When I broke the story that Bill Hader was writing a slasher film to be produced by Judd Apatow, people rightfully got excited. And since then Bill has kept in touch and now I have some new minor but cool details about the film, which seems to be moving along at a nice pace.
The current title of the film is House of Joel, and Hader would play Joel himself. In this case Joel isn’t the slasher but the person possibly getting slashed (unless there’s a crazy twist. And you never know…). The screenplay, a draft of which Hader just handed over to the good people at Apatow, is being co-written with Simon Rich, a writer at Saturday Night Live.
When I say current title it’s because I’ve been told by Apatow Productions that they’re still playing with it; a previous title was When A Stranger Calls A Dude, which I absolutely love, but Bill explained why it wouldn’t work: the killer never calls Joel.
At Sundance Hader explained the basic premise: ‘It is definitely about guys nowadays, that idea that you watch fucked up shit on TV, how violence in our culture – this sounds really hoity toity – you watch fucked up reality shows, I love true crime shows. The idea of that thing coming to your house, and what do you do? I would shit my pants. That’s basically what the movie is about. What if that guy decided to come to your house? What would you and your dipshit friends do about it?’
House of Joel is set up at Universal, which is a long ways from Hader telling me at Sundance that he wasn’t sure if the movie would ever get made. While there’s no timeline for when production could begin should it get greenlit, Apatow Productions is serious about the movie. I for one can’t wait. Hader’s a real movie nerd – when I interviewed him for Forgetting Sarah Marshall we spent half our time talking about DVDs and the Criterion Collection – so I don’t doubt that the script is funny but also knowing of the genre. Forget Scream IV, I feel like Hader has the market cornered.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey