Shut Up, Little Man!

Some Notes Toward a History of Shut Up, Little Man!

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“Do It or Don't” — The Shut Up Little Man movie, take one

There were a lot of film industry folks at the Shut Up Little Man play in Los Angeles, and at least two or three of them wanted to see Shut Up Little Man on the silver screen. So did we. Soon thereafter, we were offered a contract for the development of a feature film. Pete and Ray go to Hollywood! Celluloid pieces of shit and cinematic cocksuckers! Mitchell and I, fundamentally devoted to adventure, were ecstatic about being flown out to Los Angeles to be creative consultants on a film about Peter and Raymond. We were also a little naive about the long labyrinthine process that is required to get a film from development to production. The basic idea for the film, according to the developers, was to be that two fresh-faced young men leave behind the comfort and familiarity of the small-town Midwest and move to the big city directly next door to two homicidal booze-swilling maniacs. Two mean-sprited old booze-hounds who were — both in vociferousness and alcohol intake — doing their best to outdo Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.” In other words, something pretty close to the truth. The developers stated: “We want a sort of Bill and Ted meets Blue Velvet here!” Mitchell and I didn’t care about the Bill and Ted part, but we agreed that we wanted something quirky, deeply weird, and deliberately dark; Blue Velvet was at least in the vicinity.