Screenwriter Mark Perez talks Game Night, Dwayne Johnson, and the Current State of Television

We Live Entertainment has been celebrating the release of Warner Brothers/New Line Cinema’s Game Night  all week long. The film is now playing nationwide.

On Monday, Kit Bowen posted her interview with the film’s directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein.

The full interview can be read or watched: Game Night Interview: Directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein

On Tuesday, Fred Topel and Kit Bowen shared their views on the film.

Fred Topel’s review: Game Night Movie Review: They Got Game

Kit Bowen’s review: Everyone’s All-In for ‘Game Night’

On Wednesday,  Kit posted her interview with stars Kylie Bunbury and Lamorne Morris

Game Night Interview with Kylie Bunbury and Lamorne Morris

I have done my fair share of interviews and what makes an interview truly memorable is not who the interview is with but rather how much fun the conversation is. Last week, I had the opportunity to talk with Game Night screenwriter Mark Perez and we just had a terrific time and it was easily one of my favorite interviews to date. We spoke for about 40 minutes and could have easily talked more. This is most of our conversation. I will warn you that this is a long interview but definitely one that is entertaining and fun. Mark and I talk about everything  from Game Night to his book How to Win at Life by Cheating at Everything to Adam Sandler’s dying career.

Mark: Hey Scott.

Scott: Hey Mark, how are you?

Mark: Great buddy, how are you doing?

Scott: Not too bad,  I wanted to first say congratulations on the film.

Mark: Thank you.

Scott: Warner Brothers sent me a screening of this way back, I think it was the end of November. So apparently the movie has changed since I saw it.

Mark: Uh huh, yeah they did a re-shoot.

Scott: I have a few questions about the film and then I’m open to talk to you about anything else you want to talk about, including your book.

Mark: Okay sounds good.

Scott: So, as I said I saw the movie in November, and from what I gather, hearing from friends there were a few changes, and certain jokes were switched around. As a writer, how do you feel about having several different cuts of the film, and is there anything that’s in the final version that you wish you had in previous versions or vice versa?

Mark: First,  I’ll say if you had interviewed me when I was 24 I’d have been like “I use everything that I write, it’s so precious to me and this needs to stay in the movie, and this has to be this way.” Now, I’m like whatever way to do it that makes the movie better. At the end of the day, the product’s better, so I’m psyched. So the answer is, I’ve seen the movie get better, and maybe it was a joke that the directors came up with or maybe it’s a joke that was improvised. As long as the movie is better, I’m psyched and I think that’s what happened in this. So I never really have any regret about ‘I wish that had stayed in there.’ I think it’s just healthier for a writer because you usually get a lot of stuff cut out.

Somebody told me once that writing is re-writing, and I think that goes all the way through to the time that they screen the movie for the world.

Scott: It’s pretty crazy, I actually interviewed Will Gluck about two weeks ago for Peter Rabbit and he was telling me that I saw the final cut on that Wednesday or Thursday after I met with him. He was saying that the previous weekend he’d just finished the film. The studio put in a scene they had to put in because the one that was originally in it didn’t test well so that they had to take one out and put a new one in. It’s just amazing how much studios do nowadays to edit something and how last minute it can be.

Mark: It’s so crazy, it’s a science project. Look, I’ve been a part of movies that tested not as great as this one, like this one tested in the 90’s from the jump. So it was like they were never really going “Oh shit, there’s a big giant hole here, we have to fix it.” It was like, how do we get it to a 96? There was a couple of jokes that didn’t work and they went and re-shot a day or two in Atlanta and it’s just better and the numbers went up and so I’m appreciative when my name is on it. I’m always psyched, it’s so collaborative, this whole process but I’m psyched when a bunch of people get together and make something better.

Scott: I think that’s awesome. The only thing that I know was officially cut from the film, and I’m going to mention it because I actually did not like it in the cut of the film I saw, and I’m glad they cut it, was the Glenn Close joke.

Mark: Yeah, that was the problem. That was the big problem, that was the one thing that people really didn’t dig, so they came up with a whole new idea, he does an impersonation of Denzel and so they added this whole scene of her meeting Denzel and they do a flashback, they added to a joke that ended up being really funny. I think it’s funny you noticed that.

