Your Birthday Film

Movie geeks love trivia games. This is just short of being a genetically-provable fact.

The most popular is surely Six Degrees, in which you have to link two actors in six moves or fewer. If you’ve never played, you take two actors separated by time or countries of origin or both. Or neither, if you want to start easy. (For example, Charlie Chaplin and French actor Denis Lavant could go: Chaplin to Marlon Brando in A Countess From Hong Kong, Brando to Al Pacino in The Godfather, Pacino to Robert De Niro in Heat, De Niro to Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver, Foster to Denis Lavant in A Very Long Engagement. Five moves. Bam. If you can do better, feel free to show me up in the comments below.)

There’s a great game that began on the Motion Captured Podcast called Movie God, in which you, as Movie God, are presented with two films or filmmakers or actors, and have to wipe one from history, taking into account all the historical eddies that your choice will cause. (For instance, do you destroy Star Wars or Alien? They’re both hugely influential films, and removing either one will cause massive and very different ripple effects.) The aim on the part of the person suggesting the two choices is to inspire absolute pain in the part of the Movie God. If they choose one instantly and without hesitation, you’ve failed. If they writhe in pain for hours, you’ve succeeded. (I’m proud to have inspired such agony when I phoned in to the MCP and presented hosts Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan with two impossible choices. Check out the October 6, 2011 edition to hear what I confounded them with. I come in at 1:33:16.)

There’s another good one we played a lot during production on Bazura in which you try to figure out which filmmakers have made five great films in a row. It’s harder than it sounds, and you’ll be amazed at which filmmakers qualify and even more at which don’t. (Although, there are few objectively definitive right or wrong answers. The fun in that game comes largely from arguing your case with others.)

Now, my friend and colleague Sean Lynch, the Melbourne-based comedian/TV host/film reviewer, has come up with a new game. And it’s a cracker.

Here’s what you do: take three actors, one director and a musician who were all born on your birthday, and create a movie upon which they’d all conceivably collaborate.

This is a great game, and a challenging one if, like me, your birthday falls on a day upon which very few actors or directors were born. On my part, May 3 is a decent time of the year to celebrate your birthday, but it’s not a common one. After all, it’s not like Bing Crosby (born: May 3, 1903) and Rob Brydon (born: May 3, 1965) are ever likely to do a Road To Cardiff-style movie together. But if they did, it would probably be written and directed by Maybe Baby‘s Ben Elton (born: May 3, 1959).

So, here’s what I’ve come up with…

I’m going to start with the musician. James Brown, the godfather of soul, was born on May 3, 1933. Now, he died in 2006, so he’s not likely to be providing a score to any movie, but if the film you’re making is a biopic of James Brown, that’s a pretty good excuse to use his music throughout the film.

So, who will direct Sex Machine: The James Brown Story? We don’t have an awful lot of choices, but I think we can agree that after the science fiction double-hit of TRON: Legacy and the upcoming Oblivion, director Joseph Kosinski (born: May 3, 1974) may well want to want to  legit and do something a bit Oscar-baity.

Director Joseph Kosinski, seen here thinking about directing something Oscar-baity

James Brown will be played by Dulé Hill (born: May 3, 1975), best known for his roles in The West Wing and Psych. This will be Hill’s big breakout role, and he’ll play Brown as a teenager (in unconvincing makeup) and as an old man (also in unconvincing makeup).

Dulé Hill (left) and James Brown (right)

The film will be told from the perspective of an ageing Brown in his final years, as his marriage to singer Tomi Rae Hynie is found to be invalid due to Hynie’s previous marriage. Flashbacks to Brown’s life story are juxtaposed against this measurably less-interesting modern-day legal tangle. Hynie will be played by Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks (born: May 3, 1975).

Christina Hendricks (left) and Tomi Rae Hynie (right)

Character actor Bobby Cannavale (born: May 3, 1970) plays Javed Ahmed, the man that Tomi Rae Hynie married for a green card, and whose marriage threatens to destroy that of Hynie and Brown.

