Strangers With Candy
(The Movie)



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Story:

Jerri Blank, a fortysomething former user, boozer, loser is just being released from prison. She returns to her hometown of Flatpoint to learn that not only did her running away bring on the death of her mother, but it also put her father, Guy, into a stress-induced coma. Somehow in the midst of his coma, Guy married his second wife, Sara, and became the father of Jerri's half brother, Derrick. Sara wants to get rid of Jerri as quickly as possible, but as soon as the family physician, Dr. Putney, notices Guy's slight reaction to Jerri's mere presence, he recommends that Jerri should move back home and try to take Guy back to a happier time when Jerri was still his little girl. Jerri decides that the best way to do this is for her to pick up her life exactly where she left off by re-enrolling as a freshman at Flatpoint High School and making her daddy proud of her.

Jerri meets her reluctant new best friend, Tammi Littlenut, while waiting outside the office of Flatpoint High's principal, Onyx Blackman. After having mistaken Jerri for an applicant for a custodial position, Blackman allows Jerri to return to his school as a freshman, against his better judgment. She reports to her first class, science, and is met with an openly hostile reception by the teacher, Chuck Noblet, a religious fanatic who believes that the theory of evolution is a farce. After class ends, Noblet gives a few stern words of warning to Jerri, then he goes to break off his clandestine relationship with Flatpoint's sensitive art teacher, Geoffrey Jellineck, who is devastated.

Meanwhile, Principal Blackman gets a surprise-attack visit from two members of the school board, Henry and Alice. They're not pleased by the fact that Flatpoint's student's haven't proven their academic abilities to the level at which Blackman claimed them to be, so they threaten to take away future funding and they say that they expect a refund of all moneys allotted to the school previously for the current school year. Unfortunately, that money has all been lost to a bookie named Nico during a very unlucky gambling streak. So now Blackman either has to find some way to improve his students' academic numbers or he'll end up in jail. And if he doesn't pay Nico the rest of the money he owes, he just might end up being decapitated.

It turns out that there is one answer to Blackman's and Jerri's dilemmas: an upcoming Science Fair. If Jerri can win the competition she can make her father proud of her, and perhaps snap him out of his coma. And if Blackman can show that he has students who are capable enough to create a winning project, he will not have to return all of the funds that the school board has already given him, and he'll be able to pay off his debts once new funds are again approved for his school.

To ensure victory, Blackman decides to pass over his own science teacher, Chuck Noblet, and brings in a Science Fair ringer named Roger Beekman—a regional legend within science teaching circles—to shepherd a specially selected Flatpoint team. Noblet is told that he can also assemble his own team, but it's clear that Blackman's hopes are tied to Beekman's ability to add razzle-dazzle and pizzazz to even the most mundane science presentation. Blackman offers Beekman all of the school's best students, but Beekman is so confident he tells the principal that Noblet can have first choice of students for his team. When Geoffrey offers to be Beekman's assistant, it widens the rift between himself and Noblet.

Noblet tries to stock the core of his "think tank" with all of the Koreans and Jews in his class—with Indonesian Megawatti Sucarnaputri as a wildcard, but Jerri gets a note from the unsympathetic and impatient Flatpoint grief counselor, Peggy Callas, stating that she has to be allowed on the team, who have dubbed themselves the Fig Neutrons.

When Jerri is sitting in the cafeteria with Megawatti and Tammi, her fellow Figs, she catches sight of a popular jock named Brason and becomes fixated on him. There are a few problems, though: 1. Brason has a girlfriend, Monica, and, 2. the two of them are on Beekman's Science Fair team. Well, those aren't the only problems. There's also the fact that Brason, Monica, and all of the other cool students are completely repulsed by Jerri, even more so than Jerri's friends are.

Later, the members of Beekman's team realize that they will actually need more than just flash and sizzle to win the Science Fair; they'll actually need a Science Fair project. Jellineck inspires them by saying that whenever he is looking for an original idea for creating a piece of art he takes out his tracing paper. That gives Monica and Brason the idea of finding and exploiting Noblet's team's "weak link"—who happens to be none other than Jerri Blank—and stealing the Fig Neutrons' project idea.

Monica plans a party and instructs Brason to invite Jerri to be his date, so he can gain her confidence and steal her team's plans and schematics. After taking a hit off a joint at the party and having a subsequent freak-out, Jerri is forced to leave, so she and Brason head back to her crib for a little alone time. After failing in her attempt to seduce Brason, Jerri ends up allowing him to take her team's plans for their "soup-can super conducter" to prove that she trusts him.

