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Scott Pilgrim

It’s doubtful that anyone involved knew just how beloved their cult classic would eventually become.

By Dylan Parker

Published 19 hours ago

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Old School Will Ferrell cult classic origin

Could you imagine Old School as anything but the uproarious, inappropriate, and wild fraternity adventure that it is? The truth is, some of the filmmakers responsible for the 2003 cult classic almost let the movie become something that it wasn’t. And that would have been a massive shame. If they had gotten their way, chances are it wouldn’t have become a cult classic.

Unlike many flops that eventually find their audience, such as Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim V.S. The World, Old School was a film that actually did really well at the box office before becoming a cult favorite. While the comedy has fallen into obscurity aside from in the hearts and minds of its diehard fans, when it was first released, it made a killing. This is unquestionably?due to Will Ferrell’s involvement and the fact that the script was changed. This is the true origin of Old School…

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When you think about Old School now, it’s hard not to at least consider the fact that a movie of its nature probably wouldn’t be made today. But that absolutely doesn’t mean that we can’t still enjoy it for what it was when it came out. Not only that, but the outrageous comedy was truthful to the experiences of many frat boys, including the movie’s co-writer, Court Crandall.

According to a spectacular interview by Playboy, Court, an advertising executive, managed to pitch his fraternity comedy to future Hangover and Joker director, Todd Phillips. The director had made a movie called Road Trip, but at the time the idea for Old School was pitched to him, Todd was directing ESPN commercials at Court’s firm in order to make some extra cash. Little did he know that this job would eventually land him his breakout movie.

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“Court Crandall ran the agency, and he was on set one day, and he said, ‘You know, I have this interesting idea for a movie. I wrote this thing,'” Todd Phillips explained to Playboy. “It was called Frat Men. And he knew that I had made a movie called Frat House for HBO back in the day!it was a documentary which a lot of stuff that you see in Old School was borrowed from or influenced by.”

But so much of the initial concept of the film was actually from Court’s life.

“I was in a fraternity in college at the University of New Hampshire, and then years later, once I was in advertising, I was at a party in Hollywood Hills that some of our creative directors were holding. They had sliced ham and wine, and there was literally someone playing the harp. And I just thought, ‘Holy, where has the fun gone? Is this what our life has become? Can someone just give me a keg and a red Solo cup?'” Court Crandall said to Playboy.

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Related: A Look At John C. Reilly And Will Ferrell’s Unique Friendship

After getting pitched by Court, Todd took the idea to famed producer Ivan Reitman, who produced Road Trip. While Ivan enjoyed the idea, he had some big notes that he wanted to implement. In short, the script written by the advertising executive was missing the mark and actually took the story and characters in a different direction than the end result.

“Ivan liked it, but then wanted the guys to be younger and so forth,” Court said. “At the time, I was a little unsure of that!I felt like that¨s a slightly different movie, kind of like Seventh-Year Senior. But I wrote that version and then turned it in!wrote it a little too quickly, to be honest with you. Those guys ended up optioning the script. The next time I saw them at all was at the premiere party.”

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Related: The True Origin Of The Cult-Classic ‘American Gigolo’

“I read it, and to be fully frank, it was an amazing idea, but the execution wasn¨t really great on it,” Todd Phillips said of the script by Court. “And I said, ‘I really like this as an idea!I¨d love to just take this and rewrite it with my friend Scot Armstrong,’ whom I had written Road Trip with. And Court was like, yeah! I just did it as a goof!I didn¨t know if anything would come of it.’ Scot and I went away and spent a year and a half writing and rewriting what Old School would end up becoming. The core idea came from Court¨s brain!he¨s awesome.”

A total of five different writers, including Todd, Court, and Scot Armstrong were credited on Old School. Although the two other writers, as well as Court, were only credited with a “Story By”. This is something that Court seems to be somewhat upset by, according to his interview with Playboy.

“To be honest with you, I totally think I should have gotten a screenplay credit. It went into arbitration, and I think it went a couple rounds in arbitration where they tried to figure some things out,” Court explained. “They had pushed me to the end of the story-by line, and I was suggesting that I should get writing credit, and the word I got from the WGA was that they were bringing in an additional arbiter and that that arbiter ultimately sided with Todd and Scot and decided that they wouldn¨t give me the writing credit, but they¨d move my name to the front of story-by, in front of those guys.”

Unfortunately for Court, the Writer’s Guild of America completely disagreed with him and ultimately saw humungous differences in the drafts by Court and the ones by Todd and his collaborators. One of these collaborators, Scot Armstrong, claimed that he never even read Court’s script due to the fact that everyone was only impressed by the concept and not by Court’s writing.

Even still, Court agrees that the end result is a highly enjoyable film. But it’s doubtful that anyone involved knew just how beloved their cult classic would eventually become.

Next: How Will Ferrell Put Together The Iconic Cast of ‘Step Brothers’

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About The Author

Dylan Parker

(637 Articles Published)

Dylan Parker is a list and content writer working for Valnet Inc. He’s written for The Things, The Talko, Baby Gaga, Moms, and Screen Rant. He specializes in entertainment, film, and celebrity news. Dylan has also written for Narcity and various other entertainment, food, and travel publications.

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