When director Greg Mottola began casting his latest film, “Confess, Fletch,” he wondered if there was even a market for an R-rated dark comedy. He also considered hiring Chevy Chase to take over his titular investigator role, but opted for Jon Hamm – which pretty much saved the movie.
Motolla told Uproxx he accepted an offer from Miramax CEO Bill Block, who said he could fully fund the film if the production was limited to 27 days. When all the other studios passed on the project, he accepted that offer – but only after his main man made a generous contribution.
“So basically what we did was Jon put 60% of his salary back into the budget,” Mottola told Uproxx. “I gave back part of my salary, not as much as Jon because he is richer than me and I have three children. And we bought three extra days of shooting.
“We had it for up to 30 days in Boston and one day in Rome,” Mottola told the outlet. “And we said, fuck, we’re crazy, we’re stupid. We are going to make this movie. And then Miramax really supported us, in a creative way. They didn’t fight us over who we wanted to cast.
The fact that “Confess, Fletch” was made is something of a miracle. Studio executives, writers and directors tried to bring the character back to the big screen for more than 30 years after 1989’s “Fletch Lives,” the sequel to 1985’s “Fletch.”
Director-actor pairs from Kevin Smith and Jason Lee to Bill Lawrence and Zach Braff came and went before Mottola took a script from writer Zev Borow and made it his own. Mottola told Uproxx he wanted to make a “comedy of manners – a very talkative verbal comedy” as opposed to slapstick.
“Jon and I were like, I think there’s an audience for this,” Mottola told Uproxx. “And then we were told no, we don’t think so. We had a lot of that, yeah, in another time, a few years ago, we would have bought that, but we make our own stuff and we don’t need it.
Mottola eventually accepted the one and only major studio offer on the table and “really made the movie I wanted to make” with $20 million – thanks in part to Hamm’s generosity. Their gamble seems to have paid off with critics, who gave the film an 85% rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
Read the full interview on Uproxx.