Scott: It was weird because I did see it a while back and I’m one of the critics who doesn’t like being harsh on movies but I really analyze them and take a lot of notes. One of the things that really stuck out to me was that joke, it was kind of like “that did not work at all for all and it was built up throughout most of the movie.

Mark: Right, yup. Look to the director’s credit and then to the studio’s credit, like I said they had a high scoring movie so they could have said: “Forget it.” But they tried to make it better and they did. They added four or five more scenes to make that joke play, now and it’s funnier, it really works in my opinion.

Scott: That’s great. Here’s another question, something that I hear a lot of journalists always say, and I have to ask you because it’s something that I’ve been wanting to ask writers. Whenever I see a comedy film, either in a TV room, press conference, or in a roundtable, one of the questions that I always hear someone ask is “how much of the film was improv?” And my question to you is, does that bother you at all as a writer who has worked so hard on writing a film and everyone just automatically assumes ‘hey this is a comedy, so it was probably improv?’

Mark: Well that’s the funny thing about being a writer and that what people don’t know when they’re not in the business it that the least writing is kind of the dialogue. By that I mean constructing, first you’ve got to come up with the hook, and then you’ve got to construct the characters and their relationships, and then set up the scenes and do all that stuff. The last, and listen to me, great dialogue is what we remember from movies but it’s almost the least important thing in a lot of ways when constructing a script. If you told me “hey would you rather spend two days writing dialogue for a movie or constructing a whole movie?’ It’s dialogue because it’s easier and the better thing to do.

So when you ask me that, I go; if I create a character for Jason Bateman and he’s a put-upon guy, and he feels less than his brother and he’s struggling with who he is and his identity, whatever words that come out of the mouth of that character, if they’re different than the ones I originally wrote, to me they’re my words. Does that make sense? Because I had to create that guy, so then you get Jason Bateman who is a genius, and you come in and then he comes up with 8 different ways to do it. A line that’s better, it doesn’t bother me at all, I’m always psyched! I go ‘Yeah, he came up with that.’ I don’t know if that’s me being gracious or dumb, but I always feel to construct it to a place where you put an actor that he knows how to improvise because he knows the character so well, that’s real writing.

Scott: That was a fantastic answer. You write the heart and soul of it, and then you pass it along to an actor and you say “here, do your magic.”

Mark: Of course, or you try that line. If it’s the Coen Brothers I’m sure they say do every word exactly the way we write it, but you know there’s like four of those people on planet Earth so I think you write the line, you think it’s the funniest. It makes sense to the character, and then suddenly look, you’re on this different planet, where they’re on the set and people are reacting, and maybe there’s a better line. A gaffer comes up with a line, or the directors want to say it this way, whatever happens. I think as long as you’re secure with the character and he knows why he’s saying it, it’s your dialogue.

Scott: Right. Each of the characters has their own unique personality, which I think you did an incredible job writing because I think everyone really stood out. How did you know which character should have what personality?

Mark: Oh man, I always say this in writing. I go: I’ve written every type of buddy character. I started the Disney program in my 20’s so I’ve been writing like the fat buddies, lazy buddies, the buddy who loves girls, the buddy who’s afraid of something…you know what I’m saying? I’ve done every single character that’s not the main character because if you’ve written 35 scripts, whatever it is, it’s like you try every version. So I pitched this idea to Bateman and he liked it and instead of us going to sell it right away we spent 6 months to a year developing it. Then you get to feel around what would be a good friend, would it be this kind of person? Could it be this kind of person? And you fiddle around with it and then the directors come on and then they cast people and then it gets changed again because of who you cast.

It’s this big melting pot of creativity and changes that you try to match up, you think these would be the right characters and then along the way things get changed because the dynamic of those guys being friends is the key to the movie.

Scott: I think the characters and the actors who portrayed them were just all well crafted and had their moment to shine and that’s something that doesn’t always happen especially in comedies because there’s always that one character who always steals the show…

Mark: Right, of course. The math of that, to have all those characters and to give them time you know. You’re writing a script and I always say a script is like a math problem. You’ve got this much time here, you’ve got to subtract here, you have to add here so to try and find spots for everybody to have a moment is tough, so when it happens you’re just happy.

Scott: Going off what you were saying about Jason, so I guess you approached him first with the film? Did you have these other actors in mind or was it something that everyone auditioned and they just fell right into place?

