Let me first introduce myself. My name is David Leo Schultz – screenwriter, actor, comedian, independent filmmaker, but you probably know me primarily from my work as a Lyft driver.
The following letters to you are about two things: IMPOSSIBLE DREAMS & GRATITUDE.
Mr. Lorne Michaels,
My impossible dream? I want to AUDITION for your show. As I’m confident you have never heard this request before, I feel the need to explain myself. My dream is NOT to be a writer and/or cast member on your show. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a weirdo. Of course, I WANT to work at SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. But seeing as that is a cosmic lottery ticket, my impossible dream is simply this: I JUST WANT TO AUDITION FOR YOU – LIVE.
I dream of SNL flying me to New York City (coach will be fine), and entering into Rockefeller Center (preferably past the gift shop and security guards) and standing on that infamous stage in STUDIO 8H. And then it happens … my audition begins. I’m sweaty and nervous. The brighter-than-the-sun stage lights come on, and I see you in the crowd. I see you not laughing. But it doesn’t faze me. Why? Because I’m picturing you naked, sir. That’s why. It’s a trick I learned in speech class.
I can honestly say with 100% confidence – I AM READY FOR MY AUDITION. I’ve studied at the sketch comedy schools. I’ve studied with a former original SNL writer. And I have even studied with a Groundling Alum … who almost got on the show once. But he assures me he’s not bitter and matter of fact, “he didn’t want to be on the show anyway.”
I’d like to give you a small preview of what you can expect in my live audition. I have an original character unlike anything you’ve seen before. He wears glasses and he’s called, “Smart Guy.” I, unfortunately, can’t reveal anything more about “Smart Guy”… because … well … here’s the thing about comedy, Lorne, comedy is about breaking expectations. So, I want you to be surprised! I have this other really fun character called “Pratfall Guy.” Nice try, Lorne! But I’m not going to even give you a hint about what this character is like! You’ll just have to wait for the audition. Oh, wait … LOL … I almost forgot! I have this other really, really, really, really, really, really funny comedic character called, “Struggles with Depression Guy.” I’ll be honest, though, the audiences haven’t been responding to him as much as I would like. I may have to drop him from my act, which is a real bummer, since I have been working on that character my whole life.
If by a miracle I make it past the audition, and the 2nd audition, and the 3rd audition, and the 4th audition, and then I make it past the next round—you know, the one where you fly to my hometown and meet my family and then I fly to your hometown and meet your family—assuming this all goes well, then it will happen … I WILL GET AN INTERVIEW WITH YOU—THE LORNE MICHAELS. Don’t worry, I’ve heard the stories about “waiting.” I will wait and wait and wait and wait for you, good sir. I’m a waiter. But not anymore—I’m a Lyft driver. But in terms of real hardcore, “Do-you-really-want-this-job-type-waiting?!” Let me just say this: I’ll be bringing my sleeping bag, pillow, toiletries, retainer, an adult-sized onesie, and my one-person-sized camping tent. I’ll show you waiting like you’ve never seen before!
But seriously, all sarcasm and silliness aside, I would like to just like to say … THANK YOU! Audition or no audition, I mean that. Let’s just say … the home I grew up in wasn’t a very “happy one.” But every Saturday Night at 11:30 I had something to look forward to—Saturday Night Live. And your show transported me from a reality of pain and fear to one of joy and laughter. It’s true what they say, “Laughter is the best medicine.” But the medicine I needed wasn’t for my body … it was for my heart. So again, thank you.
Kindest regards from your FUTURE CAST MEMBER, who you, unfortunately, had to fire halfway through his first season,
David Leo Schultz
Mr. Bill Murray,
My impossible dream that involves you is also intertwined with my gratitude for you.
Everyone – it seems – has a great “Bill Murray Story.” Let me begin by saying THANK YOU! You gave me one of the best BILL MURRAY STORIES of all time.
I was once working on a movie, a movie I wrote with some friends, and we were trying to cast some pretty cool people in the project. I told my buddy, “You know what?! Screw it! I’m going to try to get a hold of Bill Murray.” He thought I was stupid.
This was maybe just right before you started the “1-800 number thing,” and I contacted an old agency of yours … and they said, “We’re not his agents anymore, but you can contact this number. It might be his number, but we’re not sure.”