After Jerri's betrayal is revealed, she is kicked off the team, but she feels guilty so she decides to brainstorm a new idea for a replacement project. The Figs are reluctant, but after they hear her prison-inspired idea for making a homemade battery, and since it's the proverbial eleventh hour, they decide that it's their only hope for a possible victory. And Jellineck, who was unceremoniously kicked off of Beekman's team, kicks himself onto Noblet's team to help them with the showmanship aspect of their project. Megawatti suggests that they use the traditional music of his homeland, Indonesia, to accompany their Science Fair presentation.

Saturday, the day of the Science Fair, finally arrives and things turn out much differently from the way everyone expected or hoped. And, of course, Jerri ends up learning a very valuable lesson. I don't know exactly what that lesson is, but it seems to mean something to Jerri, so that's really all that matters.

Through it all, Jerri has had to put up with her resentful stepmother, her annoying half-brother, and the hostile family meat man. Plus she's had to deal with her father's condition, work her way into the popular crowd, fight temptation around every corner, and do all the wrong things the right way.

 


Articles, Interviews, Reviews, News Items:

 
Evolution of a movie poster:
(from most-recent to earliest)

TH!NKFilm's final poster for the ''Strangers With Candy'' movie
TH!INKFilm's final poster

Swedish poster
Ya, dis is vot de Svedish poster looks like

The Warner Independent Pictures (original distributor) SWC page
From the Warner Independent website, before
their deal to distribute the film fell through

Old poster for the ''Strangers With Candy'' movie from the Warner Independent era
Warner Independent's first poster,
obviously inspired by American Beauty

The original Roberts/David onesheet, during pre-production
The original "onesheet" used
during pre-production

The original Roberts/David onesheet, during pre-production
Page 2 of the onesheet


 
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Directed by:
    Paul Dinello
Executive Producers:
    David Letterman, Worldwide Pants, Inc.
    Rob Burnett, Worldwide Pants, Inc.
    Fred Nigro, Worldwide Pants, Inc.
Produced by:
    Mark Roberts, Roberts/David Films, Inc.
    Lorena David, Roberts/David Films, Inc.
    Valerie Schaer Nathanson Worldwide Pants, Inc.
Distributed by:
    TH!NKFilm  — Visit the official movie website, strangerswithcandymovie.com


Cast: (in order of appearance)

Amy Sedaris ... Geraldine 'Jerri' Antonia Blank
Paul Sedaris ... Bus driver
Chandra Wilson ... Inmate
Kristy Thomas ... Inmate
Dee Finely ... Inmate
Deborah Rush ... Sara Blank
Sir Ian Holm ... Dr. Putney
Dan Hedaya ... Guy Blank
Joseph Cross ... Derrick Blank
Elisabeth Harnois ... Monica
Alexis Dziena ... Melissa
Ivette Diaz Dumeng ... Melanie
Carlo Alban ... Megawatti Sacarnaputri
Gregory Hollimon ... Onyx Blackman
Hechter Ubarry ... Nico (scene deleted)
Allison Janney ... Alice
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Henry
Stephen Colbert ... Chuck Noblet
Paul Dinello ... Geoffrey Jellineck
Dolores Duffy ... Iris Puffybush
Maria Thayer ... Tammi Littlenut
Timothy Hsu ... Mascot
Michael Rivera ... Maniaco
Thomas Guiry ... P John
Wallace Little ... Trake (character credited as Trace)
David Pasquesi ... Stew
Sarah Jessica Parker ... Peggy Callas
Matthew Broderick ... Roger Beekman
David Rakoff ... Boswell
Cal Robertson ... Les Tuckles (scene deleted; credited as Cal Robinson)
Billy Erb ... Teacher (dialogue cut)
Callie Thorne ... Teacher (dialogue cut)
Chris Pratt ... Brason
Sarah Thyre ... Coach Wolf
Kristen Johnston ... Coach Divers
Justin Theroux ... Carlo Honklin
Lian Moy ... Lian
Olivia Oguma ... Olivia
Jeremy Chu ... Jeremy
Evelyn McGee ... Clair Noblet
 
Uncredited cast: (listed alphabetically)