Mark: The producer John Fox called me, he goes “I have a title: Game Night.” I was like “Ooh, that’s a good title, everybody plays a game night, it could be something. I was looking on the internet and I saw these people do these really elaborate murder mysteries and I went ‘Oh, I get it, what if something really does happen and they think it’s a game.’ So we developed it into a pitch, that took me 6 months and then you go to Bateman and you spend 6 months with him and we sell it to New Line. After that New Line starts picking people to play the other parts. Really the only main guy I had in mind when I was writing it was Jason, but then again, when they tell me they have Rachel McAdams you’re like ‘Oh my god’ and you have all these characters and these actors that are awesome, you’re psyched because from my point of view in writing, I have to make sure the Bateman character is dope so that he wants to not only produce the movie but star in it.

Scott: In terms of the character of Gary, Jesse’s performance was just hilarious. This is kind of going back to that other question, was that written? Or was that something he dug into a deep dark place and pulled out of him?

Mark: I think that was him. I’m always a fan of the ‘who gets the friends in a break up’. I always was a fan of it because it’s so weird. I wrote a movie a few years back called Dude Bores and it was with the Rock and McConaughey and it never got made but the premise was what happens when two regular straight guys break up. Who gets the basketball teams? Who gets the party? I was always fascinated with that idea so I’m like what if you lived on a Cul De Sac and you had a dude who just invited because you liked the wife, and then the wife leaves him. What do you do next? In my earlier versions,  Gary was goofier, eh was more pathetic, like ‘Oh, what are you guys doing? Having a game night?’ To the directors and the actors credit they turned it a little bit and made him more sinister which makes it more original in a weird way and I think it’s more courageous of a part. Because you can see how you’d play that part like Bill Murray and goofy, right? That’s the way how I initially wrote it.

Then you get some cool character actor like Jesse Plemmons and he takes it there, and then the fact that he’s attached to the plot in a kind of sinister way, being a cop and all that stuff. It made it less goofy and I think that it was a brave and smart choice by him and the directors.

Scott: You talk a lot about John and Jonathan, are you pleased with the way that they brought this script to life? And here’s even a better question, since they have written and directed films in the past, what was that process like working with them because is it different from someone who just normally directs as opposed to people who have written and directed?

Mark: Again when I was younger I would have probably been more worried or intimidated that maybe they were going to change too much stuff or all those fears. But when they got hired and they greenlit the movie those guys, their credits speak for themselves. I love Horrible Bosses so I thought oh my god, I’m going to have these funny dudes that are going to maybe add to the script, and make funny changes, and I love Vacation the remake and then when I finally saw the movie and I saw that they tried to do something different, and by that I mean they tried, it’s not Get Out but I think you know what I mean in the reference. Like when you’re watching the movie and it’s like this is a comedy but people are acting scared and then Jesse Plemmons is really weird and they made those changes, they made those decisions, those choices which I think were again really brave.

I was psyched that they were writers because they know how hard it is to write a script and to change characters and if they do that to make sure that it was true to the original script and then beyond that the fact that they’re really good directors that made bold choices.

Scott: Going back to something you earlier said, that movie with Dwayne Johnson that you were talking about, I can’t believe they didn’t make that.

Mark: I’ll tell you what, it was the weirdest experience. This was 2010 so he’s the Rock still I think, I don’t think he was officially Dwayne yet, and he had just done the Tooth Fairy that didn’t work, it was a weird time for him and comedy. I pitched him, he signed on and then I went to McConaughey, and I had to pitch him in those little silver trailers they have from like the 50’s. Those little airstreams.

I went to his mansion and he goes “why don’t you come on out and pitch me here?” And I had to pitch him in the gulfstreams kitchen so we were like 2 inches from each other and I’m pitching the idea. It was really weird, they both signed on, Jason Blum, he bought it out of his own money, and we were going to do it. I forget what happened. I think the Rock decided he wanted to be an action star which in hindsight was a good decision, but I always regretted that one never went forward.

Scott: You should go back and re-pitch it.

Mark: I should.

Scott: Have you seen how many movies that man has coming out in the next 2 years?

Mark: It’s obscene isn’t it?

Scott: It’s ridiculous, and maybe instead of McConaughey go to Kevin Hart and ask him to do it and then no problem because obviously the two of them together is a winning combination.