I was nervous as hell, but I mustered up the courage and dialed the number.
I still remember the message of your assistant, “Hi, this is the answering service for Bill Murray. YES, the real Bill Murray. So leave all of the info after the beep etc. etc.” Well, I nervously left my “pitch” for the comedy movie I wrote.
Months went by—NOTHING.
And then one day I was working in a production office—and not to be gross—but I had to go poop.
So I go into the restroom and I’m doing my thang … and then my cell phone buzzes … the CALLER ID says: UNAVAILABLE. Normally I wouldn’t have answered a number like this, but for whatever reason, on this particular day … I did.
“Hello, this is David Leo Schultz.”
“Hi, this is Bill Murray, I’m calling in regards to your project.”
ME—ON THE TOILET—POOPING!
“Excuse me … who did you say this is?” “
“This is Bill Murray.”
And there’s no one on the planet that can do a pitch-perfect Bill Murray audible impression … so I KNEW! I KNEW IT WAS YOU!
“Oh, hi … Bill … I mean … Mr. Billiam Murray.”
You remember that great Chris Farley sketch? “The Chris Farley Show.” That’s what was happening to me in that moment … all of my professionalism went straight out the restroom window … and I was like, “oh, man WOW! Hi! So cool of you to call!”
And you said, “Hey man, I think your idea for your movie is funny, but I’m unavailable.”
ME: “OK…COOL…NO PROBLEM!…but…Mr. Murray?”
”One day … I’m going to write a Bill Murray Movie for me and you to do together. That’s my dream! Somehow … someway … cool?”
You were very sweet, polite, and you reiterated that you thought my idea for my current movie was a funny idea.
I was in comedy heaven.
And in regards to my “Dream” for a movie for you and me to do down the road? You simply said, “Well, you never know.”
We ended the phone call. I flushed the toilet. I pulled up my pants. I washed my hands, simultaneously staring into the mirror with my mouth agape. I exited the restroom and I SCREAMED at the top of my lungs, “THE MOST AMAZING THING IN THE WHOLE WORLD JUST HAPPENED TO ME!”
To be clear: it had nothing to do with the pooping.
There was a lot of jumping, yelling, and cartwheels in that moment.
Many years have passed, but … Bill … I’ve got the movie. I’ve waited till I figured out the perfect one to write for you. It’s awesome. My impossible dream would be … to do THIS movie with you.
So here’s my number: 323-632-9289 (Just in case you’ve lost it).
Or better yet I will fly to wherever you are and we can hang out and I can pitch it to you in person. Tequila is on me. Well, not on me. It’s in a bottle in a bar, but … look I’ll just send you the script. But I think it would be more fun to hang out and talk about the movie.
Even if you pass on the idea to do this movie with me … at the very least … you’ll have a great “David Leo Schultz” story!
Love (too soon?),
David Leo Schultz
And last but not least….
Dear Mr. Bruce Willis,
I’d like to tell you a story. I was 8 years old when my Mom took me to see Die Hard in the theater. She was also the one who turned me on to SNL. I think she knew what would take me decades to figure out. I needed an escape. I LOVED DIE HARD. But you see, Bruce, I’m not just a fan for the sake of being a fan—there’s a story behind it. The movie Die Hard, and the character of John McClane, gave an 8-year-old kid hope. I can still remember running around in my yard barefoot, dressed only in suit pants and a white tank top, shooting terrorists with the plastic machine gun I got from Toys “R” Us. I would punch trees as if they were bad guys. I would roll around in the grass pretending to shoot Hans, Karl, and Heinrich. But there was a reason for it. A reason that goes beyond childlike play. I was a kid who needed a hero. In a sense, the house I grew up in was my “Nakatomi Tower.” And both my Mom and I were trapped like “hostages”—not by terrorists—but by her asshole boyfriend who would get drunk and terrorize us both. He was our “Hans.”
Even though it sounds stupid, I’m glad I watched Die Hard way too many times. I’m glad I did all those pretend punches and kicks. I’m glad I pretended to be John McClane. Because in the years to come my imagination would come in handy when my Mom’s boyfriends wanted to get drunk and teach me how to fight. I wish I could tell you I always kicked their ass, but that wouldn’t be true. Every once in a while, though, I did get in a punch or two. And in those moments, I too felt like a cowboy. I’m not saying I think the movie Die Hard helped save my life. But I do think it gave an 8-year-old kid courage. Enough courage to escape my own “Nakatomi Tower.” And on one particular day, it did give me enough courage to fight back and watch our own “Hans Gruber” be put in handcuffs and thrown in the back of a police car. I guarantee you, that is a day I did say, “Yippie Ki-yay mother fucker!” So, thank you. Seriously. Thank you.
