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Quint interviews HAROLD AND KUMAR writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg about Doogie and Battlesh!ts!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I'm currently bracing myself for the whirlwind of chaos and coolness known as the SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON. I've locked down some great one-on-one interviews and have the line on some really cool goodies being brought by the filmmakers of some of the most highly anticipated geek flicks of this year and next. The HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE guys will be on a panel Friday afternoon, along with some folks from BLADE 3 and ROTK:EE. I got to sit down with a bunch of the HAROLD AND KUMAR guys recently and I have a bit from the writers of the film, who gave me a knowing look as I approached. "The lips of the pillow drink heavily of the dream-water," they said simultaneously.

For those not in the know, I am just now able to disclose that that phrase is an older code to prove that you are or once were an AICN spy. It has been decommissioned now, so don't try it you sneaky bastiges! Needless to say, they reveal a little bit about their spy history in the interview. They're too damn respectable in the industry now to feed us more info, those turncoat swine!

Anyway, these dudes seem to be stand-up guys with an eye for comedy. It'll be interesting to see what they come up with for us next... On with the interview!!!






L to R: Hayden Scholssberg, Jon Hurwitz

QUINT: Is this the first script you guys actually wrote or the first one that got made?

HAYDEN SCHLOSSBERG: We had just sold...

He pauses and eyeballs the tape recorder.

HAYDEN: I'm Hayden, by the way... Dealing with this for the first time...

QUINT: It's a good idea... It'll help in the transcription... Knowing me, I'd mix you guys up.

HAYDEN: Probably! Jon and I started writing in college. We met each other in high school. We went to separate colleges. Jon went to the University of Pennsylvania and I went to the University of Chicago. We started writing middle of college. We sold our first screenplay, like, a couple months before we graduated.

It's kind of a crazy story... We got...

JON HURWITZ: Basically we didn't have any connections in Hollywood. Our first script was called FILTHY, an R-rated Youth Comedy also. Basically, we looked for movies that were similar to ours that we loved like AMERICAN PIE, DUMB AND DUMBER and THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY... R-rated comedies that are funny. Found out there was a common assistant director on the four movies I just mentioned and contacted the assistant director, 'cause we figured that he'd be low enough on the totem pole to actually talk to some college students.

He read our script, he loved it and he passed it on to a couple of producers. It got passed around and this one producer, Matt Berenson, fell in love with the script. He gave it to some agents and managers. We signed with one of each. The next day our script went on the market and a week later we sold our first script, FILTHY.

That caused us to move out to LA. We lived there... We moved out there 4 years ago. The first couple years we lived out there, we sold a comedy game show where a pilot of it was shot and we sold a horror movie pitch, which we wrote as well. None of those things got made, but we learned a ton in the process...

HAYDEN: Nor did the first screenplay that we sold...

QUINT: But you got the bread, so...

HAYDEN & JON: Exactly!

HAYDEN: We went through a whole rewriting process on those films. Jon and I didn't go to film school, we didn't really study film. Our knowledge of movies is through watching movies extensively...

JON: I mean, we're huge fans... I've been going to Ain't It Cool for years. In college we were part of groups of friends that would write in reviews that would randomly get posted. Still go to the website today.

QUINT: What did you send in that got posted?

JON: One review that I did... the one review that got posted was... A buddy of ours, who's actually here, he's in his room right now. We had all seen MISSION TO MARS and we were all kind of just bitching like crazy and he just kind of wrote it all down. He sent it in and that got posted.

QUINT: I remember getting shit for my review because I didn't out and out hate the movie. I knew it failed, but strangely enough I found myself kind of enjoying the movie...

JON: No, it was fun to watch. Still is... But it's frustrating 'cause I love Don Cheadle, I loved a lot of the actors in that movie. For me, it felt like a lot of actors gave the worst performance I've ever seen them give. There was something about the tone of the movie that felt off for me. But that was the one that our group of friends were proud of that actually got on there.

HAYDEN: But basically, just getting back to the point, we had been huge movie fans, we had written these scripts and came to a point where we were in LA for 2 1/2 or 3 years and we hadn't had a movie made yet. We had just sold a couple things. Jon and I came up with this idea for a movie and we immediately thought, "You know what? We don't care how difficult it is to get this movie made, let's just get it on paper first. That's the start. Make it as funny as possible." And it really became a much quicker process than we could have ever imagined.

Our agents sent it out to a couple places... buyers who would want to make this sort of low-budget stoner kind of movie. Senator Intl. immediately called us and said, "Listen, we want to make THIS movie." We were nervous that they'd want to change it to DAVID AND JASON GO TO MCDONALDS, you know what I mean? We figured that's what was going to happen. But immediately they were like, "I love this. We get the movie. We want to keep it R-rated." DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR? was PG-13.