Bobby Cannavale (left) and an artist’s approximation of Javed Ahmed (right)

After a quick find-and-replace on all the names in the Ray script, they’ll be ready and raring to go! The result will be a mawkish, inaccurate, and Academy Award-winning film that will grace the discount bins within weeks of its home video release.

So, what’s your birthday movie? (Find out by typing the month and date of your birthday into Wikipedia, or by going to this IMDb page and placing the month in the first two ## and the day in the last two.)

Once you’ve created it, pitch it to us in the comments below!

Special thanks to Sean Lynch for creating the game, and to David Blumenstein for his brilliant design of the Sex Machine poster. Check out David’s prolific works at his website

38 thoughts on “Your Birthday Film

  1. Re: the Six Degrees example, I just realised I could have gone from Brando to De Niro faster using The Score, but I can’t be bothered redoing the graphic. Also, it’s just an example. No, you shut up!

  2. ‘Three’s A Crowd, Maan!’
    Directed by Mel Damski (in his feature film debut)
    Music by Damian ‘Jnr Gong’ Marley
    Starring Robin Williams, Jon Lovits, and Josh Harnett.

    After Jamie (played by Josh Hartnett) learns of his mother’s death during a Jamaican holiday, he informs his two former step fathers (Williams and Lovits) who accompany him on a trip to Jamaica to learn of her final days. Darryl (Robin Williams) is the typical retired businessman who clashes with the old hippy Adam (Jon Lovits), and who together make the original odd couple! This year’s funniest black comedy that follows the intricacies of the family dynamic, and the trials is dealing with a foreign culture. Rated PG13+

    • Very, very nicely done. And extra points because you can totally see this actually getting made. Nicely done on Mel Damski, although I would dearly love to see what Béla Tarr would do with that script…

  3. I give you:

    Smithy, the Charles Kingsford Smith Story.

    Relive the high flys and crashing lows of Australia’s most celebrated pilot (at least until that bloke saved the A380). Smith’s story, from his birth on 9 February 1897 is that of the birth of the early aviation industry, a time of derring do and “der-don’t!” The tale relives his epic and pioneering adventures until his mysterious disappearance off the coast of Burma in 1935.

    Tom Hiddleston flies in as Kingsford Smith
    Ciaran Hinds owns the role of his copilot Tommy Pethybridge
    Joe Pesci murders an Anglo-Australian accent as Kingsford Smith’s mentor
    Zhang Ziyi cameos as ‘token Burmese person standing on beach watching the plane crash’
    Carole King writes the heart wrenching anthem ‘My body lies in Burma but my heart belongs to you’

    Narrated by Derryn Hinch.

  4. Wow! As usual, the amount of work you put into things astounds me.

    I should get someone to mock up a poster for SEPARATION ANXIETY — a nervous rom-com about NYC writers in love Paul Dano and Zoe Saldana, whose relationship is put to the test when Saldana is whisked to London by amorous film producer Jean Dujardin to rewrite a troubled historical romantic epic, forcing confidence-bereft Dano to leave his safe New York surrounds to counter Dujardin’s romantic wiles — directed by John Duigan, scored by the songs of Nick Drake… and written by Daniel Kitson!

  5. Vincent Gallo (born April 11, 1961) directs, scores and stars in Gallo, a biopic about Vincent Gallo. Spanning his teens through to now, the film sees Gallo playing his father, hairdresser and professional gambler Vincenzo Vito Gallo, as well as himself in later life, while Jennifer Esposito (born April 11, 1973) plays his mother.
    From Gallo’s early years in New York (with the teenaged Gallo played by Ryan Hanson Bradford (born April 11, 1995) – playing in the experimental musical group Gray with Jean Michel Basquiat (Eka Darville, born April 11, 1989) and modelling for Calvin Klein (Johnny Messner, born April 11, 1970) as well as painting, racing motorcycles and his infamous spontaneous street art performances – through his various musical and filmic endeavours, the film traces Gallo’s life in an eclectic and defiantly Gallo-esque way.
    Also featuring Matt Ryan (born April 11, 1981) as Gallo as a young adult, Joss Stone (born April 11, 1987; who also contributes to the soundtrack) as Gallo’s former fiancée Bethany Ritz, and Gerry Becker (born April 11, 1951) as Roger Ebert.