Alicia Ashley ... Rolonda
Randy Blair ... Student in Noblet's class
Jonah Bobo ... Shamus Noblet
Jaclynn Tiffany Brown ... Flatpoint Preppy Girl
Leanne Cabrera ... Gym Student
Lionel Anthony Cook ... Student
Lorena David ... Flatpoint Faculty (Teacher's Lounge)
Ryan Donowho ... Stanley
Tony Lagarto ... Buster Highman (Teacher's Lounge; character name is my own invention)
Matt Lappin ... Demon with 100 eyes
Christopher Larkin ... Kim
Tony Longoria ... Flatpoint Faculty (Teacher's Lounge)
Todd Oldham ... Flatpoint Facutly (Teacher's Lounge)
Mark Roberts ... Shirtless cafeteria worker
Jessica Rothert ... High school student
Elizabeth Sallay ... Flatpoint Student
Kathy Sedaris ... Prisoner on bus
Gina Vetro ... Prison Inmate
 
Crew:

Oliver Bokelberg ... Director of Photography
Robert Currie ... Assistant Prop Master
Delano Grove ... Song ("Atomic Car")
Victoria Farrell ... Costume Designer
Scott Ferlisi ... Assistant Locations Manager
Angelo Gallagher ... Makeup Artist
Fabian Garcia ... Hair Stylist
Lauren Grey ... Casting Associate
Mariana Hellmund ... Script Supervisor
Akeo Ihara ... Prop Master
Drew Jiritano (SPFX Kablouwee) ... Special Effects
Kabuki ... Key Makeup Artist
Steven "Perfidia" Kirkham ... Key Hair Stylist
Ronnie Kupferwasser ... Locations Manager
Matt Lappin ... Comedy Consultant
Jeff Lazar ... 1st Assistant Director
Mandy Lyons ... Sarah Jessica Parker's Hair Stylist
Teresa Mastropierro ... Production Designer
Joseph Middleton ... Casting Director
Michael R. Miller ... Editor
Richard Move ... Choreographer
Mylene Santos ... Art Director
Paul Shaffer ... Music
Antonia Xereas ... Assistant Costume Designer
Marcelo Zarvos ... Music


Music:
  • "Betrayal" - Written by Paul Dinello and Paul Shaffer; Sung by The Fonzi Thornton Caballeros; Published by Postvalda Music; Administered by Warner Chappell Music (SESAC); Master Recordings courtesy of Worldwide Trousers Incorporated  [Note: This song starts to play just before Jerri has her mystic experience in which her father communicates with her to give her courage and inspiration. It also plays at the end of the film's final scene and into the end credits.]
  • "She's a Fig Neutron" - Written by Paul Dinello and Paul Shaffer; Sung by Gordon Grody and D-Fonz; Published by Postvalda Music; Administered by Warner Chappell Music (SESAC); Master Recordings courtesy of Worldwide Trousers Incorporated  [Note: A version of this song plays as Tammi, Megawatti, and Jerri walk to school wearing their Fig Neutrons shirts, and the full version plays during the closing credits dance sequence.]
  • "Schizophrenalize" - Written by Paul Dinello and Paul Shaffer; Sung by James "D Train" Williams; Published by Postvalda Music; Administered by Warner Chappell Music (SESAC); Master Recordings courtesy of Worldwide Trousers Incorporated  [Note: This song plays as Jerri has her freak-out at Monica's party.]
  • "Apakah-Lampu" - Performed by Rachael Christian and the Evil Genius Orchestra [Note: This is the song that Megawatti is listening to in the cafeteria, and it's also the song Jerri lip-syncs to during the Fig Neutrons' presentation at the State Science Fair competition.]
  • "Float On" - by The Floaters  [Note: Acquiring the rights to this song took up most of the film's music budget, that's why they went to Paul Shaffer for help. It plays the first time that Jerri sees Brason in the cafeteria, when Noblet is changing the school sign to insult Roger Beekman, and when Jerri dances in her bedroom as she tries to seduce Brason. Since the song used up so much of the music budget, they apparently wanted to get their money's worth out of it.]
  • "Atomic Car" - by Delano Grove  [Note: This song was cut after Sundance, but it is included as a bonus feature on the DVD.]


