New Feature: FFFJ (Mondo Beyondo)
Today's selection will be a script that's been popping up in my conversation of late, on more than one occasion. It's an example of one of those scripts that I wish came out, and still has not. It was a wacky, off-the-wall comedy that I read a few years back, and had some attachments, but I have no idea what happened to it since then. Perhaps someone else out there in the biz has some idea and can fill us all in.
The script was called Mondo Beyondo, and was written by David Guion and Michael Handelman. A quick IMDB search reveals that this team has at least two other potential upcoming projects, one in pre-production and one in development (I found other scripts mentioned via Google searches). I actually read two different drafts of Mondo Beyondo, one dated 2/9/01 and one that I covered in December '02. I liked both versions, though I definitely felt the second draft made some excellent improvements on the first. It is somewhat rare, but always fun and interesting for me to read two different drafts of the same project, and if you ever have the chance, I'd highly recommend it.
By the time the second draft rolled into my hands, it had some attachments listed. Casey Affleck, Joaquin Phoenix, and Terry Gilliam were all listed as stars (Gilliam to act again?!), and it was to be produced by This is That, the company founded by ex-Good Machine execs Anthony Bregman and Ted Hope, and Anne Carey. They've produced such films as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Thumbsucker. Bottom line, this suggests to me that there is either a chance still that this will be produced, or more likely the project was shelved (especially, since This is That is producing one of the team's other projects, Fast Track, and since one of the team's other upcoming film projects is not that different from Beyondo). But I would still love to see it produced and released.
Anyway, MB was a post-apocalyptic road comedy. Basically, the film focuses on DAVE THE WAVE and MARMADUKE, two lovable losers who are attending their high school reunion when the world is essentially destroyed. The earlier draft began with an awesomely hilarious line: Everything was relatively normal, until the nuclear holocaust. The two guys are miraculously saved, and travel cross country along with SAMANTHA, the girl Dave has loved for 10 years. Eventually, they find other survivors along the way, and take on THE OVERLORD and his robot army to save the world, in a silly spoof of post-apocalyptic movies.
The screenplay was truly hilarious, in a mindlessly escapist kind of way, that thankfully never took itself too seriously. My comments on the earlier draft included such lines as "Mondo Beyondo is a ridiculously silly story, combining elements of various popular genres. And that's a good thing." I described the draft as Dude, Where's my Car meets The Road Warrior, with a healthy dose of Battlebots thrown in to the mix. But most importantly, the mindless and irreverent humor was the key to the film's charm.
By the time I got to the second draft, here's what I had to say. I called it "an excellent example of totally bizarre humor, which might even have some minor franchise potential." I compared the tone and style of the comedy to that of the Austin Powers films. While in the first draft I felt that despite the solid comedy, there were still "quite a few down stretches," the second draft tightened the script, adding in more madcap comedic elements that come in out of left field. Significantly, a number of bizarre elements that seem one-off gags early on, end up as clever plot devices later in the film. And the sub-plots and minor characters are more thoroughly unified here, along with greater development of characters and storylines. Whereas in the first draft I suggested that "rewrites will certainly be necessary," I felt that most of this had been rectified in the later draft. I still felt it could benefit from a bit of trimming, perhaps in the neighborhood of 10-15 minutes, but I also mentioned that "No particular scenes stick out as excisable, but rather just little bits here and there to make things move more quickly."
So, anyone out there know what happened to Mondo Beyondo? Let us know! And keep your eyes open for more future entries, From the Files of Fun Joel!
Tags: Mondo+Beyondo, script+reading, David+Guion, Michael+Handelman, This+is+That, Anthony+Bregman, Ted+Hope, Anne+Carey, Casey+Affleck, Joaquin+Phoenix, Terry+Gilliam