  6. I’ve got an amazing cast to work with; I’m gonna have to throw in a few supporting players.
    But behind-the-camera – not so sure…

    1930. An eccentric but obviously brilliant detective (Harvey Pekar) is called to a country manor in upstate New York to solve the murder of an apparently-elderly Congressman (Paul Hogan) on his 70th birthday. It may look like an accident, how he landed on the same knife over and over again, but the detective suspects otherwise. So who did it?

    The Congressman’s suspiciously-dutiful wife (Sigourney Weaver)?
    The idealistic new District Attorney (Simon Burke)?
    The disgruntled old District Attorney (Chevy Chase)?
    The miscast white supremacist (Rev. Jesse Jackson)?
    The genuinely scary guy who freaks everyone the fuck out, no matter what he says or does (Peter Greene)?
    The one-legged flautist from Vienna (Jeremy Davies)?
    The robot killing machine from the future (Kristanna Loken)?
    The President of the United States (Michael Dudikoff)?
    The convicted rapist (Soon Yi Previn)?
    The guy who looks a bit like the flautist (Martin Henderson)?
    Talk show host Phil Donaghue (Darrell Hammond)?
    Or the deaf, dumb mute who sits in the corner doing absolutely nothing for the entire duration of the film (Matt Damon)?

    Technical Advisor – Dale Dye.
    Written by – ugh – William Broyles Jr. That’s why it’s the laziest premise ever.
    Directed by – double ugh – either Edward Zwick or Burr Steers. I’d prefer to go really obscure and choose Rouben Mamoulian.
    Music by – hooray! – Johnny Ramone.

  7. If anybody’s wondering about February 29…

    Denis Farina, Joss Ackland and Antonio Sabato Jnr star in Anika Poitier’s feature film debut, Leap Year, which is exactly like those multi-storylined films like Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve, except all the characters are played by Farina, Ackland and Sabato Jnr. Ja Rule’s end credit song, “Old Men Leap” goes into unnecessary detail about the film’s romances.

  8. I give you THE FINAL COUNTDOWN – a political caper/thriller/comedy set in the White House, directed by Sylvester Stallone (born July 6, 1946) and featuring the music of 50 Cent (July 6, 1976), including the hit single ‘Waterboard Wit Me?’.

    Geoffrey Rush (July 6, 1951) stars as US President George W Bush (born July 6, 1946) in this wacky adventure about sanctions, embargoes, torture and terrorism. Co-starring Ned Beatty (July 6, 1937) as Vice President Dick Cheney, and Jennifer Saunders (July 6, 1958) as Laura Bush.

    Special guest stars: Nancy Reagan (July 6, 1921) and His Holiness the Dalai Lama (July 6, 1935) as themselves.


    Oscar winning director KATHRYN BIGELOW (The Hurt Locker) takes us into a nightmarish alternate 2007 where President Bush lost his second term election campaign to John Kerry, played by WILLIAM FICHTNER (Contact, Black Hawk Down). Without Bush’s iron Republican will keeping us safe, the now allied Axis of Evil lay siege proper to New York.

    ALLISON PILL (Scott Pilgrim, Newsroom) is investigative reporter Katie Jenkins and JALEEL WHITE (Urkel, voice of Sonic the Hedgehog) is NYPD Sergeant Mike Axe. Trapped for months on the now cut-off island fortress of Manhattan and with the U.S. military effectively destitute due to Democrat government budget cuts, it falls to them to TAKE MANHATTAN BACK.

    A geopolitical action thriller featuring original score by Simple Minds guitarist CHARLIE BURCHILL.

    I envision the film as being kind of Tom Clancy’s Dark Knight Rises in tone and feel.


