Stiller & Co. prepare for 'Little Fockers'

Actor Ben Stiller, one of the stars of the comedy film "Meet the Fockers", poses at the film's premiere in Los Angeles December 16, 2004. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - It looks like “Little Fockers” is finally coming of age.

The long-gestating third installment of the comedy franchise, first announced two years ago, is maturing quickly at Universal Pictures -- but with new parents behind the camera.

The “Fockers” franchise, which began in 2000 with “Meet the Parents,” stars Ben Stiller as Greg Focker, a liberal, do-no-right husband and Robert De Niro as his conservative, unforgiving father-in-law. “Little Fockers” is expected to revolve around the children of Greg and his wife, Pam (Teri Polo).

Stiller, De Niro and Owen Wilson are in negotiations to star in “Little Fockers.” Owen, who had small parts in the first two pictures, could have an expanded role in the new film.

Jay Roach, who directed the first two films, will produce “Fockers” but not helm the picture. He’s concentrating on the comic romp “Dinner for Schmucks” for DreamWorks.

Among the candidates said to be in the running to direct “Fockers” are comedy veteran Paul Weitz, who wrote and directed “In Good Company” and co-wrote and co-directed “About a Boy”; the quirky-comedy figure David Wain, writer-director of cult pic “Wet Hot American Summer” and the male-buddy hit “Role Models”; and Peyton Reed, who directed the Jim Carrey-starring “Yes Man.”

John Hamburg has been brought on to write the screenplay. Hamburg is a Stiller collaborator who wrote drafts of “Meet the Parents” and 2004’s “Meet the Fockers” and worked with the star on “Along Came Polly.” He also wrote and directed the comedy “I Love You, Man,” set for release next month via Paramount.

The “Fockers” property has provided a reliable cash infusion for Universal, with the first two pics earning more than $800 million worldwide.