JON: We wanted the movie to take place... It's not in a complete reality, but we wanted the two main characters, the two protagonists, to feel real, to feel like real people, to react to things that happen in a realistic way.

HAYDEN: We wanted the movie to start out feeling like it was in the real world and just get gradually surreal throughout the movie...

QUINT: Then ending in hallucinations.

JON & HAYDEN: Exactly.

QUINT: So, I guess you guys grew up...

HAYDEN: We grew up in New Jersey.

QUINT: Ah, so that's where the White Castle part of it came from.

JON: Exactly... For me, something funny, I lived outside of Pittsburgh for 7 years... When I was there and my grandparents would come to visit us, they'd fly out to Pittsburgh and they would bring frozen White Castle burgers before they were in the supermarkets. They didn't have them in the supermarkets, so they would go to the White Castle, they'd by like, 120 burgers... frozen... and bring them in dry ice on an airplane to Pittsburgh. So, it always kind of just had a special kind of part in my heart.

HAYDEN: Well, it's almost a tradition or a reputation that White Castle has of being this place where when you're done partying for the night... it's open 24 hours...

JON: And you can eat a bunch of them. That's the best thing.

HAYDEN: You scarf yourself there. It's a place for total abandon in terms of how much you want to eat and it fit perfectly.

QUINT: So, when you moved to LA...

JON & HAYDEN: There are no White Castles there!

QUINT: You didn't feel the urge to change it to HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO IN-N-OUT?

JON: No-no-no-no-no...

HAYDEN: Jon hates IN-N-OUT's fries..

Now, I didn't hear Hayden say "fries" while doing the interview. What I heard was "Jon hates IN-N-OUT." If you know me, you know how much I adore IN-N-OUT and crave it on a daily basis. My friends and I have petitioned for an Austin IN-N-OUT, with little success, unfortunately. So, needless to say... I was a little bit on the offensive at this moment.

QUINT: You hate IN-N-OUT?!?!?

JON: I like IN-N-OUT's burgers, I just don't like their fries.

QUINT: Oh... Well, I didn't like IN-N-OUT's fries at first, either, but now it feels like the perfect compliment to my Double-Double Animal Style...

JON: See, that's my problem... I like the whole burger experience... The Burger AND Fries...

QUINT: You can't beat their strawberry shakes, though.

Jon orgasmically sighs at this moment. I decided he was Okay, so I put "the smile" away (kudos to who gets that reference) and sat back down...

HAYDEN: They're good.

JON: But being in LA and not having White Castle... Part of the thing that we always joked about was... We craved White Castle so much there that we'd say "Let's make this movie and if somehow it gets made and it get successful and stuff... maybe White Castle's profits will spike so much that they'll have to expand and then we'll have White Castle in California.

QUINT: Or maybe at the very least, White Castle will appreciate you so much they'll give you some sort of card that gets you free White Castles forever.

JON: Yeah, exactly! So far, though... In Toronto it was amazing. When they were shooting the movie, we were there for the entire shoot, and they built a fake White Castle there, they're bringing all these White Castle burger to Texas... On the Sunset Strip in LA they're going to have White Castle basically open for about a week...

HAYDEN: There are a lot of people out there that would believe that this movie is just a huge product placement movie, like MAC & ME, basically, but this is just something, like we said, that fit. We like the idea of a movie about Hunger. It fit. And we knew as soon as we wrote it, we were like, "If this gets made, this'll be a huge thing for White Castle." They're not gonna know what hit them. They'll be like, "Somebody wrote a movie about us?"

JON: They were probably, I'm sure, really shocked and really happy.

QUINT: So, which one of you guys is taking credit/blame for "Battleshits?"

HAYDEN: Uh...

JON: I... I... Battleshits was something... It's funny. When I was in High School I was friends with a couple of the guys on the football team. A couple of really big funny guys. I remember in gym class... Those two guys, for some reason, always have to take a shit during gym class. They would... They started joking around about playing Battleshits. They would joke around about it and I would always talk to them about that and started playing it up with them and saying things like, "You sank my Destroyer." Although, I never actually played it myself.

I can say this with certainty... being on the set when they were shooting Battleshits... I never thought that I could be aroused during that kind of nonsense, but those girls were really beautiful girls and I knew that it wasn't real... But when I watch it on the screen, it doesn't feel sick to me, like everybody else because I was there and they were just hot chicks...





QUINT: I have to talk about Neil Patrick Harris...