Mark: You’re right, and by the way if it happens I’m going to give you credit.

Scott: Okay, I’ll take it. My name is Scott Menzel from We Live Entertainment and please include that in the trailer and the final credits for the film.

Mark: Perfect.

Scott: You’re really an awesome guy to talk to, I’ve been enjoying this conversation so I kind of want to shy a little bit away from Game Night for a little and I wanted to ask you about your career which started pretty much in television, and you were talking about the Disney thing that you had. Can you talk just a little bit more about that? How you started off with Disney and then you got into television, and you now have written a couple different types of movies. By the way, I’m probably one of the only people who own your film,  Frank McKlusky, C.I. 

Mark: Do you like weed? Do you enjoy smoking weed and watching it? It’s a weird one.

Scott: Not at the time. We actually just tried weed the other day for the first time.

Mark: It’s legal, it’s legal.

Scott: But yeah, I remember that movie, because I remember that guy from Bubble Boy

Mark: Dave Sheridan. This will get you to the start of how it all started for me, he was for a minute the hottest guy in film, he was the next guy. So I actually started in movies and I was in my late 20’s and I was putting away, I’d made a short film that got me a manager, and I was putting in files at a bank and this manager was sending my scripts out, and I wrote a script called Signed Stevie and it was an absurdist script about a 30 year old who runs away from home and like his parents put his picture on milk cartons but he’s 30. It was weird but Disney signed me to a one year deal to write Disney movies for them. So I was there for a year. I went from making zero money to getting paid a hundred and fifty grand a year which I couldn’t even fathom it and the last week of my contract they said you need to write, we’re going to start doing ride movies.

I was like oh, no really? Yeah, you’re going to write the Country Bears. Shit, I have one week to do it, and so I wrote it in a few days, this is no lie, I wrote it in a few days, I turned it in and it got greenlit over the weekend. I was like making movies is simple! So then I became the hot guy at Disney, I was getting movies made and that’s when they had just made Bubble Boy and they thought Jim Sheridan was going to be the next Jim Carrey. So we went and sold Frank McKlusky Claims Investigator to Disney, so I had two movies that Disney greenlit at the same time and I remember a buddy of mine, I always gave him shit for it, “you’ll never, ever have to work again. Two movies greenlit at Disney.” One movie was the Country Bears that I think made like 25 million and Frank McKlusky that they only released it in 5 theaters in Florida and it’s funny cause I’m from Florida so my family did a screening and they thought I had bought out the whole theater but really just nobody showed up it was just me and my family watching Frank McKlusky.

It was a bit of a rough patch but that was the beginning of my movie career and how it all started for me in the late 90’s, early 2000’s.

Scott: It’s funny because I do remember the Country Bears and I’ll be honest not very fondly.

Mark: Let me tell you something, the Country Bears I will say this. I wrote it pissed, kind of like an asshole and by that I mean I wrote it with some edge, and weird, and different, and I don’t want to blame the filmmakers but I’m going to when Disney got ahold of it, and the directors, they were afraid, the reason it got so much heat and got me so many jobs is because you read it and think ‘I can’t believe they’re going to do this’. It got greenlit and of course they changed the movie to make it more kid friendly and that’s where it kind of took a left.

Scott: Yeah, it’s funny I’ve actually seen all your movies except for Mack 9.

Mark: You know why you wouldn’t have seen that? I directed a pilot for Spike. Remember Spike TV?

Scott: Yes, It came and went very quickly.

Mark: It came and went but I directed this pilot for Spike.

Scott: You also wrote Herbie: Fully Loaded, I mean it’s been a long time but I remember that being pretty good for what it was. Plus you got to work with Lindsay before she went crazy right?

Mark: That’s right, I remember going to the premiere and her rushing out of the theater in the middle of the premiere, I went to the bathroom, and I came in and she ran out of the theater with her mom because she had found out they didn’t play her single in the movie so she left the premiere. I think that was the beginning for her.

Scott: She lost it. It was that thing that pushed her over the edge.

Mark: You know what, Michael Keaton’s in that movie of all people.

Scott: I love Michael Keaton.

Mark: He’s the best!

Scott: He’s so freaking awesome.

Mark: So awesome.

