A little while back, Ruth@FlixChatter participated in another movie blogger’s “Fantasy Movie” activity, in which various bloggers created a movie – they cast it, plugged in a director, wrote up tag lines and plots and, in Ruth’s case, did everything short of write the dialogue! Hers, which you can read here, was the best of the bunch, I thought, and I am still sometimes disappointed when I recall that it is not a real movie that I will be able to see next year.
Anyway, that activity reminded me of a movie that I “made up” several years ago. All that I had at the time, really, was a concept. I couldn’t think of an appropriate star to save my life, and so I never got much past the initial idea. So I started thinking about it again, and fleshed it out a bit, and, well, I’ve decided that the time has come to share it with you. Be warned: it’s pretty bare bones. I’m just the idea girl — somebody else would have to come along and really make it hum. Hollywood, take note.
Continuing on yesterday’s theme … you know how, in Superman, it’s always been rather patently ridiculous that all Superman does is put on a pair of glasses (pretty much) and then he’s Clark Kent, and for the most part, nobody ever notices that they look exactly alike? It’s the flimsiest of disguises, really. Well, that’s sort of the basis for Average Joe. It would be a not unpredictable, but enjoyable superhero genre spoof, with the requisite amount of rom-com thrown in. So! Premise: What if there was a guy who looked exactly like a superhero, but actually wasn’t the alter ego?
That guy is Joe. Joe is kind of your stereotypically nerdy computer programmer. His dream job is designing video games. He’s a comic book nerd, a sci-fi geek, the works. He’s also sort of unaccountably hunky, not that he knows it, and is a dead ringer for his city’s resident Superdude. (Ok, I haven’t come up with good names. Sue me.) Now, since Joe is such a total geek, there are very few people who have noticed this … pretty much only his two good friends, with whom he works a thankless job, programming software for a corporation that does … something boring. It’s not important. Those two friends are, of course, the cute-but-geeky girl-next-door type (who naturally has a thing for our hero) and the snarky sidekick best friend.
To further the romantic angles of the plot, Joe and Company’s boss is a corporate ice queen who knows nothing about computers, but with whom Joe is, of course, smitten. She treats him horribly, he never thinks of anything witty to say, and the audience knows that at the end of the movie, Corporate Ice Queen will have her come-uppance, and Joe and Cute Geek Girl will ride off into the sunset on a Segway. Like I said, we’re going for comedy spoof here, so I want the cliches working overtime.
We of course need a Superdude, and a villain. Superdude is a pretty straightforward hero – strong, brave, basically oblivious to the world around him … a little vain, perhaps. Our villain needs to be your standard evil genius megalomaniac out to rule the world. I want him to be kind of laughable, but with a very real streak of menace.
That should do it for our characters. With me so far? Good, ’cause now comes the fun part. Casting!!
Back when I thought of this movie, I had never even heard of my hero yet. I wished in vain for someone good-looking but kinda dorky who could pull off being both the geek and the hero. Lo and behold, even though I first “met” him a couple of years ago, it was only very recently that I realized he was really the perfect Joe.
He’s a handsome, handsome geek. He’s funny, charming, sweet, and he’s got “superhero”written all over him. He’s even already participated in a few genre spoofs, and so I just know that he’ll be perfect. Can’t you guess? C’mon … you’re not thinking…
Yep. Mr. Fillion it is. If you are familiar with his work, I don’t think I need much more of a pitch. This is his vehicle, make no mistake. I just didn’t know it 5 years ago when I first thought up this idea. How fortunate that he came along!
Moving on, we’ve got Cute-Geek-Girl, Snarky Best Friend, and Corporate Ice Queen. I’ve chosen (in order): Rachel McAdams, Geoffrey Arend, and Christina Applegate. I think all three have the needed comedy skills, and that they’ll all have the right kind of chemistry w/Fillion. Obviously, we have to geek McAdams up a bit, but I think she and Fillion will be great together. They’re so cute and Canadian! I really kind of wanted Alan Tudyk for Snarky Best Friend, but then I felt that was a little too obvious, and I thought of Arend in 500 Days of Summer. And well, I just love Christina Applegate, and I know that she can be bitchy and hilarious all at the same time.
