Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Worst Thing About All This

Years ago, I thought I had a shot at breaking into screenwriting. I didn't think I was going to be any kind of artistic success, mind you, but I was more than willing to make some decent scratch off of being low-brow. And I thought I had a pretty good insight into what kind of comedies teenagers wanted to see. So I wrote a script for Jim Carrey.

It wasn't great, don't get me wrong. I knew I was slumming it, and I wasn't proud. But it was the kind of thing he did back then, and it was just tasteless and raunchy enough that I thought I might be in with a chance. Carrey was the male lead (of course), playing a dorky-yet-loveable congressman who went off to Washington determined to do the right thing. (There was a running gag about his last name, "Weiner", and all the other congressmen making fun of him.) But he was allergic to the cherry blossoms, so he got his doctor to prescribe some anti-histamines...only the doctor was actually this crazy mad scientist type (I was thinking maybe get Martin Short for this part? I had some suggestions, maybe I was overstepping my bounds there) and he mixed up this bizarre chemical concoction for him. And when he drank it, buttoned-down Congressman Weiner became the suave, sexy ladies' man Carlos Danger.

I figured it'd be a guaranteed sell. There was all sorts of wacky misunderstandings going on, Carlos kept doing things that Weiner had to explain away, the other Congressmen were using it as a way to try to get him to drop out of the race so that the crooked governor could appoint a sleazy creep to the post who was going to bulldoze an orphanage, and in the end Weiner got the girl (of course there was a girl) and saved the orphanage. I was already describing it in my head as "'The Nutty Professor' meets 'Mister Smith Goes To Washington'," which I knew was going to go great at the producers' meetings, and I figured I'd make a million off it and be able to quit my day job. My only question was whether I should have gone with 'Mister Weiner Goes To Washington' instead of 'Congressman Weiner'.

And Carrey shot it down cold. He sent it back to me with a note on it that said, "Give me a break! Totally unbelievable even by my standards. 'Congressman Weiner'? 'Carlos Danger'? Nobody's going to buy this, especially not me!" I can't pretend I wasn't hurt--I'd sold out my artistic integrity, and found out that nobody was even buying. (I was even more upset when I saw the ads for 'Me, Myself and Irene', but I decided not to sue. Dignity, that's my motto.)

And that's the worst part. Now I have proof it could all really happen, but Jim Carrey isn't doing those kinds of movies anymore.

Oh well. Maybe I could dust off my old horror movie script about a Mormon ex-governor who concealed the evidence of his serial killings in his tax returns...

1 comment:

LurkerWithout said...

C'mon man, dust that off and try again. There ain't nuthin' so dumb that Adam Sandler or one of his pals won't make into a movie...