Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Wednesday 6 June 2007 @ 11:34 am

That’s the title of the comedy we’re doing right after “Red State” (the horror flick), as reported by Jay Fernandez in his L.A. Times’ Scriptland column today.

(Here’s the cover page of said script.)

Granted, I’m biased because I wrote it; but I really dig this script. It’s funny, bawdy, sexy, dirty, titillating (emphasis on the tit) and dripping with heart. If you were gonna do that movie-description thing, I’d say it’s like Chasing Amy meets Clerks II, with a dash each of Boogie Nights and Bowfinger tossed in.

Some folks have already said “Sounds like The Girl Next Door…” or “Sounds like The Amateurs…” A few British cats have drawn comparisons to a flick called I Want Candy. I certainly can’t deny that Zack and Miri has nothing in common with said flicks – namely the subject of porn movies; but I can tell you that that’s about where the similarities begin and end, as far as I know.

To be fair, all I know about I Want Candy are the reviews I read recently in Empire and Total Film magazines. And in terms of The Girl Next Door (a film that always occurred to me as more of an homage to Risky Business than the “Let’s-Put-On-A-Show” nature of “dirty movies”), Zack and Miri is about as far removed from the world of slick, professional porn (the domain of Girl Next Door) as can be.

No – the one flick I was sweating was The Amateurs (recently retitled The Moguls) – a flick I hadn’t heard of until I was in the midst of writing Zack and Miri. But as it turns out, Laura Greenlee (our long-time line producer) worked on that flick, and after reading Zack and Miri, she was able to dispel any fear I had on the subject by offering “The only thing they have in common is that non-porn people want to make a porn movie. The circumstances, jokes and characters are completely different.”

I breathed a huge sigh of relief, because the last thing in the world a writer wants to be accused of is cryptomnesia; or worse, flat-out plagiarism (well, really, the last thing a writer – or even a non-writer – would want to be accused of is child molestation, I’d imagine; then cryptomnesia or plagiarism). But just because a film shares a similar theme/storyline with another film, does that mean it shouldn’t be made at all? I don’t think so. And I’m not talking about dueling volcano or asteroid movies here; I mean flicks that immediately invoke other flicks. I’m a firm believer that similar subject matter in different hands still has the potential to be original and fresh. I mean, Chasing Amy – the flick we get the most credit for – was pretty much the same-old, same-old boy meets girl, boy loses girl story with a bit of a different spin. Were I really sweating the fact that that story had been done to death before, I wouldn’t have bothered with Amy – and I’d be all the poorer for it (both figuratively and literally). After centuries of story-telling, there’s always bound to be some familiarity/similarity in books/shows/movies; it’s how each author handles the material that makes all the difference. Just because we’ve seen For Keeps, She’s Having a Baby, and Nine Months doesn’t mean we don’t want to see Knocked Up.

Regardless, I know I’m in for a few months of “That movie sounds like…”, but I’m not sweating it; I’ve read my script (even wrote it) and while it’s preoccupied with dirty movies, I know what it’s really about.

And about a year from now, you will too.


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