Screenwriter Michael Bacall Talks PROJECT X, 21 JUMP STREET, SCOTT PILGRIM, and the Les Grossman Movie

     March 1, 2012


Over the past two decades, Michael Bacall has acted in a number of projects that we all grew up with like Free Willy, Doogie Howser, M.D., The Wonder Years, Punky Brewster, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and so many more.  While he continues to act, he’s slowly gaining a reputation as something else: a very talented screenwriter.   As some of you might know, he co-wrote Edgar Wright‘s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and more recently he co-wrote Project X and 21 Jump Street.   Trust me, after you see both of these upcoming films, you’re going to want Bacall writing more comedies as they’re both extremely funny and well worth your time.

At the recent Los Angeles press day for Project X, I landed an exclusive interview with Bacall.   We talked about how he got involved in screenwriting, his first screenplay Manic, the great experience of working on Scott Pilgrim and the two different endings, how much of Project X was scripted versus improvised, how Todd Phillips always wants to push the envelope, and 21 Jump Street.  In addition, we also talked about his future projects like the Les Grossman movie.  Hit the jump to watch.

As usual, I’ve time indexed the interview so you can watch the parts that interest you.   For more on Project X, here’s a ton of images and four clips.

Michael Bacall

Michael Bacall

  • 0:20 – Writer Michael Bacall talks about what it’s like to have two hilariously funny movies (Project X, 21 Jump Street) come out in the same year.
  • 1:00 – Bacall answers whether people want to talk to him more about Doogie Howser, M.D., The Wonder Years or Free Willy.
  • 2:00 – Bacall’s past acting career has paved the way for his entry into screenwriting and he talks about why he wanted to start writing in the first place.
  • 3:45 – He talks about his first serious screenplay project which turned into Manic, starring Don Cheadle, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel.
  • 7:45 – Bacall reflects on the “overwhelmingly positive experience” of crafting Scott Pilgrim vs the World and being an early fan of Edgar Wright.
  • 11:10 – Scott Pilgrim originally had a different ending and Bacall talks about the original vs the theatrical versions.
  • 13:20 – Bacall talks about Project X’s script, how much of the dialogue made it on screen and how much was improvised.
  • 15:10 – Project X was originally a placeholder for a real title, but Bacall talks about how it stuck.
  • 15:55 – Bacall mentions the he unfortunately missed the shoot (ie massive house party) for Project X since he was busy working on 21 Jump Street.
  • 16:50 – Producer Todd Phillips doesn’t “pump the brakes” when he asks his creative team to push the envelope and Bacall talks about why he appreciated working with him.
  • 18:15 – Bacall talks about the fun of making 21 Jump Street and exceeding people’s initial expectations.
  • 20:25 – Bacall’s upcoming projects include a book adaptation he’s excited about, the Les Grossman/Tropic Thunder project and more.
  • 21:15 – Finally, Bacall comments on the status of the Les Grossman project.


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