    This futuristic buddy, road comedy stars James Woods (April 18, 1947) and Rick Moranis (April 18, 1953) as two old-school, burnt out journalists who decide to have one last stab at a headline story. They hit the road to track down Suri Cruise (April 18, 2006) who mysteriously disappeared on her 16th birthday. They are joined on their mission by young intern Rosie Huntington-Whitely (April 18, 1987) who falls in love with both men and offers them an indecent, threesome proposal.

    Written by Conan O’Brian (April 18, 1963) and directed by Edgar Wright (April 18, 1974) this groundbreaking fusion of truth, fiction and zany hijinks is set to a bracingly experimental soundtrack from noise artist John Wiese (April 18, 1977).

    Spoiler: Eli Roth (April 18, 1972) guest directs the revelatory scene where the boys finally find Suri who is stricken with a speed aging disease leaving the young girl looking like she is 70 years old (played by Hayley Mills – April 18, 1946).

    • I like that it starts as a film that really would have been made in the late 80s, turns into a sort-of late 90s indie thriller, then ends up as some 2000s Grindhouse-throwback nastiness. And anyone who has Hayley Mills in an Eli Roth film has something severely wrong with them. (In a good way, Rich. In a good way.)

  11. FLYWAY
    George Miller directs this animated tale of a gang of migratory birds who get separated from their flock and have to find their way home, taking them across tropical islands, snow-capped mountains and bustling cities along the way. Hilarity and musical numbers ensue.

    Features the voices of Miranda Richardson, Jessica Biel and Charlie Brooker, with songs by Ronan Keating.


    Directed by Ron Clements, this animated sequel to the 1992 blockbuster smash hit stars Al Pacino, who reprises his role as Col Frank Slade… but this time he brings his heightened (and slightly creepy) sense of smell to bear on two lovely women, Mandy (Renee Zellweger) and Zoe (Gina Torres). But will either lady succumb to his charms? Probably not.

    The score for this rom-com romp is provided by none other than Björn Kristian Ulvaeus.

    • I love the idea of this as animation. But I’d also like to see the versions by Bertrand Travers (The Princess of Montpensier, In the Electric Mist) and Magnus Martens (Jo Nesbø’s Jackpot). They would be… different.

  13. 26/11
    TURNERing In Her Grave: Earth Girls Are Less Easy

    Renowned Director Julien Temple [26/11/1953] (Earth Girls Are Easy) makes his most exciting and serious feature of a career in this homage to the late and great singer Tina turner, the film is set for release upon her untimely death to garner more appeal and google hits.

    Pop singer Natasha Bedingfield [26/11/1981] provides crooning covers of all of Tina’s hits as Missy Stone [26/11/1987] (Heavy Petting) goes full black-face in the role of the singer herself which is sure to cause controversy and increase google hits. Alongside her is tumultuous and abusive husband Ike Turner played by mega rapper-turned-‘actor’ Lil’ Fizz [26/11/1985] (You Got served) who in violence likened to Winterbottom’s The Killer Inside Me goes full-on with realistic depictions of domestic abuse.

    From the alleged diaries of Turner that Temple received in the mail from anonymous he has ensured complete accuracy by focusing on the reasons for the abuse and Turner’s response, as yellow Zeebo disguised as Ike reports back to his home base. He is an alien and this is a big twist in the film, his alien self is played with an intensity reserved for only the most distinguished and veteran professionals by Scott Adsit [26/11/1965] (30 Rock, The Informant!) in a dyed chicken suit.

    In 2012 it seems earth girls are no longer easy angering the aliens now in long-term relationships with human females. Zeebo got Tina to his dismay and cannot stop being angry and abusive upon realization of the decline of ‘easiness’.

    Turner fakes her own death, but not before a soft core scene with Adsit playing Zeebo, Nutbush City Limits slowed to 1/1000 is played by Bedingfield in the background.

    • That is convolutedly great. I was going to make fun of choosing Lil’ Fizz and Scott Adsit over more established actors, but having just checked November 26, I’m ready to declare that date the biggest drought in terms of actor birthdays. Can we top (bottom) it?

