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Development Hell

What’s a Jew’s ultimate dilemma?

Free pork.

Or in the case of the bloated, dishonest and disingenuous Hollywood bigwig Harvey Steinweinberg, it’s a good screenplay. Good scripts and Hollywood go together like black guys and Fathers Day — a massive rarity. For every Source Code, there’s a hundred Twilights. A good script is a dilemma for the studio heads, because it has the potential to attain significant box office revenue, but Hollywood wouldn’t be the Dream Factory if it didn’t get it’s grubby little hands on it and rape and pillage the screenplay of what makes it special, thereby damaging it’s appeal.

I recently had a script I’d written purchased by the Steinweinberg Company and entered into pre-production. During this time, myself and Harvey sent a series of back and forth emails to one another discussing the ongoing process. I quickly learnt that in the smog-infested streets of Hollywoodland, the artifice of the movies pales in comparison to that of it’s most powerful overlords. Here is a transcript of those emails.

Dear Adam,

We all LOVE your script, ‘A Challenge to the Dark’. Love, love, love it. I think this is going to be huge for us. I’m not overstating things when I say this is the most original and exciting piece of work since ‘Cops and Robbersons’. However, as I’m sure you understand, filmmaking is a collaborative process and it’s inevitable that some slight alterations will have to made in order to maximize the potential profitability and make us all a lot richer. My shriveled up dick ain’t gonna suck itself, and these black hookers are getting more expensive by the day. Anyway, right now we’re taking the script to some Creative Advisors for some input.  Speak to you soon.

Dear Harvey,

It’s good to hear from you, though I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a tad apprehensive about these alterations you mentioned. But as long as nothing major is changed, I can live with it. Remember, it’s imperative that we try and cast Ralph Fiennes in the lead. He’s who I envisioned when I wrote the character and I can’t see anyone else in the role.

Dear Adam,

I’ve just had a meeting with my nephews, I mean, my creative advisors, and they’ve informed me that the audience simply won’t buy the idea of Ralph Fiennes breaking out of prison and avenging the death of his wife. He’s British, right? You limey’s aren’t tough enough to do that. All you guys do is drink tea and watch Benny Hill on the tube or whatever the fuck. Plus we can’t hire an Englishman because no one here will be able to understand his accent. We’re going to have to look at someone else for the lead.

Dear Harvey,

Forgive me for questioning someone with such extensive experience in the field, but I feel like you’re forgetting a few key points, mainly, that the protagonist is American and Ralph Fiennes would be putting on an American accent. You know, Brits play Yanks in Hollywood all the time. Hell, about half of the actors there are from the UK. Ralph Fiennes was made for this role.

Dear Adam,

These fucking black hookers stink my office out every time I bring them in. Soon when someone asks for directions here all I’ll have to say is “drive down Ventura Boulevard and turn left when you smell the cocoa butter”. If I didn’t love the feel of those fat jungle lips around my helmet I’d have to quit them. Plus they’re so much better than fucking Jewish women. Every time I try to kiss my wife I get poked in the eye and I’m 20 dollars lighter. Anyway, Scarlett Johansson has just walked in, got to go. She’s going to let me snort coke off of her cunt so I cast her in the next big superhero bullshit. Later. 

Dear Harvey

I’m starting to get concerned. You didn’t address the casting issue at all and just mentioned screwing women. I understand that black whores are important, but can we get back to the matter at hand, please?

Dear Adam

We’re in negotiations with Justin Beiber for the main role. We didn’t think Fiennes was right for the part, and we’re all super-excited about Justin getting involved. Someone told me Fiennes played a Nazi in some other movie too. What’s up with that shit? I ain’t hiring a fucking Nazi. As for Justin, he even agreed to let us use his music in the movie so we don’t have to pay for a composer. What a guy, huh?

Dear Harvey,

You’ve got to be kidding me. Justin fucking Bieber? For the role of a hardened and vengeful husband that’s been framed for murder and struggles to keep his sanity during an international conspiracy? Has the kid even acted before? And as for his music, if they would have played that in Auschwitz, the Jews would have raced for those ovens. This could ruin the movie. Please reconsider this!

