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Iconic Paul Rudd Conan Joke Almost Became A Wild Meta Movie, Details Writer-TGN


  • Paul Rudd’s running joke about the E.T. knockoff Mac and Me almost became a meta-movie with Rudd starring and Conan O’Brien producing.
  • Screenwriter Ben Mekler pitched the idea to MGM, with the intention of having Conan and Rudd involved in a sequel called “Mac and Me, Paul Rudd.”
  • McDonald’s ownership of the rights to Mac and Me ultimately prevented the realization of the meta-movie, ending the crazy dream.



Paul Rudd’s iconic Conan Mac and Me joke almost became a wild meta-movie, details a screenwriter. The shameless and terrible E.T. knockoff Mac and Me should have disappeared without a trace after grossing just $6.4 million at the box office in 1988. But the movie got a bizarre second life when, years later, Ant-Man star Rudd made a running joke during appearances on Conan O’Brien’s various shows where he would pretend he was about to present a clip from his latest project, only to whip out a certain hilariously bad scene from the aforementioned flop E.T. rip-off movie, invariably causing O’Brien to become exasperated.

Now thanks to screenwriter Ben Mekler, it’s been revealed that Rudd’s Mac and Me joke almost became a hilarious meta-movie starring the very same Rudd and produced by O’Brien. Appearing on the Kingcast podcast ostensibly to discuss a Stephen King work, Mekler steered the conversation to the strange meeting he and screenwriting partner Christopher Amick once had at MGM, the wild idea for a Mac and Me follow-up they pitched both to O’Brien and the studio, and how McDonald’s ultimately ended their crazy dream. Check out what Mekler had to say in the space below:

So what had happened was, my screenwriting partner Chris Amick and I, we had a meeting at MGM, and they were like, “Here’s a list of everything we own, can you come up with a sequel for any of these.” And we read the list and were like, “We could, yes.” … So the one that came to mind for me, that I believe was on the list, was Mac and Me. And at that time we’d been working a lot with Conan’s production company. And I said, what if as a sequel to Mac and Me, we presented that Conan come on as a producer, and we go to Paul Rudd to star, and the movie is called Mac and Me comma Paul Rudd, and the movie is about Paul Rudd having a mental breakdown because of the intense diet and exercise that he has to go through to stay in Ant-Man shape all time time. … And then one day the alien Mac comes to him asking for help getting back to its home planet, again, because he just got lost again on Earth. And Paul Rudd the man does not know if he’s having a mental breakdown or if this is really happening. And you just make it silly. You do it David Wayne tone. … And so we brought that to Conaco and they’re like, “We’re in. It’s not a question. Yes.” And then we brought it to MGM and they were like, “That is so funny. Let’s just double-check that we own Mac and Me. Because it’s a little complicated.” And I was like, “Uh-oh. You should’ve said that earlier.” And then the answer we got back was, “We think McDonald’s might own Mac and Me. So this isn’t really something that we can really pursue at this time.”

Why McDonald’s Might Own the Mac and Me Rights

The story of an alien who escapes NASA and befriends a young wheelchair user, who tries to reunite his new extra-terrestrial pal with his family, Mac and Me was deliberately developed by producer R. J. Louis as an attempt at creating a new E.T.. Louis also happened to have previous ties with McDonald’s, and was able to strike a cross-promotional deal with the fast food chain that allowed the film to not only shoot a big musical number inside a McDonald’s restaurant, but to feature Ronald McDonald himself.

Mac and Me was originally distributed by Orion Pictures, which is currently owned by Amazon MGM Studios.

The product placement in Mac and Me indeed went beyond the McDonald’s relationship to include promotions for Coca-Cola and Sears. None of this helped the movie become the next E.T., and in fact, critics hammered the film at the time for its blatant promotional tie-ins. Product placement has, of course, become ubiquitous in the years since, to the point where few moviegoers or critics even notice (unless it’s done with deliberately comical exaggeration, as in Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill). Given their huge involvement in the recently-released Loki season 2, perhaps McDonald’s could be prevailed upon to join MCU star Rudd, O’Brien, Mekler and company in financing a meta-movie revival of the truly terrible film that spawned a truly hilarious running joke.

Source: Kingcast

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