It's a story screaming for its own screenplay: Two struggling screenwriters in Los Angeles dupe Hollywood into thinking their script was written by a pair of celebrity comedy writers, thereby getting it into the hands of some of the town's top producers and agents.
That's exactly what happened last week when a script called The Kosher Nostra, supposedly written by Superbad and The Interview writing duo Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, began circulating around town. Creative executives and agents rushed to read the crass comedy about a struggling screenwriter who drives for Uber to pay the bills and ends up working as a getaway driver for the Jewish mafia.
But it turns out the script was a fake - it was not written by Rogen and Goldberg, and was not a Point Grey project. Kosher Nostra was actually written by Jonathan Witz, 25, and Jeremy Spektor, 29, two L.A.-based screenwriters who hoped that by putting the names of Rogen and Goldberg on their script, it would finally be read by the right people - including Rogen himself. "Like any young writer, we all have our heroes - Seth and Evan are those guys for us; they inspired us to write this script in the first place," says Spektor.
Witz and Spektor, who don't currently have representation, first wrote the script two years ago with ambitions for Rogen, Jonah Hill, James Franco and Aziz Ansari (the characters are all named after the actors who'd play them) starring. But even though plenty of assistants and CEs told them the script was good, they weren't able to get it to Rogen.
So they hatched a plan, putting a new title page on the script that claimed Rogen and Goldberg as the authors (with a story by credit for Hill for good measure) and sending it out to their favorite producers and studio execs under a fake email as a UTA agent named Danny Goldstein (with the UTA signature at the bottom of his emails). Among those who received it: Ted Sarandos, Megan Ellison, Scott Stuber, Mark Gordon and Will Ferrell.
Sources say that after Rogen's team was made aware of the script last week, his legal team sent a letter to "Danny Goldstein" demanding he stop circulating the script with Point Grey's name attached (Rogen and Goldberg had no comment when contacted by THR).
"We've all heard the myth about a young Spielberg slipping onto the Universal lot," Witz tells THR. "This was about getting our script past the 'gatekeepers' and into the right hands."
A version of this story first appeared in the March 29 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.