Bluff The Listener

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Our panelists tell us three stories of unlikely film adaptations.


From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR news quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Tom Bodett, P.J. O'Rourke and Amy Dickinson. And here again is your host, at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thank you everybody. Right now it's time, of course, for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

MARK ZABEZHINSKY: Hi, this is Mark from Los Angeles, California.

SAGAL: Hey Mark, how are things in L.A.?

ZABEZHINSKY: It's a beautiful day in Los Angeles.

SAGAL: I'm sure it is. And what do you do there?

ZABEZHINSKY: I'm a researcher in the development department at Authentic Entertainment. We're a non-scripted TV production company.

SAGAL: So you do, like, reality TV?

ZABEZHINSKY: That is correct.

SAGAL: Yeah.

ROURKE: You thought reality was terrible and then along came reality TV.


SAGAL: I know. Well welcome to the show, Mark. Now, speaking of reality, you're going to play the game in which you must tell reality from fiction. Carl, what is Mark's topic?

KASELL: I smell Oscar.

SAGAL: If there's one thing we learned from the film "The Social Network," it's that you can make a movie out of just about anything. But even we were surprised this week when we saw an announcement for one particular upcoming movie production. Our panelists are going to tell you three stories of movies being made from unlikely sources. Choose that true story, you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine. Ready to go?


SAGAL: All right, let's hear first from Tom Bodett.

TOM BODETT: Amateur woodworking is the fastest growing hobby in America. And the glossy hand tool peep show magazine "Fine Woodworking" is leading the way. And now, "Fine Woodworking" the movie, promises to become the "Eat Pray Love" of middle-aged men.


BODETT: Taunton Productions casting agent, Rita Ramirez, describes the story. Twice-divorced Marvin Kendrick has lived his whole life against the grain.


BODETT: Alone, bored and estranged from his grown children, he and his prostate were destined to grow into an unhealthy old age. When he meets Robin Patch, the mysterious lady with the woodshop next door, soon Marvin finds himself on a dusty journey of self-discovery through a cascade of "Fine Woodworking" cover stories: "The Many Faces of Shellac."


BODETT: "Glue: Which One is Right for You?" and the ultimate quest, "Mastering the Stopped-Lap Dovetail Joint." Audiences will weep with Marvin as a tragic chop saw accident takes from him the only thing he ever really loved, a six-inch Starrett combination square. And will cheer when Robin and Marvin pound the last final joint into a perfect fit. Rated PG for glue squeeze-out.



SAGAL: "Fine Woodworking," the movie. Your next story of an unlikely Hollywood hit comes from P.J. O'Rourke.

ROURKE: Can you really make a movie from nothing? We'll find out with the MGM production titled, "Chapter 11 Bankruptcy." MGM has got nothing. The once fabled Hollywood studio is broke. Gone with the wind as insiders at the company that made "Gone With the Wind" say. Actually, MGM has less than nothing. It's $4 billion in debt. So, what do MGM studio executives say? Great, high concept premise. They're doing "Chapter 11" as a reality show-type film with a script based on a story by top MGM creditor Carl Icahn. An ensemble cast is planned, all genuine lawyers. And MGM has a great marketing gimmick. Buy a movie ticket for "Chapter 11" now and whether the movie gets made or not, you could get up to 23 percent of your ticket price back in bankruptcy court.



SAGAL: MGM makes a movie from its own bankruptcy proceedings. And your last story of a movie based on an unlikely source comes from Amy Dickinson.

DICKINSON: Lionsgate Studio has now given the green light to a movie version of the prenatal handbook "What to Expect When You're Expecting." The manual for pregnant women, which tells them surprising and shocking facts like, during your pregnancy, you can expect to gain some weight.


DICKINSON: Do not panic, this is to be expected when you're expecting. Caitlin Schickle(ph), spokeswoman for the studio says, there's a lot of surprise in the movie as the mommy's tummy gets big and round. The audience will wonder, what's in there? What's with all the barfing? What's going to happen next? Will something come shooting out of here, like in the movie 'Alien'? And why do her friends keep giving her tiny, little shoes as gifts? Shooting starts this fall.



SAGAL: All right. So it's about a year from now, say, fall of 2011, and you decide to go to a movie and you might see which of these? A movie based on the magazine "Fine Woodworking," that's from Tom. A movie based on MGM's own bankruptcy proceedings, that's from P.J. O'Rourke. Or a movie based from the perennial best-selling baby manual, "What to Expect When You're Expecting." Which of these is the real unexpected film adaptation?

ZABEZHINSKY: I think any of these are possible, because it's Los Angeles.



DICKINSON: Oh, that's right.

ZABEZHINSKY: I'm going to go with the Lionsgate film.

SAGAL: The Lionsgate film, which would be?

ZABEZHINSKY: "What to Expect When You're Expecting."

SAGAL: So your choice is "What to Expect When You're Expecting," that'll be a blockbuster.


SAGAL: Exciting movie about women being nauseous. To find out the correct answer, we spoke to someone familiar with the true story.

ARCHANA RAM: When I heard that they were going to adapt "What to Expect When You're Expecting" it actually...


RAM: ...hit me that those baby dramas are fertile ground for laughs and lots of slapstick.

SAGAL: That was Archana Ram, a writer for Entertainment Weekly, who received confirmation from Lionsgate that yes, indeed, they are adapting the pregnancy manual, "What to Expect When You're Expecting" for the widescreen. Congratulations, you got it right.


SAGAL: Well done.

ZABEZHINSKY: Thank you so much.

SAGAL: You earned a point for Amy. You have won our prize. Carl Kasell will record the greeting on your home voicemail. Well done, sir.


SAGAL: Thanks so much for playing.

ZABEZHINSKY: Bye, thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-bye, Mark.


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