Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hollywood Pitch Fest

“Ok. So there is this guy- An everyman – a Toby McGuire or Heath Ledger type. Just a normal guy. He packs up his wife and kid to go visit his Dad for Christmas. On the way there, his wife tells him she wants a divorce.”
“So it’s a drama.”
“We’re talking Best Picture family drama here. So he gets to his Dad’s house and sees his mom there. And he freaks out. Because his parents got a divorce 25 years ago when he was a kid. It was the single most traumatic experience in his life, and in some ways, he is still trying to get over it. So he’s got his own marriage falling apart while he sees his parents’ marriage miraculously rising from the ashes. So over the Christmas holiday everyone will talk and scream and cry and hug each other.”
“And here’s the kicker. We get Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep to play the parents. We don’t make any direct reference to that film where they got a divorce, but we do get…
“Emotional resonance.”
“That’s it. It is like we know them already. Like we know their story.”
“So it is like a sequel.”
“A quasi-sequel, yes.”
“I understand quasi-sequels are the next prequels.”
“Seriously, I have read this script a dozen times over and I promise you… Oscar buzz.”
“Do you think we could call it Kramer meets Kramer?”
“I don’t know. It might be a little too ‘cutesey’ for what I had in mind.”
“That reminds me of this thing I saw on YouTube. They edited in scenes of that guy from Seinfeld with Meryl Streep and made it look like they were getting a divorce. You know, like KRAMER vs. Kramer. Do you think Michael Richards is available for this project? He could play the son.”
“Uhhh… I-“
“You’re right. He might be a bit old for the part. Maybe the wacky uncle? Just to lighten things up a little. I mean, no one wants to see another dysfunctional family yell at each other through a Christmas setting. It is so… so…”
“Serious 1970s cinema?”
“I was thinking ‘cheap independent film cliché,’ but what you said works.”
“Some of the best films made the past decade came from independent cinema.”
“Tell me what you think. That instead of your Toby McGuire everyman son, what if we have a Will Farrell type as the son? Or a Jim Carrey? And instead of everyone sitting around talking about their feelings, what if the son decides he doesn’t want his parents to get back together and starts playing tricks on them to get them to split up again.”
“Like an anti-Parent Trap?”
“Yes. We can have you speeches and your soul-searching and your great actors, but we can have a few funny bits in it, too.”
“I don’t know.”
“People like to laugh. You can’t argue with that.”
“I suppose I can’t.”
“I like what you’ve done here, but if you can rework it a little, lighten it up, and make it funnier, we’ll talk then.”

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