And finally, our villain. Fillion will obviously play both Average Joe and Superdude. For my villain, I was very much thinking someone along the lines of Geoffrey Rush (who is a genius) in Mystery Men. Crazy, brilliant, a little funny, a little scary. I came to a decision about three or four weeks before the news hit that he will be playing the baddie in the Spiderman reboot, but I’m sticking with Rhys Ifans. I think he can pull it off. For some reason I had Paul Bettany stuck in my head, but I wasn’t sure he could really be what I wanted, and so Ifans seemed to me a natural progression into over-the-top territory. And I guess I’m not the only one who was thinking “supervillain,” so there you go.
Now that our cast is complete, I guess we need a plot. This is somewhat bare bones, as I am not a particularly funny person, and will rely on some good screen writers to plug in the comedy and spoofery. What do you mean, that’s not a word? Be quiet. I’m working, here.
Alright. As we know, Joe looks like Superdude, but Joe is a geek. He works in cubicle drudgery, has no life (probably plays WoW), is completely oblivious to his cute female friend, and falls all over himself anytime his boss makes an appearance. He is also a clutz; this will enable him to generally encounter some kind of difficulty that causes him to leave the room right as some kind of disaster is striking, so that his friends quickly put together the notion that he’s really running off to don his cape and tights to save the day. Perhaps they will try to drop a few hints that they “know,” and he will be clueless, etc. Meanwhile, Supervillain is concocting a plan to take over the city AND discredit Superdude all at the same time. This plan will involve capturing and abducting Superdude, and either making at least one robot clone of him, OR using mind control on him so as to make him into Evil Twin Superdude. Either one. Then, he can turn Evil Twin Superdude loose to destroy the city for him, and will step in at the last minute to “save” the day, thus bringing the city under his reign of terror.
All of this goes according to plan. Evil Twin Superdude wreaks havoc upon the city. His image starts to suffer. Joe’s friends are becoming concerned as well. Joe’s been hard at work on a video game he’s creating that he hopes to pitch to some bigwigs so that he can live his dream, and so he’s been kind of pre-occupied, etc., again supporting the idea that he really is Superdude’s alter ego. To make matters worse, Corporate Ice Queen has started paying him more attention, in part because she, too, has picked up on his likeness to Superdude, and in part to further some kind of career ambitions of her own. She wants to get him to create some kind of program that will somehow allow her to take over the company. (See, this is where real writers come in.) She’s working to bring him under her thumb and alienate him from his friends. The climax of this particular arc will occur when Geek-girl and SBF are out one night, having been blown off by Joe, and then are central in an attack by Evil Twin Superdude. They try to stop ETS, SBF gets hurt, and just like that, they are no longer on Joe’s side.
This is the kick in the pants that Joe needs to realize what’s been going on. Cue semi-dramatic scene in which SBF (in the hospital) refuses to see Joe and Geek-girl delivers the blow: “I saw you, Joe. I know it was you.” Or something to that effect. Now, Joe has a mission. Obviously, he’s the only one that can save the day. Joe has to find Supervillain’s hideout, at which point he has to go through a series of obstacles in order to succeed, save the real Superdude and the city, recover his friends, and be the hero. The catch here is that Supervillain discounts him, since he’s not a “worthy adversary,” and also that the series of obstacles he has to get through are things not based on him being “super” in any way, but are rather things which he can figure out based on his vast knowledge of all things geek. It’s basically like he’s playing a video game, and since that’s his thing, he’s obviously going to save the day.
In the end, everything turns out well and the villain is defeated. Corporate Ice Queen, realizing that Joe is NOT Superdude, dumps him, at which point he realizes what he’s been missing out on, and … becomes a bumbling idiot around Geek-girl instead. Yeah, I think it’ll be more fun to leave that part open-ended, so maybe at the very end, they’ll have arranged a tentative “date” for coffee. He will also have loads of new ideas for his video game, which he will successfully sell. Like I said, I’m not trying to blaze any new trails here … I just think that a really good superhero spoof would be fun.
So … do I have a future in Hollywood? Would you see my movie? Maybe at least at a matinee? Tell me what you think!