Frotcast 53: Stupnitsky, Eisenberg of Bad Teacher, The Office, Ghostbusters III

UPDATE: For your listening pleasure, I uploaded the Fake Bret Remake (“Squirrels in the Sky”) separately, and you can listen/download that HERE.

This week on the Frotcast, aside from our usual talk of poop transplants and an amazing Fake Bret Remix song sent in by Waqas, I talked to Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, writers of this week’s Bad Teacher, as well as The Office, and a Ghostbusters 3 script that Bill Murray has thus far steadfastly avoided reading. The interview begins at 22:15.

(the player below may take a second to load. here’s a direct link to the podcast. right-click “save link as” to download file)

Other Notes from the Interview:

Lee on getting fired from JAG before getting to work on The Office: (24-minute mark)

“It’s a military law show, and I knew nothing about either.  And so I did tons and tons of research and basically filled my outline with as many acronyms as possible to show that I knew what I was doing.  And then the executive producer said it was too confusing, and he didn’t know what any of the acronyms meant.  And I got fired a couple days later.”

On Ricky Gervais: “I think Ricky Gervais has seen one episode of the American Office.  Maybe.”

On writing Bad Teacher [39 minutes]:

LEE: We wrote it on spec.  We felt like there were all these funny girls and no one was writing anything for them. So from a creative standpoint it seemed fun and different, and from a business standpoint it seemed like there was an opportunity there.
So we wrote it, and Sony came onboard, then it started going out to actresses, and there was interest.  And it turns out there aren’t all that many actresses who can get a movie greenlit.

GENE: There’s two, basically.

VINCE/FilmDrunk: And then Cameron Diaz sort of adopted the project, right?

LEE: We didn’t even know she was getting it, and then–

GENE: Originally the character was, like, 24 years old.  But then what we realized is that there’s no 24-year-old actress who can get a movie greenlit in Hollywood.

LEE: And then as we started talking to Cameron, it started feeling right.  It just sort of fit, and clicked.

On the test-audience process for Bad Teacher [47:30].

LEE: People are saying Bad Teacher wasn’t harsh enough, and you know, we tested the movie.  We tested the movie with different audiences.  And there were jokes that we considered.. You know, you go through a process. You try to do the best version of it that you can.

GENE: Audiences were going, “this is too harsh, this is too much,” it was turning them off, so you pull back.

LEE: And you try to maintain the integrity of the movie you started with.

GENE: They test the hell out of these things so, and they have it down to a science. And you know, people aren’t into these lines, and they find it offensive, so…

VINCE/FilmDrunk: What was the stuff that you guys pulled back on?

GENE:  Hmm… She said the word “c*nt”, which turned off a lot of men in the audience.  A lot of the men did not like her swearing.  And I think there was a thing about Mexicans that we pulled out…  So, that’ll be on the unrated DVD.

LEE: It’s a helpful part of the editing process, and the audience is not your friends and family, they’re just average moviegoers who are excited to see a movie, and you hear what jokes work and what jokes don’t work.  It’s very hard to argue when an entire theater doesn’t laugh at a joke.  It’s really a puzzle and you’re trying to get as many laughs in as possible.

On getting tapped by Sony to write the script for Ghostbusters 3 [56 minutes]:

VINCE/FilmDrunk: Oh, stupid me, I forgot to ask you guys about Ghostbusters 3.

LEE: Uhh, we’ll see what happens with that.  Bill still hasn’t read the script yet.

GENE: It’ll come out in 2020.

LEE: Christmas 2020.

VINCE/FilmDrunk: It’s not really time sensitive at this point, is it.

LEE: Exactly. Our whole Y2K thing when we started writing it back in ’97 is completely out the door so now, we have to figure something else out.

VINCE/FilmDrunk: So was this something that was your idea or something that the studio brought to you?

LEE: The studio sort of brought it to us.  And then we started having preliminary talks, and….

GENE: At first when they said they were going to do it, my first thought was, “don’t do it.”  But then my second thought was, if you’re gonna do it, hire us.

So there you have it.  And then the last 30 minutes of the Frotcast are basically us reading some INCREDIBLE scientific facts about fecal transplants, which made Brendan almost die again.  God that guy loves poop.  Here’s Waqas’ incredible “Squirrels in the Sky” fake Bret remix.

Still plenty of opportunity for the rest of you to send in remixes. Keep the emails coming, DOWNLOAD this week’s cast here.  SUBSCRIBE on Itunes.