      • I had an alternate go-round (recycling some cast, but going with a different approach) for November 26th – my birthday combination is director Julien Temple (of “The Filth and the Fury” and “Earth Girls are Easy” fame), directing a cast of Kirsten Bauer Von Straten (Pam from True Blood), Scott Adsit (Pete from 30 Rock) and Daniel Davis (Niles from The Nanny, or as I like to think of him, Moriarty from that reasonably decent Star Trek TNG episode). Musician is Natasha Bedingfield, simply because I really really like that scene from Easy A. So therefore the film is called “Pocket Full of Sunshine”, and is a fluffy romantic comedy that will be very cheap because it’s full of TV actors, about people who used to be hard rocking punks and are now involved in the soul-crushing manufacturing of cheap pop. But you know, with laughs!

  14. GUN/SHOT

    Award-winning Aussie director Jeffrey Walker (Rake, Angry Boys) made the mistake of his life when he agreed to film this comedy/drama/stinker.

    An Australian/English/Canadian/Filipino/Kazakh co-production, it shot primarily in South Australia’s Barossa Valley (doubling for East London).

    Talented Brits Peter Serafinowicz (Spaced, Look Around You) and John Simm (Life on Mars, Dr Who) star as cops, who are also brothers, who are also lead guitarist and bass player, respectively, in nu-Britpop band Tesco Nitemare.

    Golshifteh Farahani (Chicken With Plums, Body of Lies), replacing a horrendously miscast Jessica Simpson, is the attractive Iranian refugee who comes between them romantically, while simultaneously getting them caught up in a people-smuggling operation run by the evil Fiona Shaw (Jane Eyre, 3 Men And A Little Lady).

    The film is awkwardly soundtracked with the music of L.A. wrestling manager/Captain Beefheart disciple Zoogz Rift, The Liquid Moamo, and includes a number of scenes in which people are watching “Home and Away” for no apparent reason.


    Woody Allen directs this quirky movie about a young lady coming out of her Mother’s shadow.

    A well established and loved comedienne, Jane Turner, struggles to let her Daughter, Sarah SIlverman to get away from her comedy shadow.

    Failure after failure of gigs (with backing, sorrowful music by Bette Midler), leave her distraught and over aught that she will never be funny.

    As she spirals into depression and insanity, a chance meeting with Richard Pryor shows her that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Together, at one final gig, they are determined to prove that They Will Laugh at Her

    • I got all excited because I thought Jane Turner was Janine Turner (from Northern Exposure), and the idea of her playing Sarah Silverman is so inspired, I’ve emailed Hollywood (all of it) to tell them to do it.

      But this sounds like some proper ’80s Woody Allen fare. So I dig it!

      • Kinda needs a bit more fleshing out, some Allen stilted dialogue between a clearly in-awe Silverman and Pryor
        (but GASP! I only know pop culture references to Allen)

        We could probably skip any Kath and Kim references
        (before going on stage at SNL)
        Sarah, LOOK AT MOI!


    Tom Hulce and Steven Wright are two washed up entertainers whose friendship is put under pressure as they continually find themselves auditioning for the same cameo roles. In this meta comedy/drama Hulce plays a man who was once a star in the 1980s after playing the lead role in a highly acclaimed Beethoven biopic, while Wright plays a former stand-up comedian whose successful outlaw persona became passé when comedy become droll and irreverent. A true falling out ensures when they both become interested in the same woman – a former television star from the 1990s, played by Janine Turner, whose promising career fell apart after she appeared in a bad action film. Hulce and Wright’s friendship is truly put to the test when Turner is diagnosed with a brain tumour that has a devastating effect on her political beliefs. Mixing laughs, sentiment, morality and gags about people over 40 having sex, Judd Apatow writes and directs with former Ace of Base member and songwriter Ulf Ekberg ironically providing a new score of 90s dance-inspired electronica.

    • Love it! Also, ask and ye shall receive: no sooner did I ask for a Janine Turner reference…

      If there’s an award for “most likely” film, this one would be a serious contender. And Hulce having done Beethoven = genius.

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