No, it’s not what you’re thinking – but when Jimmy Fallon first got the screenplay, the same thing crossed his mind. ”I was looking for Jim Ignatowski references,” he says, ”but to the teen audience I don’t think anyone will even know what that name means.” Translation: This ”Taxi” bears no relation to what Fallon calls ”my favorite sitcom ever” (which featured Christopher Lloyd as Rev. Jim Ignatowski). Rather, it’s based on one of France’s all-time top movies, a Marseilles-set flick from 1998. In the U.S. version, bad-driving cop Fallon enlists Queen Latifah and her souped-up New York City cab to nab a band of Brazilian bank robbers – who happen to be supermodels led by catwalker Gisele Bündchen. Quips Fallon: ”Based on a true story.”
Director Tim Story (”Barbershop”) calls the action comedy ”kind of like ‘Rush Hour,’ a little bit of ‘Midnight Run,’ and then a little bit of ‘48 HRS.”’ Which meant tons of improv by Fallon, Latifah, and Ann-Margret, who plays Fallon’s boozy mom. Not to mention tons of car chases and shoot-outs. ”It was just like candy,” says Fallon, who left his ”SNL” ”Weekend Update” days behind this spring. ”Every day you’re on set you’re just like, ‘Okay, what’s next? Oh, cool, I get to shoot a gun?! Great! I get to run while I’m shooting it?! Awesome!”’ But the biggest commotion came when fans swarmed the movie’s set last fall to catch a glimpse of its sexy star. And we don’t mean Gisele. ”I’m going ‘Jimmy Fallon?!”’ Story says. ”I mean, you know, the guy’s not ugly, but I was like, ‘Jimmy Fallon?!”’
WHAT’S AT STAKE Fallon’s film career. Is he the next Will Ferrell?