JON: Oh, yeah!

HAYDEN: Neil was from the very first draft in the script. It was just like, "Let's think of how to make this the weirdest fucking most surreal night of all time." We loved Doogie growing up.

JON: We were big fans.

QUINT: I grew up with Doogie Howser... One of the biggest events in my childhood was this Toys For Tots celebrity signing in a local mall and I got to meet a bunch of people that were smaller characters on TV... I met the EERIE, INDIANA kid, Screech from SAVED BY THE BELL and one of the guys from Doogie Howser... I don't remember, but I think his character's name was Marcus...

JON: Oh, yeah! The dude that robbed the store...

QUINT: Yeah, he was a gang member or something then became a resident nurse...

JON: That's awesome! You know, when we wrote it... we were hoping from the beginning that Neil would understand that we weren't making fun of him, that we were playing with what people think of Neil Patrick Harris and just messing with that.

HAYDEN: And he got it. He got it. I think Danny Leiner went out to New York... what was he doing? Cabaret? Just to totally make him feel safe about it. It was the type of thing that in order to do it the right way he had to act well, you know. It wasn't something that was just a throwaway... "Oh, here's a Gary Coleman joke..."

JON: Exactly. This was more like he plays a role in the movie. It's a legitimate role.

QUINT: What are you guys up to next?

JON: We have a bunch of things coming up next. We have a project with New Line called THE WINGMAN, which we just got a director on. His name's John Whitesell, he did MALIBU'S MOST WANTED. So, we have that. We're doing a parody movie that we're hoping MGM is going to make, a parody of LORD OF THE RINGS and HARRY POTTER.

HAYDEN: It was a script that was given to us... HAROLD AND KUMAR was popular in town, they gave it to us to rewrite it. At first we were unsure, but...

QUINT: I remember there being a parody in the works called LORD OF THE BROOMS or something like that...

HAYDEN: That's SCARY MOVIE you're thinking of... They had an alternate title at one point.

JON: This was called HENRY BATES AND THE SORCERER'S BALLS and it's currently called HARRY TROTTER: LORD OF THE BALLS. We did a Page One rewrite. It was great, we loved it.

HAYDEN: We just wanted to make a SPACEBALLS.

JON: There's another project we're writing next for Senator called THE GYM TEACHER, which is about a guy who was the big asshole in High School who becomes a gym teacher at his old high school. It's a redemption story for him and that kind of thing and it's ridiculous. And we just made two producing deals recently for projects for New Line. One of them is called OPEN BAR, which is about a couple guys who end up buying the bar that they used to sneak into. And another one about the world of competitive eating called ALL YOU CAN EAT. And those are both written by a friend of ours named Josh Heel...

So, I probably fucked up that dude's name... much apologies... I couldn't find you on IMDB, so I had to wing it!

JON: Is that everything? Oh! And more importantly we're writing the sequel to HAROLD AND KUMAR right now. We're writing HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO AMSTERDAM!

=====================

There you have it, squirts! One more round of HAROLD AND KUMAR to go... Keep an eye out tomorrow for Kal Penn and John Cho as they confront the one and only crusty seaman in a grudge match to end all grudge matches!!! 'Til that day, this is Quint bidding you all a fond farewell and adieu.

-Quint







Readers Talkback
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  • July 20, 2004, 4:40 a.m. CST

    Yawn

    by BillEmic

    All those movie deals they claim to have going sound worthless. A movie about comptetitive eating?!

  • July 20, 2004, 4:41 a.m. CST

    So yeah

    by BillEmic

    I'm first.

  • July 20, 2004, 7:57 a.m. CST

    Good luck to them.

    by zacdilone

  • July 20, 2004, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Another classic case of AICN overkill on a film hardly anybody

    by Atticus Finch

    Yaaaaawn...

  • July 20, 2004, 11:08 a.m. CST

    Hayden, you no good, scruffy looking nerfherder

    by Dorfmaniacal

    I saw that guy stoned in college, and he was just not that funny, so I don't know how the movie will work out.

  • July 20, 2004, 11:41 a.m. CST

    'DOLPH!

    by splat

    Let's hear it for the best town in northern NJ!!!!! We're proud of you fuckers!

  • July 20, 2004, 2:40 p.m. CST

    I saw this at CineVegas in June. Here's my review as posted on A

    by psychedelic

    This is the funniest comedy I

  • July 20, 2004, 3:08 p.m. CST

    note to psychedelic

    by John Travolta

    the key is that you don't want to sound like a studio shill.