So, what’s my impossible dream for you? Well, it was to play your son in Die Hard 5, but then Jai Courtney was born. So, what’s my NEW impossible dream? I want to write Die Hard 6.
Now Mr. Bruce Willis, Mr. Len Wiseman, & Mr. Lorenzo Di Bonaventura…. I know Die Hard: Year One is in the works, and trust me, I’ll be the first one in line to buy a movie ticket to any and all Die Hard movies. BUT I think we need to see ONE MORE JOHN McCLANE, ALONE AND ON HIS OWN, KICKIN’ ASS AND TAKIN’ NAMES MOVIE to finish the DIE HARD SAGA … BEFORE we go back and see what John McClane was like as a rookie.
So, Here’s the Die Hard 6 movie pitch in one sentence:
THE DIE HARD STORY BEGAN AT NAKATOMI…..SO IT NEEDS TO END AT NAKATOMI.
Every great story, screenplay, and franchise needs to come full circle. And so should Die Hard 6. The secret sauce of Die Hard 6 will be what I like to call, “taking a trip to Nostalgia City.” There is a major character in the Die Hard Franchise that we haven’t seen since the original movie and that’s the NAKATOMI TOWER itself. Before we go to a prequel—I say we finish the story. And to finish the story we need to go back where all this started. We need to go back to Nakatomi.
So what happens? John McClane and his two kids are flying back into LA because he is being honored for saving the hostages of Nakatomi Tower, on the same night, and in the same place where it all happened … 30 years before! Now HOLD ON … I know what you’re thinking … you’ve heard a pitch similar to this before … BUT (no offense intended, but that pitch involved him going to Nakatomi Headquarters in Japan—THIS IS A MISTAKE). Got nothing against Japan. I love Japan. Japan, if you’re listening … I love you. Now …back to the pitch … It’s crucial for this saga of John McClane and him dying hard … to end where it began, and that has to be back at Nakatomi Tower in LA.
His kids are playfully trying to get John and Holly back together, while McClane is just trying to get through the night because he hates all this attention bullshit—and California! But it is a celebration, and Christmas Eve, so it has all the nostalgic feelings of a family reunion that come with reconnecting with some familiar faces. Some of which are expected and some of which are … NOT EXPECTED. And it’s with the RETURN of a GHOST OF McCLANE’S PAST when all hell breaks loose! All over again! But this time the money isn’t the mission! This time …THE MISSION IS McCLANE! Okay … and the money, but mostly just McClane. Once again, McClane needs to be trapped and alone, but this time our hero needs to discover that he can’t and shouldn’t do everything on his own. So this fatal flaw of McClane, that was born in Nakatomi out of necessity and survival, needs to die … and it needs to die hard … in Nakatomi! Because if it doesn’t, this could finally be the end of John McClane.
Hey, but guess what? This movie has a happy ending, and new friends are made. Friends that could learn a lesson or two from a veteran cop like McClane. And how this movie ends is where Die Hard: Year One would begin.
I know this open letter thing was a little crazy, but I once heard it said that “To live a life without risk, is to risk not living.” I told you my impossible dreams, but you have the power and influence to make the impossible … possible!
And now … To the DIE HARD creators and fans … Here’s your SURPRISE!
I wrote the spec screenplay for this pitch. I WROTE DIE HARD 6—WHY?
Because…Yippie Ki-Yay, THAT’S WHY!
You can download the spec screenplay at diehardsix.com. And when you are reading my screenplay and you think to yourself, “Wow, this thing is way too long.” Just remember when Dan Aykroyd turned in his first draft of BLUES BROTHERS it was 324 pages long. So blame him … I know I do.
And you can use these hashtags to spread the word:
Or…you can make up your own like this:
David Leo Schultz
You can learn more about David Leo Schultz by going to: diehardsix.com
Photo: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP; Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP; Evan Agostini/Invision/AP