Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Karen McCullah Lutz, The Bachelorette Party


Karen McCullah Lutz is a cool chick who I had the pleasure of meeting when I was up in Beverly Hills not too long ago. Tall with bronzed skin and long hair, Karen is as pretty as she is talented. Meaning: very!

She wrote the screenplay to Legally Blonde with Reese Witherspoon, who hasn't seen and heard of that movie? - and wrote the screenplay to Ten Things I Hate About You with Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger. I forgot to ask if Heath hit on her...

Her novel, The Bachelorette Party was a laugh out loud novel that Entertainment Weekly put on their "Must List" for the year. If that wasn't enough, the book is being turned into a movie with Nicole Kidman attached to star and produce. Does Karen have the best career or what? And her sense of humor isn't bad either.

You’ve moved around a bit, why did you decide to settle in California? Was it the lure of the palm trees or the warm weather, the celebrities or the streets paved in sequins?

I wanted to live in CA all my life. Both my parents grew up here and I used to hear all their stories about how fabulous it was. When I was a kid, I used to doodle pictures of palm trees on my notebooks. After I sold my first movie script, I was finally able to move out here. I was living in Denver at the time and was very happy to escape the snow and the endless boredom.

Legally Blonde? You must be really proud of that movie. Was the ‘bend and snap’ in the book or did you add that? How do you even begin to create a screenplay from a book? And how did you get the job to work on the screenplay? Is it really ‘who you know’ or is it what you have to offer?

The experience of making "Legally Blonde" was so wonderful. I was on set every day and made a lot of good friends. The "bend and snap" was something that Kirsten Smith (my writing partner on Legally Blonde) and I came up with. I believe we were at the bar at the L'Hermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills at the time. Then Robert Luketic, our director, decided to make it into a big dance number. We just envisioned it as a set-up to the moment where Paulette breaks the UPS Guy's nose, but it took on a life of it's own.

We got the job because the producer, Marc Platt, called us and said, "I have this manuscript that you girls would be perfect to adapt." While I was talking to him on the phone, another producer called in and literally said the same exact thing, so I guess people just felt it was our sensibility. I'm blonde, and I was in a sorority, so I guess it wasn't too far of a stretch. Kirsten and I read the manuscript (written by Amanda Brown) and we instantly thought it would be a great movie. So we came up with "a take" and went to MGM along with Marc Platt and pitched it to them and got the job.

Where did you get the idea for Ten Things I Hate About You? I read it was based on a Shakespeare play, is that true? And did you have certain actors and actresses in mind when you were writing the screenplay?

It's based on "Taming of the Shrew". So William Shakespeare provided the idea. I didn't have any actresses or actors in mind while writing it, because there really weren't any teen stars at that time. It was at the beginning of the teen movie wave.

Let's talk about The Bachelorette Party. It’s very, very funny and bawdy and I read it in two days. Is it hard to write the funny scenes?

It is hysterically funny. I actually think it's easier to write a funny scene than some deep dark dramatic scene. I guess I'm just a sarcastic, irreverent girl. I'm also a bit raunchy, as you'll be able to tell when you read the book. A movie deal is presently in the works, which makes me very happy because then I'll get to adapt the book into a screenplay and hang out with all of my characters again. I miss them.

Have you ever been to a bachelorette party as wild as Helen's? And I've seen penis shaped pasta, but not confetti. Did you make this up or have an actual experience with it?

Of course there is actual penis confetti. In fact, I have a bag of it in my car right now just in case I find an occasion to break it out. I discovered it when I brought some to my friend Selma's bachelorette weekend. We had so much of it in the room that it got stuck on our feet and legs and when we woke up in the morning, Selma had a perfect little purple penis tattoo on her leg from where a piece of the confetti was stuck to her. As we were checking out of the posh hotel we were in, we noticed that we had tracked penis confetti all over the lobby floor. It's a genius invention.

And yes, I've been to some wild bachelorette parties. I got married at 24 and for my bachelorette party we all went out for a night of bar hopping. At the end of the night, one of the girls with us slept in a ditch in front of the house. No one noticed that she didn't make it in the door.

Karen, tell me some juicy details...what's the craziest thing you have done that's fit for print?

I was probably far too inebriated to remember the craziest thing I've ever done.

Will you be involved in the screenplay of the movie?

Of course! I'm a screenwriter! That's my main job. I will be adapting the book into a screenplay.

Tell me the truth. Is there such a movie as Pee, Midget, Pee? I laughed out loud at your porn titles. Have you been shopping at the Hustler store? For "research" of course!

