It’s certainly not an easy road to success for any aspiring writer in Hollywood, but two young scribes found a way to fool the studios’ seemingly-impenetrable “gatekeeper” system, by passing off their work as a script by two famous writers. Last week, a number of creative executives and agents scrambled to read a new script called The Kosher Nostra, which was believed to be written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, both longtime writing partners, although it was actually written by two unrepresented L.A.-based writers named Jonathan Witz, 25, and Jeremy Spektor, 29. Using Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s name, along with a fake email for UTA agent Danny Goldstein, the script was sent to Hollywood heavyweights such as Will Ferrell, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison along with A-list producers Scott Stuber and Mark Gordon.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the script in question is entitled The Kosher Nostra, a reference to the Sicilian mafia that is known as the Cosa Nostra. The story follows a struggling screenwriter who drives for Uber to pay his bills, which leads to him becoming a getaway driver for the Jewish mafia. Writers Jonathan Witz and Jeremy Spektor spoke with THR, revealing that the script features characters that are all named for actors they wanted for their roles, such as Seth Rogen, James Franco, Aziz Ansari and Jonah Hill. While various assistants and creative executives told them their script was good, they could still not get it into the hands of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Here’s what Jeremy Spektor had to say, revealing that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are their heroes.
“Like any young writer, we all have our heroes, Seth and Evan are those guys for us; they inspired us to write this script in the first place.”
The writers decided to send out the script with a new title page that claimed Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg wrote the script, with a story credit by Jonah Hill. The actor has in fact received story credit on a number of films including 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street, Why Him? and Sausage Party. They sent out the script to their favorite studio executives and producers, which also had Point Grey’s name attached, the production company formed by both Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Sources claim that after Seth Rogen’s team heard about this script, they sent an email to the fake “Danny Goldberg,” asking them to stop circulating this script with the writers’ names, and the Point Grey name, attached. Here’s what Jonathan Witz had to say about why they did what they did.
“We’ve all heard the myth about a young Spielberg slipping onto the Universal lot. This was about getting our script past the ‘gatekeepers’ and into the right hands.”
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg wouldn’t comment on the story, and it isn’t clear if any of the top-level Hollywood producers and executives actually responded to The Kosher Nostra script. The real Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are coming off the R-rated animated comedy Sausage Party, which they both wrote alongside Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir. They also both co-created the hit AMC series Preacher, which is returning for Season 2 this summer, and co-wrote Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, alongside Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien and Nicholas Stoller. They also came aboard last year to produce a long-gestating adaptation of the Where’s Waldo books for MGM.