Arguably the Judd Apatow of the '80s and currently the movies' equivalent of J.D. Salinger, prolific writer-producer-director John Hughes dropped out of filmmaking in 1991 after helming eight movies and developing stories and characters for nearly two dozen more to come. But now, in a symbolic Easter-weekend resurrection perhaps possible only in Hollywood, the writer Hughes and producer Apatow share above-the-line credit for the latest doomed Owen Wilson vehicle, Drillbit Taylor:
[Drillbit] is based on a treatment Hughes wrote years ago for Paramount; he never turned it into a script. But two years ago, after Apatow's breakout hit The 40-Year-Old Virgin, the studio enticed him to develop Drillbit.
Hughes decided to not come aboard but has "story by" credit under his longtime pen name Edmond Dantes, protagonist of Alexander Dumas' novel The Count of Monte Cristo. It's the first participation in a feature of any sort for Hughes since he received "story by" credit on 2002's Maid in Manhattan and 2003's Beethoven's Fifth.
Even Apatow has never met Hughes, a notoriously studio-hating brat with the uncanny talent to churn out screenplays faster than most writers can finish a cigarette (''I may get in a lot of shit for this, but the last 40 pages of Home Alone took eight hours to write,'' he memorably told EW in 1994). He has yet to emerge from hiding in Illinois or express any interest in reclaiming his spot as the industry's reigning comedy kingpin, which is fine by us; we love a guy who knows to quit while he's ahead lest such overextended wares as Drillbit Taylor or, worse yet, Apatow's forthcoming mistake Step Brothers have our eyes rolling until they cramp. We strongly urge Brett Ratner, an unwavering devotee of Experimental Rejuvenating Arts&trade including tranny fellatio and frozen-yogurt chauffer bonding, to give a similar reclusion a go.