I’m pretty sure the development meeting went like this
Ben Stiller (BS): Why do people hate me?
Producer/Agent/Manager (PAM): I guess it’s because you come across as deeply uninteresting, Ben
BS: Well, how do I get them to think I’m interesting?
PAM: Ummm, Adam Sandler did it by making Punch Drunk Love
BS: Is that the one where he’s mentally ill and goes to little school?
PAM: Dude, obviously, no
BS: Is it the one where he’s mentally ill and inherits loads of money?
PAM: Yeah, no it’s really not
BS: Is it the one where he’s good at golf?
PAM: No but that one made a lot of people like him more
BS: Is it the one where he’s a dentist and he pretends….
PAM: Seriously, are we going to do this all day? Punch Drunk Love is the weird one, with the muted palette, with the piano? And the phone calls? It’s kind of serious but also a bit abstract and a bit funny.
BS: Well, can I get one of them?
PAM: Are you sure that’s what you want, because you’re doing ok with this whole… (gestures at Ben)… bit
BS: (sticks out bottom lip and crosses arms) I want one with weird and serious things and pallettes and a piano and that. Make that happen or you’re fired (stamps feet which are wearing shoes that fasten with velcro because Ben Stiller is terrified of string – true story)
PAM: Well, Ok I guess, let me see what’s out there
BS: And get that girl that’s in everything to be my love interest
PAM: Who? Jennifer Lawrence?
BS: No, the other one
PAM: What Amy Adams?
BS: No she’ll make my face look huge, the one with the mouth
PAM: Emily Blunt?
BS: No, silly, she died, the other one, who’s in everything, she wants people to find her interesting as well, the one with all the eyes.
PAM: Oh you mean Kristen Wiig?
BS: Yeah she’s out of Flight Of The Conchords, right?
PAM: No, you’re thinking of the other one, wassername
BS: No the eyes one is fine, get her
PAM: Ok, well, are you sure? Because it won’t be funny
BS: I DON’T WANT FUNNY PAM, I WANT THEM TO THINK I’M INTERESTING, MAKE IT HAPPEN OR YOU’RE FIRED
PAM: Ok, Jeez, calm down, here, make this, it’s called The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, you play Walter
BS: Is Walter interesting?
PAM: Umm, well, he works at Life Magazine so….
BS: Is he interesting?
PAM: He’s nearly as interesting as Adam Sandler in Punch Drunk Love, kinda….
BS: That’ll do. Also, put a shark in it, I heard sharks are in this year
PAM: Ok Ben, whatever you say.
BS: And bangs, I want bangs
PAM: Are you sure? There aren’t any bangs in Punch Drunk Love
BS: I WANT BANGS PAM, PUT THEM IN
PAM: Why don’t you just, like direct it then, if you want sharks and bangs