Breaking into showbiz is rarely an easy thing. Shane Black is famous for selling his first screenplay, Lethal Weapon, for a $250,000 in the mid-80s, but his luck is definitely the exception. Steven Spielberg himself notoriously had to regularly sneak onto Universal’s lot since the “unofficial internship” he was working couldn’t provide him with a permanent pass.
While the names Shane Black and Steven Spielberg are definitely on the more accomplished side, aspiring artist are always looking to find a new or creative way to get their film seen, their script read, or their audition watched. Such is the case for L.A. based screenwriting duo Jonathan Witz and Jeremy Spektor. The idea was to get their script in front of the right eyeballs, specifically those of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, as Spekor told THR:
“Like any young writer, we all have our heroes — Seth and Evan are those guys for us; they inspired us to write this script in the first place,”
After two years of being told the script was great, but not seeing any more progress toward getting it read by the right decision makers, Witz and Spektor took matters into their own hands. Leaving the rest of the script intact, they replaced the title page with a new page crediting the story to Rogen and Goldberg, hoping that would get it more traction.
It worked, getting the attention of Rogen and Goldberg’s lawyers, who immediately issued a cease and desist requesting Witz and Spektor stop sending out a screenplay under the guise of Rogen and Goldberg’s production company, Point Grey.
The script itself definitely sounds like something that could have come from the minds of the Point Grey duo, detailing the adventures of a down on his luck screenwriter who becomes an Uber driver just to make ends meet. Things escalate from there (significantly) and before he knows it, he’s become a getaway driver for the Jewish mafia. They even named their characters after Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, James Franco and Aziz Ansari.
Speaking to THR, Witz said:
“We’ve all heard the myth about a young Spielberg slipping onto the Universal lot this was about getting our script past the ‘gatekeepers’ and into the right hands.”
Whether or not the act of getting it into the “right hands” also hurt their chances of establishing a good rapport with any producers remains to be seen, but word of mouth on the new (supposed Rogen/Goldberg) script quickly spread around Hollywood, landing the story in front of the likes of Ted Sarandos, Megan Ellison, Scott Stuber, Mark Gordon and Will Ferrell, so it’s hard to fault the dishonest tactics Witz and Spektor, as they got exactly what they wanted.