Exclusive: Todd Phillips Talks PROJECT X

     April 20, 2010


For the last week we’ve been reporting on director Todd Phillip’s (The Hangover, Old School) mysterious Project X movie.  What we knew already was Phillip’s was “godfathering” the $12 million dollar project at Warner Bros.  He is producing the film with Joel Silver and Nima Nourizadeh making his feature debut after a career directing commercials and music videos.  The film reportedly centers on an “outrageous high concept”. Since that time, the concept has been rumored to be “a party movie.”

But the big news about the project was how they want to cast the film.  Unlike most movies that cast actors with resume’s and agents, for Project X,  Phillips and WB want to open it up to people that normally never have a chance to get in a movie.  To do this, they launched ProjectXOpenCall with the goal of finding  “unknown actors/real people of all ethnicities,” and who “Must be legal 18 & able to play 18 years old, U.S. residents only.”  If you submit, you need to tell your most embarrassing story, your craziest party story, if you wanted to impress someone at a club show us how you would dance, and the one thing you do that makes your friends laugh.

Since news of the project hit the net, many rumors have been circulating about Project X.  Rather than post them here, I decided to try and get Todd Phillips on the phone to try and give me some updates.  While he wouldn’t talk about all the online rumors, I did find out a lot.  Hit the jump for more:

Todd_Phillips_image (2).jpgBefore going any further, one of the reasons I got to speak with Phillips today is FirstShowing’s article on the project.  They had some new info today:

At the time of our initial report, I jested about the secrecy surrounding this being similar to the shrouded development of Cloverfield, but it turns out that reference may be more accurate than we initially thought. The film is described as a party movie, but unlike films like Can’t Hardly Wait and other such one-night-of-chaos films before it, this will be shot in cinema-vérité style, where the audience will experience the party only through the first-person observer view of the camera, so essentially, we will be at the party too. Much like the Hud character in Cloverfield, the role of the observer through which we experience the party will be voice-over only. And to seal the deal on this party-going experience, the entire film will be presented in 3D (there’s a chance it could be shot in 3D, but with a $15 million budget, I don’t think that’s the case).  The project is high concept in using cinema-vérité simply for a raunchy comedy, but the core of the “story” isn’t anything more than a standard party movie. We’ve been told there is a script as well, so it won’t be all mumblecore style improv. What should make it more realistic, intimate and genuine is their desire to use only unknown actors for the film combined with this shooting style.

When Phillips and I first started talking, the first thing he wanted to address were the voice over and 3D rumors.  He said it’s not going to be in 3D and the voice over is absolutely not true.  He also told me calling Project X a “party movie” is like calling The Hangover a “bachelor party film.”  He said rather what they are hoping with the film is “a new and interesting approach” to storytelling with this genre of film.

He then wanted to address the rumors that the website they set up for casting the movie was some sort of hoax or that it’s some sort of set up. He 100% denied that.

Todd_Phillips_image (4).jpg

Instead simply stating that they are just trying to find some new faces and thought that might be an interesting way to find some people who otherwise may not have had a chance to ‘audition’ for a film. He then told me in addition to the website they are also using traditional methods of casting.  Meaning, if you have an agent and a resume, you can still get cast.  But the hope is to find a lot of new faces.

After some time talking about casting, he told me the goal is to try and film the movie this July/August but it’s “contingent on getting an interesting cast together.”  He said if they can’t get a cast they’re happy with, they’ll put the movie on hold until they do.

Finally, we started talking about the title Project X and how everything about the project is mysterious.  He told me the movie was never meant to be a “top secret” film. The fact is, they currently don’t have a title and they threw Project X on as a title page on the scripts just for inside the office.  Someone assumed it was a big top secret thing and word started to spread.

As far as not sending out scripts to people, he said he tries to never send out scripts because if you do you’ll often see some of your jokes on TV 8 months before your movie comes out.

We talked for awhile, and the vibe I got was they’re trying to put together a cool little comedy with new actors and maybe a new way of telling the story.  If they can cast it and everyone’s happy, it’s getting shot this summer and Warner Bros. will release it sometime next year.


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