Here’s the news story I was inspired by: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18203263
Warning: Contains Strong Language
In 2007 Chet Webster and Chad Foster had written a movie called Love Breaks. It had been simply an indie sensation loved at Sundance until Wonder Film Studios had won the auction for distribution and had thrown their full weight behind it. There had been interviews and posters and marquees and all kinds of marketing. The film had become a huge hit and had led to a very exciting night for the boys when they mounted the stage at the Kodak theatre to receive their Oscars for best screenplay.
That had been five years, one divorce, four DUIs and two drug habits ago. Oh and zero new scripts. Wonder Films, who had given them a very good contract and, seeing as they had been a hot property in ’07, five years to complete a follow-up to their previous hit, were becoming inpatient as the deadline of five years loomed. Eventually the boys were sent into a cabin in the woods for three months. They would be cut off from civilization and drugs and they could do nothing but write and create.
A great idea flummoxed by the fact Chet smuggled a large amount of cocaine and weed into the cabin. Three months later they had emerged from the cabin with a script they were incredibly proud of though neither remembers having written it. They had planned to finish the script and, while it was still hot to the touch from the printer, take it straight to a meeting with the studio execs so they could avoid losing it or the temptation of another huge drug bender where the script would inevitably get lost or destroyed.
It was only when they were looking at the script in the cab on the way to the studio that they realized they had simply rewritten (nearly word for word) the script for The Empire Strikes Back.
In times of stress each one had their own unique way of dealing. Chet entered the movie studios, headed straight to the head of productions office and asked the secretary where the bathroom was. She told him and he headed there, locked himself in a cubicle and began to snort monster rails of cocaine from the top of the cistern. Chad entered the office like a man walking towards an empty hospital room that had once contained a loved one. He sat down and picked up a newspaper. He opened it and began to methodically read every word of it. After a while Chet emerged from the bathroom, wide eyed and twitchy. He sat next to Chad and closed his eyes, trying to imagine a way that the head of production wasn’t going to kill them or sue them for money they both most definitely did not have.
When the secretary told them they could enter. Chet jumped to his feet and Chad closed the paper, folded it neatly and placed it aside.
Mr. Katz, head of production for Wonder Film Studios, sat at his desk eating a large, saucy meatball sub. He wore a bright white napkin around his neck and kept wiping his hands on it, leaving handprints of marinara sauce.
When the boys entered he nodded to two chairs in front of him, which they sat in.
‘Gentlemen, I was having a meeting for Fincher and missed lunch.’ It wasn’t an apology. Their hot property-ness had worn off sufficiently that studio execs could be openly rude to them now. Katz pointed a red finger at the script under Chad’s arm. ‘Is that what I think it is? Is that what you wrote in the woods?’
Chet stood up, ‘It is. Unfortunately we accidently rewrote The Empire Strikes Back.’
Katz placed his sandwich back on the aluminum foil it had come wrapped in. He wiped his hands together and pulled the napkin from around his neck. He meticulously cleaned the sauce from his fingers and from around his mouth. He re-wrapped his sandwich in the foil and then put it in the top drawer of his desk. He arched his fingers in front of his face. ‘The fuck did you just say to me?’
Chet took a deep breath. ‘We got coked up and re-wrote The Empire Strikes Back by accident.’
Katz closed his eyes, ‘So you waste our money and time for five years and then come into my office carrying a script for a film that already exists, is quite popular and will never need to be re-made.’
‘You understand that this was your last chance?’
‘We do and we’re sorry.’
Katz shook his head, ‘I think I’m done here. Go and wait to hear from our lawyers.’
‘Wait,’ said Chet jumping to his feet. ‘I have something to pitch.’
‘Really? You should have pitched it five years ago.’ Katz opened his top drawer and grabbed his sandwich.
‘I read in the paper that rats were returning to Hamelin.’
‘The Pied Piper place?’ Said Chad. ‘That’s nuts.’
‘Yeah, they’re having an infestation.’
‘Is this going somewhere? I’m very eager to return to this sandwich.’ Said Katz.
‘What about a modern day version of the Pied Piper?’ Said Chad. ‘Have him played by whoever the most popular pop star is at the time and they can do the soundtrack too. You could even make it a musical.’
‘Yeah and erm there’s a erm…sorry brains not working…wait a second.’ Chet left the room and reappeared ten seconds later wiping his nose and twitching. He paced in front of the desk. ‘Right so there’s this fucking piper guy right and he comes into town and there’s fucking rats everywhere and he plays some music and the rats don’t move and they’re like “fuck you piper this is our town” and the pipers like “no, fuck you rats” and he’s armed to the fucking teeth with all kinds of artillery and he’s blasting rats and kicking ass and then he has to go underground with some hot piece of ass from the town and they find this nest and there’s this big ass rat and they have to fight it and then they blow up the fucking town and it’s all like boom bang whoosh and then fucking end credits man.’
Katz nodded, ‘So, basically its Aliens meets…’
‘It’s Aliens but in a German town and with rats.’ Said Chad. ‘And musical numbers. It’s Aliens meets Glee.’
Katz smiled, ‘I think you boys need to go back to that cabin and get writing.’
Chad and Chet high-fived.
One year later saw the release of The Pied Piper of Harlem starring Kanye West and Kristen Stewart.
Chad and Chet were not invited to the Oscars that year.