Writer and film director, Judd Apatow, has previously worked on several projects with various members of what is colloquially known as the ‘Frat Pack’. This collective of comedian actors includes the likes of Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell and others.
Most notably, Apatow has a good working relationship and friendship with actor Ben Stiller. Apatow worked as a writer for The Ben Stiller Show and the two have collaborated on some other projects as they both rose from considerable obscurity to worldwide fame. The Cable Guy, Freaks and Geeks, and Anchorman are some of the American comedy films that the two found themselves working side by side on.
Some of the best stories in the entertainment business are oftentimes hidden gems and seemingly hyperbolic to the point of absurdity. “I remember Ben Stiller and I went and had dinner with Mick Jagger,” Apatow started retelling his bizarre story on The Howard Stern Show of how they nearly worked with the Rolling Stones on a film project. “Oh no, I totally ruined it,” Apatow added in reply to Stern saying, “Now that, I’m jealous of.”
The Rolling Stones rang Apatow and asked if he would do a movie featuring a Stones concert with sections of comedy in between. The proposal came at the heels of The Ben Stiller Show getting cancelled and Stiller was still looking for his break.
It is no secret that Mick Jagger, despite his astronomical fame and stardom as a rock ‘n’ roll singer, has always wanted to be a film star. Jagger made his foray into acting on the big screen in Ned Kelly (1970) and Performance (1970) in which the latter he appropriately played a rock star named Turner. He stumbled across various roadblocks during the rest of the ’70s and he starred in some films including a Werner Herzog film, but his scenes were eventually cut when Jagger couldn’t complete the movie due to the Stones touring.
The singer took an easy route when he starred in the 1987 film Running Out Of Luck, as he played another rock ‘n’ roll star named ‘Mick’, ironically. His most successful film happened in 2001 in George Hickenlooper’s Man From Elysian Fields.
It seems that Mick Jagger wanted another shot at starring in his own film this time, one that utilised an interesting hybrid of documentary-style and narrative – not unlike Marc Bolan and Ringo Starr’s Born to Boogie; the 1987 film that features live footage of English glam rock band, T-Rex, mixed with a surreal narrative story. There was another key element as well; Mick Jagger wanted Brad Pitt in the film too. The young star, at the time, was not famous yet.
“Many years ago, Ben Stiller and I wrote a movie for the Rolling Stones — this was back in 1993 or so,” Apatow explained in Indie Wire. “They wanted to do a concert film where there was a storyline going on in between the songs, so Ben and I wrote the script.”
Once the script was complete, Apatow and Stiller were tasked with pitching it to the rest of the Stones. The two actors met with Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood. “Can you imagine something more terrifying than looking Keith Richards in the eye and pitching a movie that goofed on his band?”
The seemingly mythic meeting took place in Toronto where the band were rehearsing for the upcoming Voodoo Lounge tour and, after the meeting, they were invited to watch the band rehearse. “We were the only people there, and we were literally eight feet from them. The best moment of my life as a rock fan was when Mick Jagger walked over to Ben and I and said, ‘You guys OK? Can I get you a glass of water?’ I turned around and said, ‘Never forget this moment — this will never happen again.’”
Although The Rolling Stones ultimately agreed to do the film, the project was shelved by Universal Studios as Brad Pitt was busy with another film; Seven.
Watch the full interview where Judd Apatow retells the story on The Howard Stern Show, below.