HOLLYWOOD – In the latest of our Making of series a film that was considered ‘much better than anything Stanley Kubrick did’: Gabriele Muncino Playing for Keeps.
Italian director of such visionary misspelt classics as The Pursuit of Happyness and Severn Pounds, Gabriele Muncino invited Studio Exec on set and behind the scenes, in this the first part of our seventeen part series: The Making of a Modern Day Masterpiece: Playing for Keeps.
Muncino: When I got involved was… let me see… about four years ago. Initially the script was called The MILF Man and we had Dennis Quaid involved, but everyone was saying Quaid’s such an asshole. And I was working with Will Smith and he told me I had to see this breakfast cereal called ‘porridge’. It was great and on the cover was this Scottish man. I said who’s that? And everyone was like, that is Gerard Butler.
Gerard Butler: They’d seen my porridge box work and I knew they all hated Quaid so I was quite confident about getting the role. But before we started filming I though I’d better get into character. Now Gabriele had said something to me about I should be a real beef cake. But he’s Italian and he has a really strong accent so I thought he said I should eat a real lot of cake. and so that’s what I did. And trifle.
Jessica Biel: Initially the script was quite offensive towards women. My understanding was that originally it was called MILF Men and had Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as a pair of fun loving abortionist who have fallen on hard times and so set about ahem, creating some business. I know. Then Wilson tried to kill himself and then Quaid came on board and everyone was like, fuck no. Not Quaid. I’ve never known anyone in Hollywood to inspire such passion.
Muncino: So we changed the title, got rid of the abortion angle, added a kid and then made it more with it, but we’re ready to go and someone at the studio calls. You have to have Quaid. I couldn’t believe it. After all we had said, after all we had been through.
Dennis Quaid: So Gabriele and Gerard come over and they are just the sweetest people ever. One of them’s Scottish, the other is Italian. Guess which is which. Gerard was unsure about his role and he was considering the sequel to 300, which was called 150, a prequel really. And he told me he’d only do the film if I would be on hand to ‘mentor’ (I believe the word is), mentor him. Of course, I agreed.
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