Scott: It seems like you started off in television and didn’t do much. Why did you not go back? Are you considering going back with how hot TV is right now?

Mark: My original start was with the Disney writers program which was the first time they’d ever hired feature writers. Like it was the old 40’s studio system where they’d hire writers so that was my initial beginning and then from there I’ve dabbled in TV like I’ve sold some TV stuff, sold a million pilots, and like I said I directed that pilot for Spike that didn’t go so I’ve done a bunch but I think now especially comedy, I got to tell you to get a comedy made in this environment is one in a million, it’s different than it was 15 years ago, it’s really, really hard. Has TV ever been better? I don’t think so.

Now, I’m realizing that I love movies, I love being home alone and writing by myself with nobody bothering me but I feel like TV is the next place or how people receive movies and TV is not going to be at the movies. There will always be movies but I feel like I’m going to kind of lean into television a little bit just because there are so many places, channels, and so many opportunities so I think it would be silly not to try and capitalize on that.

Scott: Oh yeah, you should try to get it in. I would honestly try to go with Netflix or Amazon for sure.

Mark: Yeah and by the way I just heard that everybody is going to be doing their own now. Like Warner Brothers is going to have a streaming and everybody is going to have their own streaming it just feels like that’s the next wave.

Scott: The problem with that though is their putting the nail in their own coffin.

Mark: Why?

Scott: I just feel like the only thing that’s going to sell people into going to the theater are the tent pole movies.

Mark: Right.

Scott: Because there is something special about going to a movie like Black Panther. If you haven’t seen it, it’s fantastic. Going there, seeing it on the big screen, it’s great. I go to a lot of the festivals and when watching a movie like Private Life and Sorry To Bother You,  I think about how I could watch those movies at home, and that’s the mentality that people are starting to have now. It’s that we’ll go out to see Fast and Furious because we need the loud sound effects and the group experience but so many other films aren’t finding audiences. It’s sad because I love going to the movies and I go see every type of movie there but I know that they’re struggling.

Mark: Yeah, they’re struggling. I feel the same way, it’s a bummer. When I was a kid there was a comedy every weekend that I would go to; Can’t Buy Me LoveHiding Out with John Crown and all these great kind of weird little comedies that were always out, that as a teenager I loved. Now it’s like you get a comedy every 3 months maybe.

Scott: Yes I miss that too. It’s funny because you’re talking about comedies when I was growing up we’re talking John Hughes movies, we’re talking John Candy. I even loved when Chris Farley and David Spade worked together. Those movies were all about the chemistry and natural character development where you just love the character, there’s not much of that anymore. Everything is like a gag all the time…

Mark: There’s no Planes, Trains, and Automobiles with John Candy and Steve Martin talking in the room. You’re absolutely right. And by the way there’s no characters like that. I’ve made most of my living in the 2000’s going in and pitching one liners with an actor attached because they were bankable. You go in and go ‘I have a Martin Lawrence idea’ and it’d be good and maybe they’d buy it. Or even Jamie Kennedy for a second was the man, and I’d go and pitch it, whoever the guy was  Ben Stiller, those guys in comedy don’t exist.

Scott: What happened?

Mark: I have no idea I remember I had and I won’t say who but I had a big comedy star attached. Like a hero of mine, and by the way it’s not easy to get these guys attached, it’s hard. I was like oh this is great, what are we doing and my agent was like okay well this studio refuses to hear it, this studio refuses to hear it, they wouldn’t do it. Because they don’t care. It’s like they don’t even have time to hear it because they know they’re not going to buy it.

Scott: The funny thing is this formula, the one they’re doing now is starting to fizzle. It’s not working as much anymore, I don’t know why they haven’t noticed it. Adam Sandler saw that happen with him, he basically went from playing the same exact character in every single movie and like everyone was like I’m tired of this shit, I don’t want to see this anymore and I hate this guy now, he sucks. But if you go back and watch his movies from the start they’re not any better. People just got tired of seeing that, and the same with Will Ferrell now. It seems like he’s the same guy, he’s going to scream all the time, he’s going to do something weird like rub his butt against the window.

