The Hangover Part II may not be the best night out that anyone had this year, but those cheeky rascals are still responsible for the renaissance that the R-rated comedy (Bridesmaids, No Strings Attached, Bad Teacher, Your Highness etc etc) is currently enjoying. And in a flurry of excitement, Paramount have just backed another one, in the form of spec script Bastards, by Justin Malen.
It's about two brothers who were raised to believe their father was dead, but find out that... he isn't. Learning that their mother got around a bit in the 70s and that any number of candidates are potentially the paterfamilias, the brothers go on a road trip to find out who's the right one.
Spec scripts aren't the big business they once were in the 80s and 90s, when the likes of Shane Black and Joe Esterhasz were raking in millions for original screenplays. The market has shifted in favour of developing recognisable pre-existing properties, but occasionally something unforseen still gets to sneak through. The Blacklist exists to help that process, but Bastards didn't even have time to get that far: it was snapped up by Paramount for six figures, a mere 24 hours after Malen's people started shopping it around.
Hope for budding screenwriters who don't want to write about toys or superheroes then, although it obviously helps if you can tap into a zeitgeist. Malen also wrote Prick, Time Out and Trophy Husbands, all of which are at various stages of development.