Darren Lynn Bousman directed Saw II, III, and IV, as well as Repo! The Genetic Opera, guaranteeing that he would be the butt of jokes on this site more than a few times, and probably for years to come. Truthfully, a Paris Hilton goth musical is easily number two on my list of things I never want to watch, just behind puppy snuff. That said, he was a guest on the Adam Carolla podcast this week, and not only was he quite candid, he had a hell of a story to tell about how he broke into the business.
After making some short films that all his friends in Florida told him were great, he moved to Hollywood, only to find out his shorts were actually quite sh*tty and get laughed out the office of everyone he showed them to. He spent the next eight years as a lowly production assistant, culminating in a stint as Tara Reid’s assistant on Van Wilder. That’s where this block quote picks up…
“So I became Tara Reid’s assistant. And it was always like “Darrell, Devin, Derrick” — she never knew my name, and my job was to like hold her cigarettes and Pepsi at all times. Eventually I was fired from that job. So finally I was like, ‘I’m going to write a script and I’m not going to stop until this thing gets made.’ And so I wrote this script, called The Desperate. I sent it out, no one would read it. Because you get in that Catch 22 in Hollywood, where you have to have [a script to get an agent, and you have to have] an agent or else no one will read the script.
“My way to circumvent that catch 22 was, I made up a fake management company. I even had letterhead made, and I had a friend of mine answer the phones. And so, I was an assistant at the time at an agency, and my job was to read the scripts that came in. And so I changed the title of my screenplay and made it by a different person. Then I had it come through this fake agency that I had created and I put a message out to all the other assistants, “This is the best f*cking thing I’ve ever read, have you guys read this?”
“And by that point, I had heat, because all the other people were like, “Oh, Darren read this thing, he thinks it’s great.” And long story short, this screenplay ended up getting bought by the people who made the Saw films.” [Check out the whole podcast here]
From there, through a combination of begging and promising to take a lower salary than anyone else, he managed to convince the people to let him direct the second Saw movie. It’s sad that it had to culminate in Repo! the Genetic Opera, because excluding that part, it’s a pretty awesome story. It’s kind of like telling how you won the state championship on a last-second, game-winning hail mary pass. But the quarterback of the opposing team had earlier dedicated the game to his little brother with cancer, who ending up dying distraught and confused just a few hours later. And all the doctors said it was the game that did it. But, you know, congrats, dude, you won.
I want more like this!
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