Trivia:
  • The film shoot took place in New Jersey from June 28th to July 30th (Note:  filming actually wrapped at 7:00am on the 31st). Some missing scenes were later filmed on Friday, November 5th, 2004, and a closing credits dance sequence was filmed at some point after the film's Sundance premiere in January of 2005.
  • Jerri's freak-out at Monica's party, right after she takes one hit off of a joint, was inspired by a scene in "Angel Dusted," the 1981 After-School Special in which Helen Hunt takes a hit off a PCP-laced doobie and jumps out a window.
  • If anything ever deserved a "Crazy Credits" mention at the IMDB it's the one at the end of Strangers With Candy that says "Digital Penis Removal."  After seeing the SWC movie at Sundance (in January 2005) I'd suspected that they'd never get away with keeping the quick background shots of erect penises that could be seen lining the door frame in Jerri's bedroom (she had male porn star playing cards taped up around the door). I'd also suspected that the penises were probably a big part of the reason behind Warner Independent's decision to cancel their distribution deal, because there's no greater threat to American society than even a hint of an erect penis. So watch the closing credits with your friends and give them a little chuckle by pointing out the "Digital Penis Removal" credit when it comes up.
  • After David Letterman's Worldwide Pants came through with the money to produce the film (after a secret investor had backed out) a line of dialogue was written into the party scene at Monica's house to plug Letterman's Explod-O-Pop popcorn.
  • The first choice to direct the film was Juan Jose Campanella, who directed many of the series' best episodes, but he had a scheduling conflict and couldn't do it.
  • Amy Sedaris wanted to get Willie Nelson to play Jerri's father, Guy Blank, because she thought that people would like Jerri more if she had such a cool dad.
  • Unlike the series, in which Guy Blank's catatonic state was never acknowledged, they decided to explain his condition in the film by saying that he went into a grief-induced coma after Jerri ran away from home. What they didn't explain, however, is how Guy could have courted, married, and impregnated Sara during his long period of inanimation. I like to think that perhaps she just moved into this catatonic man's home, like a squatter, and got a Justice of the Peace friend of hers to marry them.
  • Just as Rocky Horror Picture Show fan Sal Piro, president of the National Rocky Horror fan club, was given a cameo in the film's sequel, Shock Treatment, I was rewarded with a non-speaking role as a Flatpoint High School faculty member in the Teacher's Lounge scene in which Matthew Broderick's character, Roger Beekman, is introduced. To date, this is the only movie scene in which Broderick and his wife Sarah Jessica Parker, who played Flatpoint grief counselor Peggy Callas, have appeared together. While spending the day on the set with the two, I mentioned to Sarah Jessica that it was kind of ironic that I was a high school student at the time when I first saw her as she was portraying a high school student in the 1982 TV show "Square Pegs", and the first time I'd seen her husband was when he played a high school student in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and there we all were, two decades later, all playing high school teachers at the same school. The experience more than made up for the fact that I'd missed the opportunity to take Stephen Colbert up on his offer for me to appear in the final closing credits dance sequence for the series' last episode, "The Last Temptation of Blank", when I'd spent the day on the set back in 2000.
  • July 9th, the day on which the Teacher's Lounge scene was shot, was the only day of the movie shoot in which Amy Sedaris was not required to be on set. She showed up anyway, after having brainstormed an idea the previous day for her to do an unplanned cameo in the scene as the Lounge's cocktail waitress. She, Todd Oldham, Victoria Farrell, and I all tossed around ideas about the character's backstory: she's a Russian immigrant (Tatiana? Svetlana? Anastasia?) with a cocaine habit and no eyebrows. The make-up artist took care of the eyebrow situation, and a little powdered sugar from a craft services doughnut served as the coke. Of course, no matter how closely you scrutinize the scene, these details can't be seen, but it was fun for us anyway.
  • Amy Sedaris's crafts club and people from Todd Oldham's studio, including Todd himself, made most of the Science Fair projects, posters, and props for the film's climactic scene.
  • According to Dr. Putney (Sir Ian Holm), Jerri Blank was the only baby that he ever delivered who was born with a full set of teeth, and he claims to have the scars to prove it.
  • After Sir Ian Holm's son, a "Strangers With Candy" fan, convinced him to appear in the film, the writers considered naming his character Dr. Baggins in honor of his Lord of the Rings Hobbit character, Bilbo Baggins.
  • It was originally reported in TV Guide and other places that Sarah Jessica Parker would be playing a "very funny, sexy French teacher".  Although it probably would have been easy to write jokes involving a French teacher, it was probably too difficult to weave such a character into the storyline.  The presence of Parker's grief counselor, Peggy Callas, makes more sense in the plot.
