When director Greg Mottola started casting his latest film, Confess, Fletch, he wondered if there was a market for an R-rated noir comedy. He also considered hiring Chevy Chase to reprise his role as the titular investigator, but chose Jon Hamm — who practically saved the film.
Motolla told Uproxx that he accepted an offer from Miramax CEO Bill Block, who said he could fully fund the film if production was limited to 27 days. When every other studio passed on the project, he accepted that offer — but only after his lead man made a generous contribution.
“So what we basically did is Jon gave 60 percent of his salary back to the budget,” Mottola told Uproxx. “I have returned part of my salary, not as much as Jon because he is richer than me and I have three children. And we bought three more days of recordings.”
“We got it up to 30 days in Boston and one day in Rome,” Mottola told the outlet. ‘And we said, fuck it, we’re crazy, we’re stupid. We’re going to make this movie. And then Miramax really, creatively supported us. They didn’t fight us against people we wanted to cast.”
The fact that “Confess, Fletch” was made at all is somewhat of a miracle. Studio executives, screenwriters and directors have spent more than 30 years trying to bring the character back to the silver screen 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 that he wanted to make a “comedy of manners – a very talkative, verbal comedy” rather than 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 have a lot, yes, in another time, a few years ago we would have bought this, but we make our own stuff and we don’t need it.”
Mottola eventually accepted the 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 be paying off with critics, who have given the film an 85% rating on the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes.
Read the full interview on Uproxx.