EXCLUSIVE: Their headline alerts show up in showbiz emails with regularity if not always hilarity. And recently the Hollywood & Swine blog embarrassed Variety when a content syndication deal resulted in legitimate media outlets confusing a satirical story with real news. (No, Sharon Stone wasn’t the prime suspect of French cops in that recent $1.4M Cannes jewel heist “after an IMDb search made her attendance at the film festival extremely suspicious”.) The humilitainment website jabs and keeps tabs on Tinseltown’s more moronic aspects but the TV and movie scripters behind it never get identified or punished. It’s a delicate and dangerous tightrope that the vast majority of WGA writers are too afraid to try — yet Andy Marx and Will McArdle have been walking it since January 2012. But this summer will mark if the duo fall off phone sheets or meeting calendars. That’s because I’ve learned that the writing team have at least two TV pilots going out to networks and one feature film going out to directors. Then it’s an opportunity for hot Industry players to exact revenge which, as we all know, is a dish best served cold.
Fiftysomething Marx and thirtysomething McArdle for some time now have managed to sweet-talk the media like LA Times‘ John Horn and The Guardian‘s Rory Carroll into keeping their identities out of the spotlight so Hollywood wouldn’t know they were biting the hands that feed them. (“After multiple requests, the duo finally agreed to an in-person interview on the condition that they not be publicly identified, lest they jeopardize their business relationships,” the LAT wrote.) McArdle is described to me as a nobody who was writing on the non-WGA fringes when manager Danny Halsted paired him with client Marx. He’s the well-known Groucho Marx and Gus Kahn grandson who previously had a successful script pitching partnership with fellow journalist-turned-screenwriter Andrea King before it crashed and burned. (“They sold over $2 million worth of pitches but didn’t like each other,” an insider told me. “In the rooms, they were great together. But both were repped by Halsted and, behind the scenes, it was Andy on Line 1 and Andrea on Line 2. So they professionally divorced.”) Marx wanted to continue working with a partner, and Halsted thought McArdle had a similar comic sensibility. The hope was that they all could make some coin together. Sweet and funny Marx had a hobby of skewering execs and actors in humorous emails sent to pals, so that led the longtime showbiz insider to begin writing anonymous Hollywood & Swine news parodies with McArdle.
Now sources tell me that Gersh is going out to the networks this summer with a TV pilot from Marx and McArdle called Paroled described to me as “Night Court in a parole office”. The pair also just turned in a new draft for a Hollywood & Swine TV show — supposedly a cross between Entertainment Tonight and The Colbert Report — which has been in development with Aaron Kaplan and will be pitched to networks this summer as well. And Marx and McArdle have been writing a feature film called The Year Of Living Without Her for Adam Shankman’s company that will be going out to directors soon. It was bought by CBS Films well before Marx’s wife Terry Press became co-president with Wolfgang Hammer. I’m told that “Terry’s never been involved in the development of Andy’s script and that only Hammer and [VP of Production] Mark Ross were”.