Several years ago - around 2006 or so - I wrote a script entitled POOR THINGS for an independent film producer. It was a black comedy about two elderly female career con artists who decide to do one last score by murdering a homeless junkie that they've taken a life insurance policy out on. I dunno. Seemed like an interesting idea at the time.
Anyway, I wrote a script, got some rent money, and promptly went on to other things. A few months after turning POOR THINGS in, I got a call from a Producer on the project telling me to go look at the day's copy of Variety … And there was my name on the front page, announcing that Academy Award winners Shirley MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis were on board to play the leads.
I was completely shocked and amazed as I watched the project turn into a genuine Hollywood "thing." All of a sudden, directors were attached, more stars came on board, meetings with major studios were happening. There are all kinds of stories out there on the internet about the film's development if you care to search them out. Here's a typical story from Slash Film about the project … and the typical journalistic response to the idea:
… Yeah, at this time there was no DEADGIRL, no CHEAP THRILLS, no TALHOTBLOND. I was just the fucking idiot who had written CITIZEN TOXIE. How could a dumbass from Troma write something that attracted actual talent? Something had to be amiss …
Anyway, re-writes were requested, meetings were taken, money was raised, parts were filled. They even made me turn a 70-plus year old character into a 23 year old so that they could up the "sexy factor" and cast Lindsay Lohan (who was veering off the tracks at the time, but hadn't quite crashed the train yet).
A production office was established. The DP of CHILDREN OF MEN was onboard. Locations were rented along with equipment. The cast fluctuated, but at one time or another included Rosario Dawson, Channing Tatum, Giovanni Ribisi, Christopher Walken, and James Woods in addition to the three female leads. Millions of dollars were in the bank with hundreds of thousands being spent on pre-production …
Hell, here I am at Shirley MacLaine's house for a script meeting. We actually got along famously. She even made me lunch:
But as you know, there never was a movie called POOR THINGS. Less than 48 hours before we were to begin shooting, Lindsay got busted for cocaine possession and DWI and immediately went into rehab (her first of 6 stints), which pushed production … and eventually the money ran out and everyone went home. While the Lohan meltdown was a contributing factor in the death of POOR THINGS, there were many other things that prevented the film from becoming a reality. I could fill a whole book about how Hollywood greed and avarice and stupidity jettisoned the project. A series of terrible decisions and a ton of massive egos were the real problem and the film died a horrible death before a single frame was shot.
Here's a Variety story when things were still trying to be put back together again.
Yep, it was disappointing to say the least. I think that my life might be a little different now if this thing had been made. But it wasn't …
Nevertheless, people seemed to really love the script and it got me some meetings and my first Manager and Agent. I made a little bit of money from it by doing the re-writes and stuff (but my big paycheck, which I was supposed to get on the first day of production, never came), and - most importantly - I learned a valuable lesson about how this silly town can be when the stench of money starts to waft around. There were non-monetary benefits to the whole experience, I suppose, but I would have loved to have seen the movie made.
In lieu of that, I'm doing the next best thing, which is making the script available to the public (and by "public," I mean you three). Now we have made a movie together - a movie in your minds. So here it is, for your reading pleasure:
This is an earlier draft of the script before some of the changes were demanded of me … Maybe a "purer" version of it. In this one, there is no sexy 23 year old … Lohan's character is as I originally intended her to be: an addled 70-something woman (the character of "Phoebe," just FYI).
Enjoy and thanks for visiting the site, folks!