisdom of a sketch depicting “a prominent Islamic prophet” as a murderous sex fiend.


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