There’s some good news and some bad news when it comes to Dan Ewen’s spec script Dear Satan. The first bit of good news is that it’s an original idea that sounds funny. The second bit is that its originality has been rightly rewarded by one of the big studios, as 20th Century Fox just bought it with intentions of putting it into development. Variety broke the story, and says that the script was inspired by a child the screenwriter was babysitting making a crucial misspelling when addressing her yearly letter to Santa Claus. Ewen says of the experience, “There was this cute little card, covered in candy canes and glitter. I fell in love with the idea of this note mistakenly being delivered to the Prince of Darkness and the fiery wackiness that would ensue.” In his script said wackiness actually does ensue, as Satan receives the letter by mistake and ends up bringing the little girl a toy.
The bad news about this whole deal is that Fox is buying the script in order to make it into a directing vehicle for Peter and Bobby Farrelly; and it’s been a long time since There’s Something About Mary. The last movie they made was The Three Stooges, which was universally reviled, and before that they made Hall Pass, which took a bunch of talented comedic actors and gave them nothing to do. As you go further back into their filmography things get even bleaker than that, until you get all the way to the mid-nineties, when these guys were making movies that everyone loved. What happened to the guys who dressed Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in bright orange and powder blue tuxedos? Where are the filmmakers who gave Bill Murray the greatest combover in movie history?
Fans of the Farrellys have been waiting a long time now for them to make another movie that lives up to the promise of their early efforts. It sounds like Dear Satan is starting in a good place—with a strong premise ripe with potential for generating dark comedy. Should we be happy that original ideas are still getting sold in Hollywood and give this one a chance, or has it finally come time that we just write off anything the Farrellys get their hands on as a lost cause and move on?