  • The role of Alice, played by Allison Janney ("The West Wing", Drop Dead Gorgeous), was originally intended for Amy Sedaris's Maid in Manhattan co-star, Natasha Richardson. However, Richardson was in France at the time that the scene was to be filmed. If they couldn't get Allison Janney, the next actress on their wish list was Joan Allen (The Bourne Supremacy, Pleasantville). They also considered the possibility of retailoring the part for Jennifer Coolidge (Legally Blonde, Best in Show).
  • Amy Sedaris previously worked with Allison Janney in a brief scene at the beginning of the Harrison Ford film, Six Days, Seven Nights. Amy had also worked on stage with Callie Thorne in "The Country Club" and with Sarah Jessica Parker in "Wonder of the World."  Amy and Sarah Jessica became fast friends and Amy soon had a recurring role on Sarah Jessica's hit HBO series, "Sex & and the City", as Courtney Masterson, Carrie Bradshaw's book publisher. Amy would later appear in a couple episodes of Thorne's acclaimed FX series, "Rescue Me". David Rakoff and Amy's brother David have been friends for many years, and Rakoff worked with Amy on stage in the Talent Family's play "The Book of Liz."  Rakoff and Amy both also appeared in the short film, "Bad Bosses Go To Hell."  Paul Dinello had previously worked for producers Mark Roberts and Lorena David in their 1997 film, Plump Fiction.  Other celebs making cameos in the SWC movie—Matthew Broderick, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Justin Theroux, Kristen Johnston, Todd Oldham—have been close friends of Amy Sedaris for years.
  • Roger Beekman appears on the cover of Science Teacher Weekly.
  • David Rakoff's character, Boswell, is named for James Boswell (1740-95), a Scottish lawyer whose chronicle of the life of English lexicographer and poet Samuel Johnson (1709-84) is considered to be one of the first true biographies.
  • Geoffrey Jellineck was rejected by the Peace Corps.
  • Sara was a stewardess before she marryied Guy Blank.
  • Brason's locker is number 3093.
  • The Fagan family, members of which appeared in almost every episode of "Strangers With Candy", visited the Science Fair set on July 21, 2004.  Liz Fagan returned to the set on July 30, 2004, the final night of filming, to watch them shoot the party scene at Monica's house. Tim Fagan can be seen in the "Sniper Drill" deleted scene on the DVD. He can be seen on the left side of the frame, beneath the window.
  • Amy Sedaris wanted to do a cameo as Principal Blackman's mother, who would have had a gambling problem and been chained to a radiator.
  • According to a sign on the cafeteria wall ("For a good time call Jerri"), the Blank's phone number is 555-6175.
  • Ileana Douglas and Jason Biggs were among the stars who wanted parts in the film.
  • Canadian actor and former Abercrombie & Fitch model Taylor Kitsch was supposed to have a role in the movie (Brason?), but the Vancouver native had to bow out because of work-visa problems. He must have worked out all of the paperwork, though, because he went on to appear in three other films that came out in the summer of 2006: The Covenant, Snakes on a Plane, and John Tucker Must Die.
  • Carlo Alban's character, Megawatti, was named for Megawati Sukarnoputri (born 23 January 1947), former President of Indonesia (July 2001 - October 2004).  Some Indonesian sources spell her name Soekarnoputri.  Sukarnoputri means "daughter of Sukarno" and it is not the former President's surname: Javanese do not have surnames.  She should simply be referred to as Megawati or Mega.
  • Carlo Alban auditioned for, and was the top choice for, the role that went to Orlando Pabotoy on the "Strangers With Candy" TV series.
  • When Noblet enters his classroom after the Teachers Lounge scene, the formula on the blackboard is for trinitrotoluene (aka TNT).
  • Mark Ibold, former bassist for Pavement, designed the Fig Neutrons' team shirts.
  • The prison scenes at the beginning were the first scenes shot for the film. And the party at Monica's house was filmed on the last day of the shooting schedule.
  • When Noblet says to Jerri, "I kill you," during the scene in which she tries to come up with a new Science Fair idea, Colbert was doing an hommage to William Shatner's Captain Kirk, who said that line to Leonard Limoy as Mr. Spock. Also in the same scene, when the students are supporting the prostrate Noblet, the visual imagery references numerous artistic rendition's of Christ after his descent from the cross.
  • Chuck reads a passage from (the fictional) "Galileo's Letters to the Corinthians" (chapter 3, verse 16) to his class from his "science" text book (page 15):  "And when the demon did give me the telescope I was sore afraid, for the lights of heaven were beyond my knowing."
  • The moment in which Jerri stabs Derrick's hand with a fork is reminiscent of a similar hand stabbing in the John Waters film Desperate Living.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker (Peggy Callas) played Dan Hedaya's (Guy Blank) mistress in the 1996 comedy The First Wives Club.
 