All of those titles are absolutely true. I often go to the Hustler store and look at porn titles just to make myself laugh. Some of them are really creative. I wish I'd bought the Clownfuckers series when I saw it. Now it's hard to find. I can't believe there was never a porn title take-off of "Legally Blonde". That disappointed me. I mean, c'mon, "Dawson's Creek" got one.

Is trying to sell a screenplay very different than trying to get a book published? I would think both avenues include a lot of rejection which is hard on even the toughest person. Do you “do lunch” at the Polo Lounge while you talk about a screenplay and pitch your ideas?

It's actually not that different. You have an agent send out both your book manuscript and your screenplay, and you just sit and wait by the phone. Sometimes the wait can seem endless, so I like to leave town while everyone is reading it. I was actually in Oahu at a surf camp when I got the news that four publishers were bidding on "The Bachelorette Party". There is a lot of rejection in the business of writing, so it's nice to get phone calls like that. I remember it vividly. I was swinging in a hammock.

Yes, I lunch at the Polo Lounge (they have a great chopped salad) and many other restaurants around town. Being a screenwriter involves many, many meetings. Sometimes you feel like a professional "meeter" instead of a writer. I never pitch at lunch though. I only pitch in the offices of studio execs who can buy.

You live in Los Angeles. I want to know the oddest thing you have ever seen? I saw a poodle wearing Burberry cape and tiny black boots. And then I saw a man with a bouffant and red lipstick wearing saddle shoes with cuffed pants. I’m not even going to mention the Mohawks and piercings I’ve seen on Melrose but I like those.

I saw a man taking a crap in the parking lot of the Bank of America on Sunset Blvd. That was pretty damn crazy.

How do you top what you have already achieved? Two major films and a novel that is garnering great reviews. Where do you go from there? And how do you stay grounded?

Hopefully, I'll keep writing novels that people want to read and scripts that turn into movies people want to see. I feel like you're implying that I've peaked! I really hope not. I'm young! I have more stories in me, I swear! I stay grounded because I've never really been off the ground in that sense. Writers are not treated like actors. People don't ask for autographs, there are no paparazzi following me around. I can go braless to the grocery store and no one cares. (Karen, I hate to tell you but those photos are circulating around the internet as we speak!)
I read that you like to travel. I do too. Can you recommend some great vacation spots? Any reason to wear my oversized Jackie O. sunglasses and my white jewel encrusted turban!

Turtle Island in Fiji was pretty spectacular. And all of Italy -- Tuscany and Rome in particular. Just went to France and loved it. St. Tropez probably has some of the best people watching ever. I need to start setting stories in these places so I can spend more time there "researching".


50 Comments:

Blogger swirlogirl said...
how do i get a job like that! @ 9:16 AM  
Blogger Manic Mom said...
Great interview DJ! Keep 'em coming! I love them! @ 10:24 AM  
Anonymous AmyC. said...
I can't wait to read this book!
amysuch@hotmail.com @ 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
She sounds like a fantastic person, and I for one can't wait to read the book. I didn't have a bachelorette party when I got married, and wish I had. I'd love to read more about what she has to say.
sampiegirl2003@yahoo.com @ 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Markalope said...
I'm, hooked on celebrity gossip now and it's all.your.fault.
markalope@gmail.com @ 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I would love to read this book!
stolenstop@hotmail.com @ 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
The book sounds great. Good interview.

jenniferdoran2003@yahoo.com @ 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
The book sounds great. I love a good girly read! Actually all the books you post on sound really good. I always rigt down the titles and author's names for my next visit to Barnes and Noble. Keep up the good work. babykate@charter.net @ 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
"write" @ 12:50 PM  
Blogger steph said...
seriously, how do you find time to read? i love reading, but there's just so much other stuff going on, you know?

but i AM reading for a while tomorrow! they call me mad dog, by erika lopez. i bought it months ago and still haven't cracked it open. i'm very excited! @ 1:08 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...
She is hilarious. I love legally blonde and should read this book.

nessapaige@hotmail.com @ 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...
What a fantastic book! I can't wait to read it. 10 Things I Hate About You was the first "teen" movie I ever watched.
eck2485@gmail.com @ 1:23 PM  
Anonymous sluce said...
I am now anxious to read this book. I adored 10 Things I Hate About You and have been able to use it teacher High School Literature. It makes much more sense to the kids than Shakespeare on his own. Somehow, I do not think I will be able to use The Bachelorette Party to assist in teaching......

