[Scene: A conference room at a movie studio sometime in 2010.]
GARRY MARSHALL: Good afternoon, gentlemen! Thanks for seeing me!
STUDIO EXEC #1: Are you kidding? You’re Garry Marshall, director of such classic films as “Pretty Woman,” “Beaches,” “Dear God,” and “The Princess Diaries”!
STUDIO EXEC #2: Any studio in town would be delighted to see you!
STUDIO EXEC #3: I’ve always said, the day Garry Marshall can’t get a meeting in Hollywood is the day I leave Hollywood, and kill myself!
STUDIO EXEC #2: He does always say that.
GARRY MARSHALL: Oh, you’re all very sweet, thank you. I have something in mind that I think you’re going to like…
STUDIO EXEC #1: Is it something that’s exactly like another thing we’ve already seen?
GARRY MARSHALL: It is.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Sold!
GARRY MARSHALL: Ha ha, you guys are great!
STUDIO EXEC #2: Which specific thing that we’ve already seen will it be exactly like?
GARRY MARSHALL: Well, did you see my last picture, “Valentine’s Day”?
STUDIO EXEC #3: See it? I memorized it!
STUDIO EXEC #1: See it? I made love to it!
STUDIO EXEC #2: See it? I used the futuristic technology depicted in “Avatar” to live in it!
STUDIO EXEC #3: Oh — please tell me you want to do a sequel.
STUDIO EXEC #1: “Valentine’s Day 2”!
STUDIO EXEC #2: “Valentine’s Night”!
STUDIO EXEC #3: “February 15th”!
GARRY MARSHALL: Not exactly a sequel, but close. I really liked the concept of “Valentine’s Day,” where we crammed a dozen storylines and two dozen characters into one movie, thus preventing any of them from being fully developed.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Agreed. If there’s one thing audiences like more than superficiality, it’s a LOT of superficiality.
GARRY MARSHALL: That’s what I’m thinking. So what if we used the same concept as “Valentine’s Day” but applied it to a different holiday?
STUDIO EXEC #2: That’s ingenious!
STUDIO EXEC #3: How do you come up with these brilliant ideas?
STUDIO EXEC #2: What holiday do you want to use?
GARRY MARSHALL: Well, I want to stay in the romantic comedy genre, so I was thinking about other holidays that lend themselves to dating and falling in love.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Labor Day?
STUDIO EXEC #2: Rosh Hashanah?
STUDIO EXEC #3: Mother’s Day?
GARRY MARSHALL: All good ideas, but no. New Year’s Eve!
STUDIO EXEC #1: Even better!
STUDIO EXEC #2: We all want somebody to kiss on the stroke of midnight!
STUDIO EXEC #1: Or on the lips!
GARRY MARSHALL: Ha ha, that’s terrific. Can I use that?
STUDIO EXEC #1: Sure! Hey, guys, look at me! I’m a screenwriter now! [dances a merry jig]
GARRY MARSHALL: The screenplay is almost finished, but it still needs some work. I took the “Valentine’s Day” script and found all the places where it says “Valentine’s Day” and replaced them with “New Year’s Eve.” I could use a few more ideas, though. You fellas care to do some brainstorming?
STUDIO EXEC #3: Which celebrities do you have lined up to star in it?
GARRY MARSHALL: I started with the regulars: Jessica Biel, Ashton Kutcher, Josh Duhamel, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zac Efron. Katherine Heigl, of course.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Oh, sure. Just TRY and make a movie like this without Katherine Heigl!
STUDIO EXEC #2: She hears there’s a romantic comedy in the works and it’s like chum to a shark, only bloodier.
STUDIO EXEC #3: Good thing everyone in America loves her!
GARRY MARSHALL: I have a few others lined up, too: Carla Gugino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Abigail Breslin, Ludacris, Halle Berry, Hilary Swank, the girl from “Glee” that everyone hates…
STUDIO EXEC #1: You’d have to narrow that down.
GARRY MARSHALL: Oh! And Robert De Niro!
STUDIO EXEC #2: You got De Niro??
STUDIO EXEC #3: From the “Fockers” movies??
STUDIO EXEC #1: That’s amazing. We’ll have to promote the heck out of that!
GARRY MARSHALL: Um, actually, I was only able to get him on the condition that the trailers and TV spots don’t show his face for more than two seconds.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Oh, sure. We’ve had arrangements like that before.
STUDIO EXEC #3: We weren’t allowed to tell anyone that Nicole Kidman was in “Just Go with It” until after it hit DVD.
STUDIO EXEC #1: People STILL don’t know that Ben Kingsley was in “Prince of Persia”!
GARRY MARSHALL: So it’s New Year’s Eve, everyone’s scrambling to get to their parties and everything, it’s very stressful…
STUDIO EXEC #2: … and two strangers get stuck in an elevator!
GARRY MARSHALL: Oh, yes, that’s great! I was also thinking that Katherine Heigl should slap somebody.
STUDIO EXEC #3: Jon Bon Jovi?
GARRY MARSHALL: Sure, why not?
STUDIO EXEC #1: What is Hilary Swank doing?
GARRY MARSHALL: She’s an important career woman with an important job, so at some point she says…
STUDIO EXEC #3: “This is the biggest night of my career!”
GARRY MARSHALL: Exactly.
STUDIO EXEC #2: OK, I’m sure the movie will be terrific. I have confidence that when Garry Marshall makes a film, it comes out looking like a film that Garry Marshall made.
GARRY MARSHALL: Thank you.
STUDIO EXEC #2: But let’s talk about what really matters: the marketing.
STUDIO EXEC #3: It’s gonna be hard to make a trailer for a movie with this many celebrities AND tell people what the movie is about.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Yeah, I think an ordinary two-and-a-half-minute trailer can do one or the other. Either we can list the names of all the people who are in it, or we can give the audience a sense of what the storylines are.
GARRY MARSHALL: Well, I think the choice is clear.
STUDIO EXEC #2: I agree.
STUDIO EXEC #3: Coming soon: “Long List of Names: The Movie!”