  • July 20, 2004, 3:46 p.m. CST

    I figured someone would say this.

    by psychedelic

    Check out my negative review of The Notebook in my CineVegas coverage. Guess which studio put it out. What can I say, Harold & Kumar is funny as hell. There's a reason AICN is giving it so much coverage. When I first walked in my expectations were low, the director of "Dude,where's my car?"-yawn. I was completely surprised. I think other people will be too. Call me a plant if you want, but I believe a lot of people here will like it.

  • July 20, 2004, 5:18 p.m. CST

    Holy shit! This is going to be another "Dude, Where's My Car?"!!

    by Leopardghost

    And the decline of Western Civilization continues.... What the fuck? It's summer, the height of blockbuster season, and THIS is what is 'big news' on this site? What a pisser.

  • Some of you hopeful writers should write about that.

  • July 21, 2004, 10:04 p.m. CST

    cinevegas

    by hank quinlan

    Hmmm...so this showed at Cinevegas but my 35mm short couldnt get in. Wow, that's some discerning programming. Fuck Groth and Plante.

  • July 22, 2004, 5:23 a.m. CST

    how many plants do we need in one article??

    by phasmatrope

    ...because Psychedelic sure as battleshits is one (certainly WRITES like one; c'mon dude, "bring on the sequel??" Please...), and Mace Windex is sounding pretty damn suspect too. And let's not forget what a work of fast-food propaganda this movie is anyway. If it were called "Dan The Del Taco Guy Wants A 69 Cent Breakfast Burrito," then I might have some respect for it, for being a more blatant marketing tool. Hell, maybe that should be the sequel. "Harold and Kumar Wake Up The Next Morning With A Hangover & Go For Breakfast Burritos, McGriddles and (your product here)". Of course, since there's no official company that makes and promotes the marijuana they as stoners smoke, the studio could change their habit to beer and have Budweiser float half the budget. Yee fuckin' haw.

  • July 22, 2004, 2:27 p.m. CST

    What can I say? I'm thin-skinned.

    by psychedelic

    Scroll down to search, type in cinevegas, and read my huge CineVegas report--phasmatrope. Read the three other postings I've had on AICN as well. As for "Bring on the sequal!", I dug the movie and wanted to see more. I'm surprised as anyone I felt this way. It doesn't make me a plant. Would a plant bother responding to you in talkback? I don't think so. Listen to Mace Windex, check Harold & Kumar out on cable. You might like it.

  • July 22, 2004, 4:33 p.m. CST

    even if you two ain't plants...

    by phasmatrope

    ...your tastes are pretty damn suspect. Case in point, for the first half of your review Mace, you sounded fairly legit. But once you started talking about "stock rising fast" and casting two talentless vapid hanger-oners like Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie simply because they'll be serious "bank"--even if you ARE attracted to plastic, pinched-face, no cleavage-havin', aloof imbeciles like they (I, alas, am not) you and anyone with half a brain has to admit that their newfound popularity is undeserving and disturbing--your credibility just went out the window. But hey, as for the movie itself, you know what they say, dying is easy, comedy is hard. Props to you if you both felt that goddamned thing was time or money well spent, but you sure as shit won't be seeing me in the same fuckin' theater. I'd rather invest my two hours into Xbox.

  • July 23, 2004, 6:48 a.m. CST

    Paris & Nicole? You can have 'em...

    by phasmatrope

    ...the only damn reason anyone really gives a shit about Paris Hilton anyway is because they actually saw her getting fucked six ways from Sunday in that damned sex tape (and from what I've heard, it was without much fanfare). I'm sure there are plenty of other far more attractive celebs who do as much if not more so in the sack than she does, just that you'll never hear about them doing it because they either have the self-respect to forbid their boyfriends from making a goddamned sex tape in the first place, or are discreet enough to insure that one would never see the light of day. However, I'm sure that her countless money and the prospect of being her gigolo probably makes her slightly more appealing to the generally undiscriminating male populace out there. Hell, even I'd fuck her if there was a Jag in it for me. As for Nicole Ritchie, her so-called dirty mind can only hope to compensate for her hatchet face. That is one half-breed that got the worst of both worlds, like the midwife gave her the long end of the ugly stick to her kisser again and again and again, but she wouldn't die so they cut their losses and put her on TV. I may be a guy with a libido like any other dirtbag but I'll keep my Xbox for now, thank you very much. What I find disturbing is that those two have agents for really doing nothing other than being their idiotic selves while there are plenty of talented and more deserving actors, writers and artists out there who actually produce something creative, yet who will probably never see the light of day. Even you have to admit that that's fucked up...

  • July 23, 2004, 7:19 a.m. CST

    Slider's Rule!

    by Evil Chicken

    More power to