getsluce@yahoo.com @ 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I want to read this book as 10 Things I Hate About You was one of my favorite movies. (My guilty pleasure) I loved the poem Julia Stiles read, Heath Ledger made me crazy & I am a long time fan of the bard.

queenofcrunk@gmail.com @ 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Amanda said...
I love all of her stuff! I'd like to drink a martini and chat with her! ncsql@aim.com @ 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Book looks great, new format looks THE BEST! @ 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Kari said...
I would love to check out this book first!! @ 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Kari said...
Kbalkcum@yahoo.com

Oops forgot to add that! @ 2:21 PM  
Blogger *** hunzer *** said...
Damn. I must read this book! The interview was great...this book sounds right up my alley. @ 3:12 PM  
Anonymous LadyJ said...
I am absolutely addicted to reading your site, and love reading your book reviews!
I would love to read this book!

ladyj2626@aim.com @ 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Bekah said...
Sounds like an awesome book!! Great interview.
bequitamarie@yahoo.com @ 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Did people really not know 10 things was from Taming of the Shrew?? Our education system is just embarrassing.... @ 4:31 PM  
Blogger Yvett said...
Thanks for introducing me to this book. I'd never heard of it but it really sounds like the type of humor I'd like. Great interview. @ 5:08 PM  
Anonymous gak said...
Is "Pee, Midget, Pee" a reference to Tom Cruise? If so, I hope the movie includes it. gretchen28@hotmail.com @ 5:48 PM  
Blogger Queenie said...
What a terrific interview! I'm curious and would LOVE to read this book.

Queenie_11078@hotmail.com @ 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Darlene said...
Excellent interview, and call me a free swag whore, but I saw that you might give away this book, so I had to leave a message. I'm horrible, I know. But it sounds very good.
darlene.marasco@gmail.com @ 6:19 PM  
Anonymous ErinB said...
Ooooh! I cant wait for this fab book to hit the shelves. All of the movies Karen has worked on are CLASSICS!! erinbeattie21@hotmail.com @ 7:00 PM  
Blogger Pisser said...
I found the penis confetti at Pleasure Chest years ago and am now hating myself for not writing a book about it ;)

Fabulous interview! I'd love to read as well...!
thepissedkitty@gmail.com @ 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Shema said...
Legally Blonde is one of my favorite movies ever! I was working for Fifi & Romeo at the time that they supplied Bowser with his outfits so it was quite the experience! I love to read and can't wait to get my hands on her book!

My email address is:
mintprincess@hotmail.com

Thanks,
Shema @ 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...
What a great interview and the book sounds amazing. I cannot wait to read it!
golden_angel177@hotmail.com @ 10:48 PM  
Anonymous a harried librarian said...
I had sworn off US and People, but your site is too much fun. Looking forward to reading Karen's book...here in Seattle we have Space Needle shaped pasta, which probably looks more like penis shaped pasta than it should! @ 12:11 AM  
Anonymous antiheroine said...
Sounds like a great book, I will def try to get my hands on a copy! And great interview, I love all your questions! haha @ 12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I have to read this!!! This book sounds hilarious. Every book reviewed or every author interviewed gets put on my to DO (i mean to read) list. I have to read this and I must discuss this with all the girls at lunch.

My email is: Ladydee91500@aol.com .. please oh please send me a copy! :-D @ 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
DJ,

I have a feeling that we were siamese twins in a former life, because your sense of humor and literary picks mirror my own. Plus, we are both fabulous fashionistas ensconced in a social life that provides the very best gossip. Unfortunately, my scene is in Texas right now...

Please send me a copy of this book, as I am already working up to a two martini lunch today (oh, the stress of gossip at work, it is such a burden!!)

Kisses,
Fashionfrenzy

jessica.carter@lmco.com @ 9:33 AM  
Blogger jes said...
ha! phallic confetti all over the posh hotel?!? sweet.

karen sounds as great and real as the movies and books that she writes. as i said on your other site, i love the screenplays that karen wrote for Legally Blonde and 10 Things I Hate About You - i bet her newest book is a must-read and the movie with nicole kidman? that's hot!

jes@justsayjes.com @ 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Lyndsay said...
I agree, the book is great, but the author is even greater. I had the chance to meet her awhile back at a book signing and she was one of the nicest people. Very impressive. @ 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Great interview! I love reading good books and appreciate your enthusiasm for getting these great authors more publicity and recognition. Thanks for using "your powers" for good! :)

I'd love to read it. mdmepinky@aol.com @ 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I love the interview! I love all of the author's work. She sounds like someone I could party with. I haven't read the book but it sounds hilarious. I have only been to one bachelorette party and I can't wait to go to more. When the time comes I want mine in Miami!

adcook1@vt.edu @ 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I love comedy and I love smart women. This was, therefore, an excellent interview: two smart women talking about the excellent comedy (featuring smart women, of course) one of them writes.

