"There's nothing wrong with letting the girls know that you're money and that you want to to party." - Swingers
The fine folks over at Grantland are still plugging away, doing the Lord's work. Their latest conquest in their mission to uncover every unknown fact about every film that makes college bros laugh and hi-five between bong hits on their second-hand couch (with flipped over cushions because that animal, Bobby, still isn't house trained) is an oral history of The Hangover before The Hangover was cool, Swingers.
Unsurprisingly, Grantland's Alex French and Howie Kahn tap into the heartbreak and faux confidence that transformed Swingers from an independent box office bomb to a cult classic handcuffed to every recently single guy's wrist.
They talk to the unlikely screenwriter/star, Jon Favreau, the many stars of the film like Ron Livingston and Vince Vaughn, and somewhat random folks, like Favreau's neighbor at the time, Adam Scott. Arrrrre we having fun, yet?
The result is so money, baby.
Vaughn: The reading would always play phenomenally. We did this for over a year and would get huge laughs, great responses. But the business model was always a problem. You have a bunch of guys that don’t really mean anything to Hollywood. Jon had done more than the rest of us, but wasn’t a big enough name to open a movie. And they always felt the movie was funny but also very specific to out-of-work actors in Los Angeles. I think they all totally missed the universality of it: a guy dealing with a breakup and coming of age, taking a journey with a group of friends, and wanting to meet somebody to love. Everyone goes through it. And they wanted to replace me, Trent, with a woman.
Favreau: From that point on, we set out to try and really make the thing on our own with me attached as director.
Liman: My roommate, Nicole, had signed on to become Jon’s producer. It was literally all around me when Jon and I traveled to Sundance together. He was trying to raise money and I had my own thing. Neither one of us had read the other one’s project.
LaLoggia: Jon was crazed. We gotta do this right now. It was urgent. I mean he would not leave me alone.
Liman: Jon had been at Sundance, and there was a brief moment in time when Jason Priestley was flirting with the idea of playing the character that ultimately went to Vince. There was this [idea] that if Jason Priestley signed on, they could have raised a million and a half dollars, and they could’ve gotten the movie made.
LaLoggia: I started running numbers to figure out how little could we do it for — what does it look like if his friends are in it? All those crazy scenarios.
Liman: Jon started asking me a bunch of questions, because I had been to film school and I had made a bunch of short films and this straight-to-home-video movie. I still didn’t have any real experience, but compared to somebody with none, I had answers. Finally, I was like “You know what? I should just read your screenplay. I can’t answer these questions without reading it, so how about I just read it?” So I read the script and loved it. [Grantland]