On June 26, you'll be able to see My Sister's Keeper, a tearjerker about a 13-year-old girl whose parents conceived her because their other daughter has leukemia and they thought it would be handy to have a genetic match lying around in case the leukemia daughter needed an organ transplant. That sounds like a ghastly idea for a movie, and the trailer (which you can watch below) doesn't make it sound it any better. But we discovered an audio recording of the pitch meeting for the film, and we think this transcript will shed some light on why the film was greenlighted.
JEREMY LEVEN: OK, I've written a terrific adaptation of a novel called My Sister's Keeper, and you guys are gonna love it!
STUDIO EXEC #1: Whoa, whoa, hang on. A novel? Is it about a boy wizard or a teenage vampire?
JEREMY LEVEN: No...
STUDIO EXEC #1: Is it a comic book?
JEREMY LEVEN: Well, no.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Hmm. I'm skeptical, but go ahead. Just dumb it down, all right?
JEREMY LEVEN: Of course. It's about a teenage girl with cancer.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Hilarious!
JEREMY LEVEN: No, no, it's not a comedy. It's a weepy drama.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Can Will Ferrell play the dad?
NICK CASSAVETES: If I may interrupt here, I'm hoping to direct this project. Jeremy and I worked together on my last film, The Notebook.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Oh! You're the guys behind The Notebook? Why didn't you say so!
STUDIO EXEC #3: Whatever you're proposing, we're in favor of it!
STUDIO EXEC #2: I can already see the trailer: "From the director of The Notebook!"
STUDIO EXEC #1: Yes! That film was great.
NICK CASSAVETES: Oh, thank you.
STUDIO EXEC #1: And by "great" of course I mean "profitable," not "good."
NICK CASSAVETES: No, I knew what you meant.
STUDIO EXEC #2: So this new movie: Cancer girl. What's the deal? She falls in love with a boy from the wrong side of the tracks and hides her cancer from him?
STUDIO EXEC #3: She meets a jive-talking alien who needs her cancer to repair his spaceship?
STUDIO EXEC #1: She switches bodies with the cool kid in school, and now HE has cancer and SHE'S a champion breakdancer?
JEREMY LEVEN: No, none of those.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Oh, good. Because the breakdancing one is already in development.
JEREMY LEVEN: The girl has a little sister who only exists because the girls' parents wanted a backup daughter in case the cancer daughter needed a genetic match for organ transplants and so forth.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Holy crap. Really?
JEREMY LEVEN: Yep.
STUDIO EXEC #2: They conceived a second daughter just as a spare?
JEREMY LEVEN: Yes.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Is that what the book was about, too??
JEREMY LEVEN: Yes.
STUDIO EXEC #4: Who wrote it? Josef Mengele?
STUDIO EXEC #1: That went over everyone's heads. Get out.
(STUDIO EXEC #4 leaves.)
NICK CASSAVETES: I know it sounds awful, to think these parents conceived a child solely for spare parts. But now imagine the parents are played by Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric.
STUDIO EXEC #1: I like where you're going with this.
NICK CASSAVETES: And the younger sister, the spare-parts one, is played by Abigail Breslin, from Little Miss Sunshine!
STUDIO EXEC #2: Brilliant! Here, let me give you some money right now. (takes out his wallet)
STUDIO EXEC #3: So what happens? The cancer daughter needs a transplant, and the replacement daughter has to give her one?
JEREMY LEVEN: No! That's where there's a twist! The younger daughter decides she DOESN'T WANT TO DO IT! And she hires a lawyer to sue her parents for emancipation so that she can decide for herself what to do with her own body!
STUDIO EXEC #1: My head literally just exploded.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Mine too! Literally!
STUDIO EXEC #3: What a selfish little brat! I bet that really tears the family apart!
JEREMY LEVEN: Oh my, yes. It definitely does.
STUDIO EXEC #1: That's great. First cancer, and now the sisters are arguing over who gets the kidneys!
STUDIO EXEC #2: "You girls better share and play nice!"
STUDIO EXEC #3: "Don't make me come up there!"
(All laugh merrily at the idea of a poor dying girl fighting over a kidney with her little sister.)
NICK CASSAVETES: But seriously, it will be a very dramatic film.
STUDIO EXEC #1: I think we're all in agreement that this is the best idea for a movie we've ever heard in our entire lives, but first I need to know one thing.
NICK CASSAVETES: OK.
STUDIO EXEC #1: At some point in the movie, does the girl with cancer say, "I don't mind my disease killing me. But it's killing my family, too"?
JEREMY LEVEN: Yes. Yes she does.
STUDIO EXECS: (in unison) Sold!
NICK CASSAVETES: And the lawyer is Alec Baldwin!
STUDIO EXECS: (heads literally explode)
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Eric D. Snider (website) literally thinks this is the way the pitch meeting went.