When the creators of Super Meat Boy were approached by a Hollywood guy who said their game would make for a great movie, they thought they smelled a scam. Who knows what the script-shopper really had in mind, but being clowned for nearly an hour in a Skype conference (audio above) probably wasn't a goal.
Tommy Refenes and Edmund McMillen, aka Team Meat, apparently have no intention of seeing Super Meat Boy adapted into a film, much less paying someone to work up a treatment or a script for such a thing. Nor should they, frankly. But that's the proposal they were being sold when they were contacted via email, and then recorded this follow-up conversation about a potential Super Meat Boy: The Movie.
"Actually, he called it Super Meat Head," McMillen says in the opening.
You can almost sense the agent's exasperation as Refenes and McMillen wilfully play dumb and walk the project along ridiculous tangential paths, from asking if the script would be written by the person behind the 1980s horror/comedy schlock series Ghoulies (no, says the flack; and the supposed writer's name has been blanked from the audio) to proposing a huge plot twist in which the main character is actually Bandage Girl, the damsel Meat Boy rescues in their game.
The two are suspicious of the proposal because the guy they are talking seems to ask for money paid directly to him, not placed into an escrow account as the concept is developed and shopped around. But the duo plays dumb in order to waste his time, in one case derailing the conversation by quibbling about the hypothetical setting for the story.
McMillen says the screenplay would be better off setting the movie in a fictional Northern California town whose inhabitants are "kinda rednecky but they surf," and Refenes chimes in his agreement.
"OK, yeah, like that's doable," says the agent, plainly frustrated as McMillen and Refenes digress further into their starry-eyed concept of a Meat Boy movie, finally arriving at a Meat Boy/skateboarding mashup.
"If we hired you, we can basically kind of ... we can direct the writer to work the mashup," asks Refenes.
"Yeah if we pay for it can we work it in somehow?" chimes in McMillen.
"Yeah but, you need a story," says the Hollywood guy, completely serious, "you need a character and like -- "
"There's a kid from a troubled home, and he's growing up," interrupts McMillen. "And he's walking to the deli to get a cut of meat. And in the background, the girl -- she's on a skateboard, you remember the trailer? -- she flips. And as she's doing the flip, she takes off the hat. You think it's a boy -- but it's a girl."
"Maybe it's Bandage Girl," says Refenes, with mock surprise.
The guy they were talking to wanted $US4,000 to develop a treatment for Super Meat Boy ("A treatment's like, what, 97 pages?" asked Refenes.) If the treatment got favourable attention, he would then ask for $US12,000 to develop a script, with some kind of half-your-money back offer if things went further.
"You can make the whole movie with just 12 grand?" McMillen says incredulously, requiring yet another explanation of the service the guy is selling.
The call is about 50 minutes long, but you get the gist of it very early on. Midway through (around 26:20) Refenes unloads an absolutely dazzling stream of meaningless technical jargon. It gets more outlandish from there. At times, one almost feels the faintest pangs of sympathy for the Hollywood guy, because he really has no idea what he is up against.
[Video Uploaded by Edmund McMillen, via Eurogamer]