Keep it coming. I can't wait to read The Bachelorette Party; in a sea of chicklit, it's sure to stand out. And DJ, interview yourself sometime. That'd be a riot!

lostinmke@aol.com @ 5:26 PM  
Blogger Jamie Scott said...
that sounds like a great book!
I too did not have a bachlorette party but wished I did! @ 8:22 PM  
Blogger Bettyalready said...
The many many meetings would kill me. They're so unproductive. In my world.
betty.already@gmail.com @ 2:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Fantastic interview! I literally laughed out loud at picturing Karen and her friends tracking the penis shaped confetti all over their swanky hotel. LOL Looking forward to more from Karen.

akspunkee@yahoo.com @ 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
/\ Ack , I screwed up my own email addy. It's all your fault. ;)

akaspunkee@yahoo.com @ 5:30 PM  
Anonymous rosa said...
Great interview! I love the cover and can't wait to read this book!

rosa@candycoveredbooks.com @ 3:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Ken Littleton is evidently a sexual predator and he knows Ottawa well, in fact, he got married there.

Littleton met Mary Baker, an alcoholic who was in recovery. Littleton and baker moved to Canada and married in Ottawa on April 27, 1983. In a 1991 interview with the Connecticut police conducted in Ottawa - an interview that has never been published - Baker described Littleton as "going nuts"

He called Martha's father, David Moxley, Baker said, and asked for money to undergo sodium-pentothal testing, [sounds like a wild version of Deniro in meet the Fockers] offering to give Moxley copies of the tapes. Littleton said he thought the testing would give him peace of mind and perhaps help him to remember things that happened the night of the murder. He told Moxley that Martha's murder was their "mutual tragedy." Despite his offer to David Moxley, Littleton never did submit to a sodium-pentothal test, although, according to his wife, he remained obsessed by the idea.

In Canada, Littleton was unable to work owing to instability and alchoholism. He and Baker played golf and lived of money she had inherited. Baker told the police that Littleton liked pornography and would often visit strip bars. In June of 1983 his arm was mangled during a knife fight in Hull, Quebec. That autumn the Canadian police arrested him for disruptive conduct near the Canadian Parliament building.

According to Baker, Littleton sometimes threatened to kill her. He would become particularly depressed, she told the police, around Halloween, the anniversary of Martha's murder. In october of 1989 she threw him out and separated from him. In May of 1990 he threw hot coffee on her and tried to force his way into her house. Littleton moved in with a manic-depressive stripper named Kimberley, in Boston's Combat Zone. He planned to become a male stripper and join Kimberley in her act. He and Baker were divorced on July 12, 1990.

By August of 1991, when Connecticut law-enforcement authorities reopened the Moxley case, Littleton, still a prime suspect, had again been institutionalized, for manic depression and oaranoid delusions, at McLean Hospital, in Belmont. Jack Solomon; Sergeant Frank Garr, of the Greenwich police; and Detroit homicide detectives, whom the Greenwich police had brought in to help them with their investigation, all believed that Littleton might be responsible for a string of unsolved homicides in Massachusetts, Florida, Maine, New York and Canada. On September 23, 1991, Garr went to Ottawa to examine the police files on three young women who had disappeared during a twenty-three-day period in 1988. None of the bodies were ever found. In Garr's report he concluded, "All three women were last seen in the
same vicinity...within close proximity to where Ken Littleton had resided."

On December 15, 1992, Littleton took a polygraph exam administered by the nationally recognized polygraph expert Robert Brisentine. The test again indicated that Littleton "was not truthful when he denied causing the death of Miss Moxley." After confirming these results in a second test, Brisentine left the examining room. According to someone close to the conversation, he took Solomon aside and said, "The man who murdered Martha Moxley is sitting in that room. Don't ever let anyone persuade you otherwise."

Ken Littleton has failed five polygraphs about the Moxley murder, and he is probably responsible for a couple in Ottawa as well.

Now why is this guy free?

http://www.geocities.com/askwebprowler/sutton.htm @ 6:49 PM  
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