Dear Adam,

How’s things over there in jolly old Europe? I just had lunch with the rapper Lil Wayne and his people, and he’s agreed to join the cast. I don’t get these black bastards. Every time they find something funny, they run half a mile away and back. It’s fucking nuts.

We’re also in talks with one of the homo’s from Glee to join. We need to be more ethnically diverse in order to appeal to the widest audience possible, so that’s the niggers and fags sorted. And don’t worry about Justin, he did a read-through yesterday and he knocked it out of the park. He insisted on amending a few pages to make the character more “banging” (his words, not mine), so we’re waiting for him to return the script. Also, my creative team think no one will understand the title, so we’re changing it to “The Revenge” so people know what’s going on.

Dear Harvey

The title was from a Charles Bukowski poem and — never mind. I’m extremely confused as to how a gay character is going to fit into the film? Maybe I shouldn’t even ask. Next you’ll be telling me you’ve added a comedic monkey sidekick.

Dear Adam

How the fuck did you know we just did that? Are you speaking to someone else here? If anyone here is giving away secrets I’l fire their fucking ass in a heartbeat. Yeah, we added Bobby the celebrity monkey. Justin felt the piece needed some comic relief, so we’ve changed the plot to accommodate the animal. Now, the monkey is the one that helps Justin escape from the maximum security prison by stealing the guard’s keys and slipping them through the bars. Genius, right?

Dear Harvey

I can feel my baby slipping away from me and I beg of you to stop making wholesale changes. A comedic monkey? This is a serious drama!

Dear Adam

Funny you should bring that up as I was just about to tell you — we’re turning this into a comedy. We all loved your original idea but we felt it needed a comic repackaging. We all especially thought the main character needed to lighten up a bit.

Dear Harvey

Lighten up a bit? HIS WIFE HAS JUST BEEN BRUTALLY MURDERED AND HE’S BEEN FRAMED FOR IT! What do you expect him to do?!

Dear Adam

Sorry for not replying back for 3 days, I’ve accidentally killed one of these black hookers and had to drive out to the mountains to dispose of the body. I just hope sniffer dogs don’t have a knack for following the scent of cocoa butter and crack.

Big news on the picture — Justin had to pull out due to scheduling issues so we’ve decided to replace him with a CGI animated character. He’s still letting use his music though. Awesome, huh?

Dear Harvey

So my serious drama about a man pushed to the edge amidst a grueling conspiracy is now about a CGI cartoon and a monkey sidekick getting into comedic hijinks to Justin Bieber tunes. Tell me Harv, is there any way this could get any worse?

Dear Adam

If by worse you been MUCH better than yes — we’ve decided to take the revolutionary step of adding the first ever live movie audience. It’ll be just like watching a sitcom! I’m concerned viewers won’t know when to laugh unless we have a laugh track, so now we’re including one. 

Speaking of funny, earlier today I pissed on a hobo asking me for a dollar. I’ve been giggling about it all day.

Dear Harvey

What in the holy fuck is happening to my movie?

Dear Adam

Bad news, kiddo. We gave a series of questionnaires to an audience of middle aged women asking if they liked the plot and characters, and it scored terribly. They hated it. We’ve decided not to pursue with The Revenge. Instead we’re going to focus our efforts on a remake of The Terminator. But it’s not all doom and gloom, because Justin Bieber agreed to move a few things around and he’s back on board for this new picture, thank God! Justin will be playing both John Connor and the Terminator, using split screen. And for only 40% more than he was going to make on The Revenge. I’m getting my cousin to work on the script. As for your script, we’ll put it on the shelf for now and think about developing it at a later date. Oh, and don’t tell anyone about any of this, otherwise I’ll sue your limey ass into next week.

Dear Harvey

Go fuck yourself you obese Yiddish cunt.

Ah Hollywood. Where dreams come true.

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  1. Tom
    November 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Haha, funny column, I liked it

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