Mark: Right, It’s hard to be a comedy guy. Like Jim Carrey when he first came out, you were like ‘This guy is a genius’ it was like Dumb and Dumber when I’d just moved out to L.A. I’m like this is what I want to do, it’s like it’s genius. To keep on reinventing the way you’re funny I think it’s really complicated and I think people don’t give it credit. It’s hard because you’re right, people go ‘Oh he’s doing that same guy’ well that’s the guy you liked three movies ago you know what I mean…

Scott: But that’s the difference there are certain actors that can break through it. You know who really broke through it? Steve Carrell who can do everything and anything.

Mark: Right, well he’s being a real actor, you know what I’m saying? He stopped, what’s the movie he did with Ryan Gosling where it’s a comedy.

Scott: Oh Crazy Stupid Love.

Mark: Yeah that was the move for him where it was like he’s being funny but not really and those kind of quirky movies like you just said. They should make more of those. But those are hard, how do you fill that idea?

Scott: Because it’s character pieces, it’s all about the characters. They’re built around characters as opposed to sight gags or gross-out humor and I miss that.

Mark: Yeah it’s hard.

Scott: I haven’t got a chance to read it yet, but I got your book yesterday. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Mark:  How To Win At Life?

Scott: Yeah. I love the images in the book and I read some little tidbit and it sounds like fun.

Mark: It’s really good. By the way, it’s the kind of book that you almost don’t have to pay attention to. You can pick up chapter 9 and read it and there’s some funny stuff and the artist is really talented, the guy’s won Emmy’s and stuff so it’s a cool little book. Dark Horse Entertainment, do you know them? They’re a comic book company but they also make movies and the producer over there called me and he goes is the new thing now is to kind of reverse engineer IP, so they’ll come to you and go ‘I want to do a con man show, would you be interested in writing a book?’ Until I find out they pay you like two grand and writing a book is a pain in the ass. And I’m like why am I writing a book? But at the end of it you look down and go like ‘Wow I wrote a book’ like it was a really rewarding experience and the basic idea was what if a kid is raised by his dad who is a complete con man and he is taught no morals, no ethics, nothing, and now he wants to raise a family but he doesn’t have any of the skills.

So it’s like reverse father knows best so we’re out now. It teaches you how to fake getting into the Ivy league, how to fake being a doctor, it’s all about scamming people and it’s kind of loosely based on my dad. My dad was a Cuban immigrant. So if we weren’t cheating we weren’t trying. That’s how he raised us, I always tell this story, I think I was like 5, back in the day when they would charge you for kids on a plane. He would put me in a stroller and put a pacifier in my mouth even though I was way too big and just say I was big boned, so he’d get me on the flight. So he was a grifter like that. It was easy for me to write the book because I had the kind of motivation behind it. So the book is out now and we’re selling it as a TV show, we just got a big, I’m not going to say who because I want to make sure it stays locked but a really big TV producer attached and we’re going to go out and sell it.

The premise would be like what if Ozark was a comedy?

Scott: Ahhh.

Mark: It’s the dad and the kids, they’re grifting in this small town. It’s funny. So that’s kind of the idea.

Scott: That sounds good. By the way I know why that reminded me of this but have you watched The Detour by chance?

Mark: The Detour? No, what is it a TV show?

Scott: Yeah on TBS. It’s with Jason Jones and Natalie Zea

Mark: No, is it good?

Scott: You should watch it. I think you’ll appreciate it because it’s a dysfunctional family comedy, it does have some gross out gags and stuff like that but it’s all about the characters and it reminds me a lot of the original Vacation movies…

Mark: Which are awesome.

Scott: So, I think you’d enjoy it. I don’t want to spoil too much of the show but there’s all this mystery to the characters. You meet this family, they’re just a regular family and the guy loses his job and then as they’re driving to go get his job back but you find out little things about the family along the way and how they’re not what they seem and everyone has a secret backstory.

Mark: Like a comedic Bloodline. Yes, exactly.

Scott: You should definitely check it out, it’s really funny. It just kind of reminded me of your book, because they manipulate everything and get by lying.

Mark: It sounds cool. That’s the other thing about TV comedy. What happened to that? There’s no real TV comedies that’s why I pitched it so the opening scene is the dad and the son pulling a body and throwing it in some dirt or something. It’s something absurd but to get people to pay attention. I think people are tired of the multi-camera same kind of show.

Scott: I watch a lot of obscure comedy shows and I’m kind of surprised the Good Place is taking off because I really like that. I think it’s well written.

