The Pitch Meeting for ‘The Bounty Hunter’

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When you saw the trailer for “The Bounty Hunter,” your first thought was probably, “Why did the Oscars expand the Best Picture category to 10 nominees? They’re only gonna need one next year!!” But how does a movie this original and daring get made? We take you now to the pitch meeting, where all is revealed.

ANDY TENNANT: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Andy Tennant, and I am the director of such films as “Hitch,” “Fools Rush In,” and “Sweet Home Alabama.”

STUDIO EXEC #1: Please, Mr. Tennant! Don’t debase yourself by reciting your qualifications! We are well aware of your impressive film résumé.

STUDIO EXEC #2: Indeed! We are eager to hear what innovative project you need money for next!

STUDIO EXEC #3: Yes! Will it involve a man and a woman who meet, perhaps initially disliking one another but eventually falling in love?

ANDY TENNANT: Actually, this one has a twist.

STUDIO EXEC #3: A twist?! I don’t wish to second-guess you, but is that wise?

STUDIO EXEC #2: Our experience has been that audiences don’t like to see movies in which things occur that they did not expect to occur.

STUDIO EXEC #1: It is ape law!

ANDY TENNANT: I know, and I agree. But bear with me here. The twist is that the man and woman who dislike each other but eventually fall in love ALREADY KNOW EACH OTHER when the movie starts. In fact, they used to be in love! They were married!

STUDIO EXEC #1: Shut the aitch up!

STUDIO EXEC #2: It’s brilliant!

STUDIO EXEC #3: You literally just made my brain explode!

ANDY TENNANT: I knew you’d like it. See, they’re divorced now, and they hate each other, and the woman skips out on a court hearing, and the man, who is a bounty hunter, is assigned to find her and bring her in.

STUDIO EXEC #1: Ah! So they’ll be traveling together?

ANDY TENNANT: Yes, absolutely, for a long time, giving them plenty of opportunities to argue and fight and hate being together.

STUDIO EXEC #2: It will be just like that other movie where the mismatched couple must travel together despite their differences! What was it called?

STUDIO EXEC #3: “It Happened One Night”?

STUDIO EXEC #2: No.

STUDIO EXEC #1: “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”?

STUDIO EXEC #2: No.

STUDIO EXEC #3: “The 39 Steps”?

STUDIO EXEC #2: No.

STUDIO EXEC #1: “The Sure Thing”?

STUDIO EXEC #2: No.

STUDIO EXEC #3: “Leap Year”?

STUDIO EXEC #2: No.

STUDIO EXEC #1: “Midnight Run”?

STUDIO EXEC #2: No.

STUDIO EXEC #3: “Nothing to Lose”?

STUDIO EXEC #2: No.

STUDIO EXEC #1: “Dutch”?

STUDIO EXEC #2: No.

STUDIO EXEC #3: “Romancing the Stone”?

STUDIO EXEC #2: No.

STUDIO EXEC #1: “French Kiss”?

STUDIO EXEC #2: No.

STUDIO EXEC #3: “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”?

STUDIO EXEC #2: No.

STUDIO EXEC #1: “Tommy Boy”?

STUDIO EXEC #2: No.

STUDIO EXEC #3: “Up”?

STUDIO EXEC #2: No.

STUDIO EXEC #1: “Forces of Nature”?

STUDIO EXEC #2: No.

STUDIO EXEC #3: “Rain Man”?

STUDIO EXEC #2: No.

STUDIO EXEC #1: “The African Queen”?

STUDIO EXEC #2: No, the one we greenlighted this morning!

STUDIO EXEC #3: Oh, “Love on the Run,” where the woman’s last name is Love and she has to help her best friend’s handsome Danish cousin sneak across the U.S. border.

STUDIO EXEC #2: Yes! That’s the one. It will be exactly like that.

STUDIO EXEC #3: Mmm … The words “it will be exactly like that” make me feel warm inside.

STUDIO EXEC #1: Now, this is all well and good as an idea. But surely it will take years of toil to write a screenplay that lives up to the brilliant potential of the premise.

ANDY TENNANT: Not at all! It has already been written!

STUDIO EXEC #1: Son of a bee!

STUDIO EXEC #2: It isn’t possible!

STUDIO EXEC #3: You’re a sorcerer!

ANDY TENNANT: Not I, but another. Her name is Sarah Thorp. She previously wrote the screenplay for “Twisted,” an intense thriller starring Ashley Judd.

STUDIO EXEC #1: I remember it well. It was easily the most suspenseful and brilliant film of whatever year it was that it came out.

STUDIO EXEC #2: Agreed, unless the year was 1995, because that’s the year “The Net” came out, and “The Net” was slightly more suspenseful and brilliant.

STUDIO EXEC #3: Oh, yes. I’m terrified of the Internet to this day!

STUDIO EXEC #1: “Twisted” was fantastic, of course, should have won Oscars, but can Sarah Thorp write comedy? We need to make sure she’s hitting all the cliches, all the things that are always in romantic comedies, lest audiences become disoriented and confused. My understanding from people who have the ability to write is that comedy is more difficult to make up than other things.

STUDIO EXEC #2: Yes, I’ve heard that too, from people who are literate and possess the ability to arrange written words in a certain order so as to convey meaning.

STUDIO EXEC #3: Writer peoples I know too say this on comedy.

ANDY TENNANT: Believe me, I’ve read the screenplay–

STUDIO EXEC #1: You can read??

STUDIO EXEC #2: How is it done??

STUDIO EXEC #3: You’re a sorcerer!

ANDY TENNANT: I’ve read it, and it’s incredibly funny. Why, the man and the woman — get this — hate each other! Yet, despite the fact that they hate each other, they must travel a long distance together!

STUDIO EXEC #1: I’m literally laughing my butt off already!

STUDIO EXEC #2: Please tell me they are handcuffed together at one point.

ANDY TENNANT: At many points!

STUDIO EXEC #3: Please tell me they must pretend to be married in order to fool a hotel manager or something.

ANDY TENNANT: I can tell you this as well!

STUDIO EXEC #1: Please tell me the woman will be played by an actress who is well liked but has had little success in movies and desperately needs a hit, where everyone will be rooting for her to succeed even though they suspect she will not.

ANDY TENNANT: We’ve already signed Jennifer Aniston.

STUDIO EXEC #2: And the male lead: Maybe someone who’s better suited for action roles but persists in playing romantic parts, even though each one is more embarrassing than the last? And maybe he keeps insisting on doing an American accent even though he is European and his American accent is terrible?

ANDY TENNANT: Three words: Gerard Butler.

STUDIO EXEC #1: You possess the creative genius of a thousand Nora Ephrons!

STUDIO EXEC #2: I will drink your blood and acquire your brilliance!

STUDIO EXEC #3: You’re a sorcerer!

— Film.com