Okay, I’m a comedy writer with an eclectic array of credits and always looking for a new venue. What would I be doing on Craig’s List otherwise?
I’ve had a couple of screenplays optioned, most recently my script “Faking Reality” was picked up by Harney Productions. I’d like to get more info on your project. I’m pasting a link to my website below. I’ve laid out my writing history and posted a number of samples of my work there.
I hope you find the samples satisfactory. Good luck with your project.
The one unusual thing about this ad was that it included an actual email address (or @ddress, as I like to call them) to reply to; a place called “chriseliasprods.” Apparently, I’d forgotten that anyone could set up an email address to read however they wanted it to. Nevertheless, the response was sent and the wheel had been put in motion.
A day later I received a reply. It was from Christian Elias. The subject line read “Hi Dan, thank you, please give me a call to talk the comedy project at 1-cell number. Thank you." This was my first red flag. I have learned to be naturally suspicious of people who put the whole text of their email into the subject line. This was on May 27, at 4:11pm. I didn’t call. I hate calling strangers. Plus there’s the time difference. So I put it off. The next day I got another email: “It’s for a Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake. Remember that old movie? Call me. –Christian.”
First of all, having “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” referred to as “that old movie” was jarring. They made a joke like that in “Avengers: Infinity Wars” about “that old movie, “Alien.” So now I know I’m facing a generational thing.
I wound up making the call. We spoke. He was convinced he had some inside track to pitch a remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” to somebody, somewhere. He sent me links to an online script and film clips. The next day he was emailing me again to find out if I had ANY FEEDBACK??? (another red flag; too impatient). I wrote back saying I had, in fact, had only just started watching the original film “Bedtime Story” to get a feel for the changes they made to update the film for the first remake. After yet another email asking what my thoughts were, I sent back a reply:
Started watching Bedtime Story last night and reading the script today.
Frankly, I think the only way to pitch a remake of this is to jump on the female train and flip it, make Lawrence and Freddy women. Picture Emma Thompson and Melissa McCarthy in the roles.
Emma is the duchess, scamming men, but manages to turn back their advances thanks to the royal chastity belt her father has locked her into (the one joke that leapt to mind). Melissa as the “backpacking” rube who takes the man for their petty cash. Get them working together.
Melissa jokes about taking the man and breaking the glass ceiling while Emma quips “You seem to have broken the crass ceiling.” (2nd joke I thought up)
Vague notion of innocent abroad American boy who comes in (Fred Armensen, idiot savant?) Need to get further along in the story to figure it.
Title it Brazen Hussies.
Still thinking on it. Still reading.
The following day, I get a reply: “Hi, sounds cool.” That was it. After being badgered for days, I get a “sounds cool” for my efforts.
But there would be no further writing or re-booting on my part as the train suddenly jumped the shark…
The very next day, Elias sends me an email with big news: “Steven Spielberg’s Publicist Granted Me Permission Today to Remake ‘Firefly,’ Steven’s First Film.” Pasted into the email was some data about this home movie Spielberg made while in high school. It was a “science fiction type predecessor to “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Elias then told me his plan, to remake the film based on the publicist’s promise to view the movie upon completion. This is the plan. Two hours later he emailed me again to explain the plan; make a movie on spec as “the chance of a lifetime to win Steven Spielberg’s camp over with new film creation, to [sic] of his very first film when he was still in high school at the age of 17 back in 1964.”
Now, in case I wasn’t getting the point, an hour later I got another email:
Dan, put Dirty Rotten Scoundrels aside please, this one has now taken Priority over everything else, Steven Spielberg's Publicist gave me permission today when I asked if I could remake Steven's very first film when he was still in high school titled "Firelight", a science fiction type predecessor to "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind". He said if I want to do it on my own, to go ahead and do it. He will watch the remake if I send it to him, but he of course is not making any further promises than just to WATCH it only at this time. So, I now seek to build a good team together to create a wondrous "Firelight" remake to win Steven Spielberg's team over with. So, could you kindly draft just a short 15 page "Firelight" Remake for the next?, sound good to you?...
Anyway, the cap to this particular thread is that in 2018 I read in the trades that Rebel Wilson was going to star in a gender-swapped “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” remake. Despite the fact that our “relationship” had long since faded away, I still felt compelled to email Elias the story. Why did I feel the need to validate my take on the remake to “Christian the Poet” (we’ll get into that)? I don't know, I just did. But my title, “Brazen Hussies,” was much better. I mean, seriously, “The Hustle”? What is that, a dance movie? Or a Hollywood-wannabe trying to worm his way into the industry? Oh, wait…
He never responded.