Deleted Scenes:  (these scenes were cut due to budgetary and/or time constraints)

  • There was a prison scene that was supposed to be shown at the beginning of the film, a portion of which was included in a montage, in which Jerri was being led to a cell by one inmate, thinking that she was going to be ambushed, but it turned out that she was being given a surprise going-away party. Before she realized her mistake, Jerri had already stuck the woman who'd brought her to the cell in the stomach with a shiv. Chandra Wilson, from the ABC hit "Grey's Anatomy," appears in this scene, which is included as part of the DVD's Deleted Scenes feature. Many other prison sequences were not included with the Deleted Scenes, but portions of some were used during the montage.
  • Much more footage of Jerri's ride on the prison bus was filmed, but doesn't appear with the Deleted Scenes on the DVD. Amy Sedaris's brother Paul Sedaris played the part of the bus driver, and his wife Kathy was a passenger.
  • An extension of the scene in which Sara agrees to let Jerri stay in her old room shows Jerri actually entering the room and settling herself on the bed. The room is too clean and prissy for her taste, though. This extension appears on the DVD.
  • An extension of the scene in which Sara drives Jerri to school shows Jerri turning on the car radio—which is playing Delano Grove's "Atomic Car"—and Sara promptly turning the radio off again. This extension can be seen on the DVD.
  • An extension of the scene in which Blackman frets about the money he owes Nico shows him talking to the school mascot, telling him to keep the costume clean to cut back on dry-cleaning bills.
  • A quick clip of Jerri slipping and falling in the hallway can be seen on the DVD.
  • A hallway scene involving a sniper drill can be seen on the DVD.  The sound of gunshots fills the hall and students drop to the floor. Then Blackman announces that it was just a drill and the students rise and continue on their way as though nothing unusual happened.
  • Callie Thorne and Billy Erb originally had dialogue during the Teacher's Lounge scene—the one in which Matthew Broderick's character was introduced. Their excised conversation alluded to another deleted scene in which students were going wild and throwing desks out of the windows of an adjoining classroom, while their teachers were all gathered together in the Lounge, leaving their pupils unsupervised. These clips don't appear with the DVD's deleted scenes.
  • After the clips of rioting students, there was a scene in which Noblet storms down the hallway after leaving the Lounge and, upon returning to his classroom, finds Megawatti at the blackboard teaching his class. This can be seen on the DVD.
  • The character played by Cal Robertson, Les Tuckles, was cut from a scene that was to take place just before Jerri enters the office of Grief Counselor, Peggy Callas. The joke was supposed to involve the fact that Ms. Callas has a habit of flirting with guys who are unavailable, uninterested, or who just happen to prefer other guys. Peggy still mentions Les at the end of the scene, though. She lets Jerri know that it's Les's fault that she runs out of time and has to cut the appointment short. The joke about Peggy's predilection for unattainable men was also tied to another deleted portion of the Teacher's Lounge scene in which Peggy tries to flirt with Geoffrey Jellineck, who is clearly unavailable to her. Plus, in another deleted/extended scene that can be found on the DVD, Peggy enters the Faculty Steam Room after Geoffrey leaves and asks Chuck what he thinks of her legs.
  • The scene in which Jerri eats popcorn while trying to come up with Science Fair ideas was intended to be longer. After Jerri falls asleep there was supposed to be a lot of street noise (traffic, construction) that failed to waken, but as soon as she heard a can opener in the kitchen she sprung awake. This joke was inspired by Paul's late dog, Cagney. Another Cagney-inspired scene involved Jerri's toenails clicking on the tiled flooring at Monica's house.
  • There was a locker room scene in which Jerri was trying to have a serious conversation with Tammi, but she kept getting distracted by all of the teen girls getting undressed around her. A portion of this scene appears as part of the DVD's Deleted Scenes feature.
  • There's an alternate version of the scene in which Beekman tells his Science Fair team about pizzazz. This can be seen on the DVD.
  • The scene in which Geoffrey shows Roger the team's "Atomic Car" dance routine can be seen on the DVD.
  • An extension of the scene in which Blackman runs out of the Faculty Steam Room in a thong can be seen on the DVD.
  • The scene in which Jellineck has his class outside in the parking lot was actually longer. They filmed a moment when Justin Theroux's character, Carlo Honklin, drives through in a Drivers Ed car. Theroux almost didn't make it to the set because his dog was sick, so Stephen Colbert dressed as Carlo and was going to fill in, but Theroux showed up in time for his scene. This footage does not appear with the Deleted Scenes on the DVD.
  • A scene in which Jerri goes into her parents' bedroom to seek Guy's advice ("I'm in a K-hole") and finds Stew in bed with them can be seen on the DVD.
  • A funny, but unnecessary, scene in which Jerri packs her things to run away can be seen on the DVD. She takes a pillow out of its pillowcase and begins to stuff a number of large items into the empty pillowcase, not realizing that everything is falling through a hole at the other end. Then after stuffing the pillow itself back into the pillowcase, along with a blanket, she sets it down on top of the pile of items and just leaves it there.
  • Before Roger's team performs at the Science Fair, Blackman says a team prayer, asking the Almighty to crush their godless opponents, and invoking Einstein, who is rotting in his Hebrew hell. This lovely prayer can be seen and heard on the DVD.
  • The montage in which Noblet finds Jellineck on the floor after the Science Fair stampede and then sees his wife and son actually had dialogue. This extended scene can be seen on the DVD.
  • Although the Teacher's Lounge scene marks the first time that Matthew Broderick and his real-life wife Sarah Jessica Parker have appeared together in a film, their characters didn't have any interaction. However, a scene had been filmed in which Roger Beekman and Peggy Callas would have gone off together after the Science Fair at the end of the movie. This appears as one of the Deleted Scenes on the DVD.
  • Blackman's bookie, Nico, was supposed to show up at the Science Fair to collect the money that Onyx owed him, then Nico was to be injured during the "explosion" of the winning competition entry, but the scene was cut. It does not appear on the DVD as a Deleted Scene either. An image of Nico with a broken light bulb protruding from his forehead can be seen on the Swedish poster.
  • Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert came up with a scenario years ago, probably during their Second City days, in which two closeted guys would get into a fender-bender and then have sex in one guy's vehicle while the other guy's children were waiting in his car. They intended to work this into a "Strangers With Candy" episode, but never got around to it. They wrote this scenario into the movie script and Jonah Bobo was cast as Noblet's son Shamus, and Stephen's real-life wife, Evelyn McGee, was cast as Noblet's wife Clair, who would coincidentally drive by the scene of the accident and wave to her hubby. Due to time and budget constraints the scene was never filmed. Clair does appear at the end of the film, holding Shamus at the Science Fair.


