Interview with Screenwriters Henry Sarwer-Foner and Noel Baker

Dick 2.0 artwork

 

Dick 2.0, Written by Henry Sarwer-Foner & Noel Baker Synopsis

Synopsis "Dick 2.0 is a comedy about a man who becomes his own worst enemy – literally. Facing a divorce that threatens to halve his fortune, billionaire DICK SCHANTZ replaces himself with a clone precisely engineered to save his marriage and net worth. But when he sees how much more his wife loves Dick 2.0, a jealous Dick must battle his better self to win back his better half.

 

Henry Sarwer-Foner pic-WP

 

An Interview With Screenwriters Noel Baker & Henry Sarwer-Foner

Winners of the Houston Comedy Film Festival Spring 2019 Best International Screenplay Award, Noel Baker and Henry Sarwer-Foner discuss their screenplay, Dick 2.0. 

 

1) Why did you choose to submit to the Houston Comedy Film Festival in the first
place and how did you hear about us?


Noel: It was the first deadline to come up on Filmfreeway.
Henry: The reviews of the festival looked good, so we punted it in.


2) How long have you been writing screenplays and where does, Dick 2.0, fit in to
your catalog?


Noel: I've had a few comedy features produced in Canada. And a tv series. I also have
a drama series in development.
Henry: I'm an established comedy director in Canada, having directed many series and
pilots. I have a feature screenplay I've written and a couple of comedy series currently in
development.
Noel: Dick 2.0 is a swing for the fences in terms of writing a studio-style spec feature.
It's our third collaboration, after two tv comedy series we had in development.

 

3) You've written this screenplay as a comedy, but there are some pretty serious underlying issues here about people wanting to create a better version of themselves. How do you ride the line between comedy and drama-dy and why did you decide to push this screenplay more in the comedy direction?


Noel: Long answer alert! All the best and most interesting comedy has something
serious and painful at its core. In the case of Dick 2.0, we set out to skewer the perils of
greed and the dark side of the American Dream.
Henry: Once we stumbled on the idea of a rich hedge fund a-hole who has to compete
against his ‘better self’ clone to win back the family he abandoned; the course was
pretty much set.
Noel: We’re also drawn to the comic potential of speculative/dystopian themes involving
technology and how it’s changing ‘us’ as we give over ever more of our power to it.
Henry: The line between comedy and drama is a fine one; we could’ve just as easily
written a dramatic thriller with the same premise.
Noel: But our instinct is to kick up at the rich and powerful. Ripe targets for satire and
comedy.
Henry: You need serious stakes to be funny. That's what provides the underlying pretext
for the humor.

 

4) 110 pages seems long for a comedy screenplay. In your mind, how long would this film be, if it was produced with every detail you've written? Do you feel like a production company is just going to cut whatever they are going to cut out in editing, or do you feel this film will have a good comedy pace if they stick to your script?


Henry: It’s a pretty fast-paced script with lots of quippy dialogue so we figure it would probably run around 100 minutes. Actually right in line with studio comedy running times.
Noel: The Hangover is 108 minutes. Tropic Thunder is 121 minutes. Bridesmaids is 132
minutes.
Henry: “De Filosoof Van Haeghem” was 385 minutes.
Noel: What Henry says.


5) If you had an opening casting call for Dick Schantz, the main character in your script, are there any actors (known or unknown) that you would love to read for it?


Henry: The Ryans.
Noel: Reynolds and Gosling.
Henry: Who both happen to be Canadian.
Noel: We'd also love to sit poker-faced watching some of these guys read for it:
Jason Bateman, John Krazinsky, Paul Rudd, Chris Rock, Jake Gyllenhaal, Will Arnett, Ben Stiller
Henry: Who wouldn't want to play two Dicks in one movie?


6) If you had an opening casting call for Janet Schantz, in your script, are there any actresses (known or unknown) that you would love to read for it?

 

Noel: We like everyone on this list:
Rose Byrne, Alison Brie, Rachel Brosnahan (Mrs. Maisel), Kristen Bell, Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Rashida Jones, Gwyneth Paltrow
Henry: And of course, Ingrid van Lanckere from “De Filosoof Van Haeghem”.


7) At the end of the day, could you actually make a version of this screenplay that is PG-13 or hell no?


Noel: The dick jokes are crucial.
Henry: And the twisted excesses of the .000001% on the billionaire island of Motu are totally central to the entire comic (or is it dramatic?) premise of this movie.
Noel: So that's a hell fucking no.
Henry: Unless a producer backs up a truck full of cash.
Noel: Then hell yes!


8) Now that you've won an award with your screenplay, what's the next step to getting this film created?


Noel: Get it into the hands of appropriately placed managers, agents, producers, actors/stars and studio execs.
Henry: And hope they actually read it.
What other creative projects are you working on right now?
Henry: I have a feature and a couple of tv comedy series in development.
Noel: A couple of tv drama pilots in development. A true crime series currently in
production. With Henry, early stages of a very cool new feature idea.
Henry: It's a secret.


9) How do you pay bills and still make time to write consistently?


Noel: Isn't the real question: how do you write consistently and find the money to pay
the bills?
Henry: I direct tv comedies that sometimes I wish I had the time to rewrite.

 

 

About the author
Mikel Fair

Mikel Fair

Mikel Fair My name is Mikel Fair. I am the Director of Film Festival Circuit Inc. First of all, we are a company that manages film festival events in Texas and Oregon. Furthermore, we like to have fun and celebrate independent film. I worked for 15 years in the television and film production as a location sound mixer and production manager. I have also worked in post production as an editor, post sound mixer and composer. Above all, watching independent films and reading creative screenplays is my passion.

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