You're nobody in this town until you've been ripped off, and even then you're just a little more bitter nobody until an actual, attributable success comes along. According to a profile today in indieWIRE, director Alex Holdridge can finally lay claim to both stages in his accelerating career arc: His funny, lyrical LA romance In Search of a Midnight Kiss opens theatrically tomorrow in New York (Aug. 22 in Los Angeles), several years after a less-auspicious development left him burned at the Sony gates. Not long after his micro-budget debut Wrong Numbers hit at the 2001 South by Southwest film festival, Holdridge said he had fielded calls from every major studio looking to adapt his comedy about "unruly teens trying to buy beer for a party on their last night of high school" for Hollywood. Sony eventually hired him to write the script on spec, which apparently took a couple years too many for the studio's taste, as Holdridge discovered when he heard about a new Sony project called Superbad:
That was the last straw. As far as he could tell, Wrong Number had been co-opted by Judd Apatow and company.
"It was devastating," Holdridge recalls, hesitant to accuse any particular individual of ripping him off. "Their script was different. Our script was fucking awesome, but you can't copyright a concept." Holdridge suspects the executives at Sony may have suggested his idea to more established Hollywood comedic forces, but he places some of the blame in his own lap. "I have some responsibility because I went and made another movie," he says. "I don't want to complain. What if we just had the same idea?"
Yeah, what if? It's not like Midnight Kiss doesn't owe its own life to Before Sunrise/Sunset, Manhattan and a few other couples-gabbing-in-the-streets classics. And Apatow is the Comedy Person of the Year, after all. But as Holdridge alludes to in the profile, Wrong Numbers is illegal to screen since Sony picked it up seven years ago. We can't wait for the double feature when the time finally comes — and as much as we appreciate his discretion under the circumstances, we're fairly sure it will come. [Photo: Getty Images]