On the 'Flatpoint High School' Sign:
  • "NO VACANCY"


  • "PROVE YOUR BRAIN — STATE SCIENCE FAIR"


  • "INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE T.B.D."


  • "ROGER BEEKMAN IS A FATTY" (Noblet was responsible for this one. In promotional still photos the sign says, "ROGER BEEKMAN SUCKS")


  • "DON'T BETRAY — BETRY"


In the Background:
  • The periodic table of elements in Noblet's class is in the form of a cross.
  • Jerri has this Todd Oldham photograph of Amy Sedaris hanging in her locker, and she'd written "Easter" on one leg, "Christmas" on the other, and "Come see me between the holidays" off to the side.
  • Jerri has a picture of Socrates, Carlo Alban's pet monkey from when he was a kid, in her locker.
  • Noblet has a little sign taped to his desk that says "Jesus Satisfies."
  • Noblet has a figurine on his desk that shows children playing basketball while a much taller Jesus figure looms in front of them and blocks the shot of the player with the ball.
  • In the scene at the beginning of the movie in which Jerri goes to Blackman's office to get permission to re-enroll at Flatpoint—and when she meets Tammi Littlenut for the first time—there are WANTED posters on the bulletin board behind where they're sitting, across from Iris Puffybush's desk. The photographs on the WANTED posters are high school pictures of crew members and friends. Originally, before it was arranged for me to appear in the Teacher's Lounge scene as a Flatpoint faculty member, I was asked to send along my high school picture so it could appear on one of these posters. I would have been honored to have had that kind of presence in the film, but it was more fun to actually be on the set and participate in the making of the movie.
  • There is a door outside Principal Blackman's office that is labeled "Solitary Confinement."


Closing Credits Dance Sequence:

The original version of the film that was screened at the January 2005 Sundance Film Festival did not have a closing credits dance sequence, but one was later filmed for inclusion in the movie's actual release. When the credits start to roll, "Betrayal" is playing, but then the music changes to "She's a Fig Neutron" and we see the cast dancing behind a large, translucent, red sheet of paper, which Blackman busts through at the end, clad in nothing but his thong. I am proud to have my name in the credits, although this screen credit is not for my Oscar-worthy performance as a Flatpoint High School teacher (doing my best "golf clap" as an hommage to "Bogie Nights"). As the "The cast and crew would like to thank" credits roll, my name is included, as is a separate credit for my site, JerriBlank.com. Then at the end of the credits, the letters that spell the words "Strangers With Candy" turn into writhing maggots. The maggot sequence was previously used at the end of the earlier Sundance version of the film.


