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Unproduced Beastie Video Projects

In 1987, the Fat Boys had their own movie entitled Disorderlies; a few years later, Dr. Dre and Ed Lover starred in yet another hip-hop comedy Who's the Man (1993). In 1988, Run DMC along with Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin put together a more serious hip-hop storyline with Tougher Than Leather. To the casual observer it would have appeared as though the climate of the late 1980s would have provided the perfect timing to release Scared Stupid, starring the Beastie Boys. Scared Stupid was said to be a haunted house movie with slapstick humor similar to that of the comedy duo Abbot and Costello. The proposed movie concept was brought up continually while the Beastie Boys were on tour in Europe (May 1987). In an interview broadcast on British television (May 1987), Adam Yauch said, "We're working on some contractual details. At this point we're under some negotiations and we really shouldn't talk about it much. But, it is just something we've wanted to do for a long time...and when we do will be incredible. That (shooting location) is still in discussion also. There is a lot of stuff still up in the air right now. They're (Hollywood) psyched right out of their mind to do the film. But basically we're doing the film on our own. I mean we're going to be using Hollywood money, but we're going to be doing the film on our own."

When spoke with Tom Cushman in July 2002, Cushman said the following: "I wrote the script for the Beastie Boys movie that never got made. I went on that tour and wrote the movie and basically what happened was that Rick still had the rights to the music. He had total control of where their music appeared. He originally wanted them to make the movie with him. Then for various reasons, which I won't get into, they decided they didn't want to do that. Then he (Rick Rubin) prepared a script and everything. So then we went ahead and did our own script. I was given the job of writing it, because I had done the cover story for Spin." With a script in hand, the potential for another red hot Beastie Boys media vehicle was enough to prompt a bidding war between Hollywood production companies. "It then came down between Universal and Fox, and I think Universal won out. Then they sent a piece of paper over to Rick to be signed. Something for him to allow music into the film and he refused to sign it. So the whole deal fell apart right there." Obviously as is the case with any motion picture starring a high profile band or solo musician, the ability to market the film's soundtrack is critical to making back a production studio's initial investment. With contractual disagreements heating up between Rubin and the Beastie Boys, the ability to license new music for any upcoming Beastie Boys movie soundtrack was put in jeopardy. Tom Cushman reflects on what could have been, "Looking back on it, I think the film would have been far too similar to the Fat Boys' movie Disorderlies. So maybe it is just as well for all concerned that it never saw the light of day, although there were some excellent-excellent scenes in it."

Rumors that the Beastie Boys were going to make a movie began spreading ten years later. Following the popularity of Spike Jonze's "Sabotage" music video (1994), speculation was that the Beastie Boys were toying with the idea of reprising their roles as law enforcement officers or perhaps just working with Spike Jonze on larger projects. Various print and magazine sources seemed to give creditability to the movie rumors circulating within the Beastie Boys online community. Entertainment Weekly (May 2, 1997) stated the following: "Nascent matinee idols the Beastie Boys (Adam Yauch, Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz) have teamed with director Spike Jonze and are set to star in their first feature film, a comedy tentatively titled We Can Do This. Scripted by the group and Jonze, the film is set to begin production this summer (1997). A source close to the project describes the movie as a lot like Woody Allen's Zelig crossed with the parodic '70's cop-show spirit of "Sabotage," and says there will be a number of surprise guest stars."

With legions of new fans, it seemed as though the time was finally right for a Beastie Boys feature film. Sadly though nothing ever came of the proposed project and it seemed that following 1994 outside circumstances prevented production of We Can Do This from taking place. Involvements such as touring and the group's various side projects obviously took time and effort that could have otherwise been put into making a movie. After all, Adam Yauch and Erin Potts were working diligently on the Tibetan Freedom Concerts. Mike D had a more active role in both X-Large Co. as well as Grand Royal. Adam Horovitz was collaborating with Amery Smith on what would become the first BS2000 record. In addition to these projects, the band as a whole was scheduling time to record as exemplified by the release of the 1998 album Hello Nasty. Aside from talk and rumors, We Can Do This never came to fruition.

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