Mark: I’ve never watched it is it good?

Scott: I love it. The other show that I love is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend which every season is on the brink of cancellation.

Mark: Those are usually the best ones.

Scott: Yeah because it’s a musical comedy.

Mark: Oh wow, that’s cool.

Scott: I watch a lot of wacky stuff. Like a lot of people are like ‘Do you watch Game of Thrones?’ No, I’m going to watch a show that’s going to get canceled in like 5 episodes.

Mark: That’s cool.

Scott: Somehow all these shows have made it like three seasons so far.  The Detour is in its third season and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend just finished.

Mark: That’s going back to what we talked about, there’s an opportunity on TV because there’s so many channels and so many places and they need so much content that these shows can survive longer than they could have if it was 1998. A show like that would get whacked after one episode. It’s not like that anymore, I think you’re right it’s time to take advantage of TV and I think TV is the way of the future.

Scott: I totally agree. Is there something that you have cooking right now, like I don’t care if it’s TV or movie is there something that you really want to do besides now turning your book into a TV show?

Mark: There are 2 things I just finished. After I finished the book I realized I like writing. I was thinking about my dad and writing it, and he’s Cuban so we were broke but he would move us. Whenever we moved, like we moved to Houston and Chicago and Fort Lauderdale and Connecticut he would always move us to the best neighborhood and we’d rent the shittiest house so me and my sister could go to the best school district. My grandparents moved in they were Cuban, and it would always be really hard. My dad would always say: “Cubans are the Jews of the Caribbean, we can make it anywhere.” That’s what he said to us so that’s the name of the novel. It’s like the Goldbergs. You know the Goldbergs? But Cuban. So that’s the novel, it’s a memoir.

Scott: Pitch it to ABC they’ll do it. They have a whole series of shows based on different families like Blackish, Fresh off the Boat, and The Goldbergs.

Mark: I’m trying to take the Hispanic thing. And then I just wrote a script called Low T and Mel Gibson is attached to it and we’re trying to get 2 more action stars and basically the premise is Cocoon for action stars. So what if beat up action stars got this stuff that they think is low t medication that’s actually makes them themselves in the 80’s again? So then imagine that they get these powers, and they’re themselves again but then it’s starts to wear off. I’m really excited about that one, people seem psyched we’re putting that movie together right now.

Scott: Yeah that sounds awesome, I think that’s going to be good. You just have to make sure the other two actors are notable as well.

Mark: Of course, but dude you’d be surprised there’s a bunch of those guys like The Expendables.

Scott: Bruce Willis? I heard Bruce Willis is a bad guy to work with so I don’t know about him.

Mark: I heard that too. But if he wanted to do it I’d be psyched.

Scott: Maybe Arnold?

Mark: Yeah

Scott: Stallone still sells movies, so maybe go ask him.

Mark: Well there’s also a market for the older guy. Like the older guy movie and the premise of them finding their youth and then you getting to see Riggs again. With his hair and his face, do some cool shit, I think people would get turned on to it.

Scott: Oh I think so, I think that’s a great idea. I would love to if you’re ever in town I would love to meet up and go to lunch, you are a fuckin’ blast to talk to.

Mark: Ah dude of course! Yeah.

Scott: I would love to pick your brain more.

Mark: This is a pleasure. I’ve done a bunch of these and you’re easily my favorite.

Scott: Thank you that was really nice of you. Well I appreciate you talking to me for so long.  It was a real pleasure.

Game Night is now playing in theaters nationwide.

Also, be sure to check out Mark Perez’s book How to Win at Life by Cheating at Everything 

Written by
Born in New Jersey, Scott Menzel has been watching film and television since he was three years old. Growing up, he watched as many movies as he could and was highly influenced by the films of Tim Burton, John Hughes, Robert Zemeckis, and Steven Spielberg. Scott has an Associate's Degree in Marketing, a Bachelor's in Mass Media, Communications, and a Master's in Electronic Media. He has been writing film reviews under the alias of MovieManMenzel since 2003 and started his writing career as a contributing critic at and In 2009, Scott launched where he posted several of his film reviews but in 2011 decided to shut down the site when he launched We Live In 2015, We Live Film became We Live Entertainment. The domain name change occurred after months of debate but was done so that he and his fellow staff members could write about anything and everything in the world of entertainment.

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