The Sunday LA Times CALENDAR section ran a big article on the lack of great parts for women in features. It maintains that studios are reluctant to cast women in romantic comedy parts that shoulder the burden of comedy or make them appear unlikable. I can speak first hand that this is unfortunately true. A few years ago I thought it would be fun to write a balls-out R-rated comedy where the woman was the star. It’s always a man. Will Ferrell, Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Robin Williams, Rob Schneider (God help me). Why can’t a beautiful actress like Cameron Diaz, Reese Witherspoon, even Julia Roberts be the comic star? So I wrote the movie, I DREAM OF GINA, about an agoraphobic (Jimmy Fallon type) with a million neuroses who worships this goddess from afar, only to meet her and discover she is the wildest, raunchiest, most out-there girl on the planet. She winds up dragging him to Paris where adventures and hilarity ensues.
The screenplay was very well received. Several major producers wanted to be attached. I hooked up with one, developed it further with him, and when it was submitted to the studios they all passed saying, “we can’t cast it” and “she’s not likeable.”
With Lucy and Carole Lombard as my witnesses, I swear there’s no reason why women shouldn’t be given the chance to prove they’re just as funny or funnier than men.
Below is a sample of I DREAM OF GINA if you’re curious. Gina has just coaxed Hank (who has a fear of heights) to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
EXT. EIFFEL TOWER - DAY
The elevator rises to the top platform.
EXT. EIFFEL TOWER - OBSERVATION DECK - MOMENTS LATER
The elevator door opens and a throng of PEOPLE disembark, Gina first. Last off is a rather green Hank.
Atta boy. You were very brave. Mama's gonna give you a hummer. (then) So let's check out Paree. Would love to hock a loogie off this thing.
She crosses to the railing and spits through the fence.
That's for the six cylinder Peugot!
Hank takes baby steps to join her. He peers over the side.
The entire city appears to be in miniature.
Hank gets a real blast of vertigo. He clutches the railing for support then begins sliding to the ground.
Y'know, I'm guessing you're one of those "therapy is for other people" kind of guys.
It's okay. I'm fine. Just a little dehydrated. I could use some water.
You got it.
She quickly crosses to a French SECURITY GUARD.
Excuse me, is there a drinking fountain up here?
The guard gestures that he doesn't understand.
What? You don't speak English? (he looks at her blankly)
How could you not speak English? Who do you think comes to the top of the fucking Eiffel Tower?
(from the railing)
Uh...Gina. That's okay.
How many people from Hooterville do you think speak French? This man needs Perrier.
Not anymore. Really.
Here's two English words you better learn --(enunciating slowly)Ep-cot Cen-ter. (then) 'Cause that's where we'll all be motherfucker.
Hank tries to get up but just can't.
Don't need the water. See? Look. I'm great.
The security guard calls for assistance.
What, you're going to call for help? Over this? God, that is so France. Well fine. I don't give a shit. Call your whole fucking army.
Two more SECURITY GUARDS join him.
You don't scare me. (taunting) ACHTUNG!
They begin shouting in French. She responds with a torrent of profanity.
Remember when I said my fantasy girl in Paris was Audrey Hepburn? Audrey Hepburn never said motherfucker.
Gina is really into it now. A SMALL CROWD begins to gather. The shouting escalates. Finally:
That is it! We workers are now on strike! Stop the elevator!
Hah! See I told you. You can speak English!
Sarah Silverman was born to play this role!!!