Release Date:

Update - 6/9/06:  There are more clips » here «  —Thanks to Jess for this link.

Update - 5/25/06:  Watch the full hilarious trailer now!!!

Update - 5/9/06:  On behalf of all you filthy, dirty foreigners who might want to see Strangers With Candy in theaters, particularly those of you "down there" (I mean "down under"), I asked my TH!NKFilm connection about the international release and this is what he had to say on the subject:
    "There is no Australian distributor yet. We're selling the movie in Cannes in
     the next 2 weeks. When an Aussie distributor comes on board we'll let you
     know. No other countries have a distribitor except for U.S. and Canada."

Update - 5/4/06:  Sneak peek screenings:

New York, NY — June 1, 2006
NewFest '06 to Open with "Strangers with Candy"
The 18th edition of NewFest, New York's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Film Festival, will open June 1st with the New York premiere of Paul Dinello's "Strangers with Candy," the event's executive producer Basil Tsiokos announced Wednesday. Starring Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert and Dinello (who directed and co-wrote the film with Colbert), the film is a "A prequel to the Comedy Central series of the same name about Jerri Blank (Sedaris), a forty-seven year old ex-con, junky (sic) whore who decides to return home after thirty-two years as a runaway and decides to turn her life around by picking it up exactly where she left off - as a high school freshman. The ThinkFilm release will open beginning June 28th. NewFest will take place at the AMC Loews 34th Street Theater June 1 - 11.
For more information, visit the NewFest website. [Brian Brooks]


Las Vegas, NV — June 9, 2006
The CineVegas Film Festival has announced it will open its eighth edition with Strangers With Candy. The festival, which takes place at the Palms Casino Resort and Brenden Theaters, runs until June 17.


New York, NY — June 16, 2006
According to the Museum of the Moving Image, Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello will participate in a discussion after a screening of the Strangers With Candy movie at the ImaginAsian Theater, 239 East 59th Street, Manhattan. Tickets are $18 for the general public and $12 for Museum members. Call 718-784-4520 for tickets or more information.


Seattle, WA — June 17, 2006
The Seattle International Film Festival will have a gala screening of Strangers With Candy at the Neptune Theater starting at 7:00pm.


San Francisco, CA — June 22, 2006
When the cult television hit "Strangers with Candy" was taken off the air, a cry of sadness was heard throughout the land; the news brought grown men to their knees and made newborn babies explode. Well, let the healing begin! The long-awaited film version is ready for its coming-out party. The cast and writers from the original series are reunited for this prequel, which takes us back to when our hero, Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris), emerges from her long prison stay. Frameline will present Strangers With Candy (along with a not-to-be-missed Jerri Blank look-a-like contest) on Thursday, June 22nd, at the CinéArts @ the Empire, the Festival's new venue just through the MUNI tunnel from the Castro Theatre.
http://www.frameline.org/festival/30th/index.html


Los Angeles, CA — June 27, 2006
The movie will be shown at the ArcLight Cinema and will be followed by a Q&A session with Amy Sedaris.


Los Angeles, CA — June 28, 2006
7:30pm, Rigler Theatre @ the Egyptian
STRANGERS WITH CANDY
Dir. Paul Dinello, 2005, 35mm, USA, 97 mins.
STRANGERS WITH CANDY is a daring leap…backwards. A prequel to the critically acclaimed Comedy Central series of the same name, it is the story of Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris), a 46-year old one time "loser, boozer and user" who returns to high school to start her life over and right her 32-years of debaucherous wrongs – only to find that the cool kids, teen adolescence and the State Science Fair prove to be the more dangerous terrain than her former life. Also starring Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello.
POST-SCREENING RECEPTION HOSTED BY: ABSOLUT
http://www.outfest.org/outfest/ofwed200605.html

Update - 4/26/06:  Watch the teaser trailer now!!!

Update - 4/14/06: My connections at TH!NKFilm tell me that the June 28 date is only for the New York and Los Angeles premieres. On July 7 the movie will hit screens in the top ten markets (Boston, Chicago, DC, etc.), then it'll move into the top 20 markets a week later on July 14. An even wider release will take place on July 21, but the number of sites will depend upon theater availability at that time. TH!NKFilm will relaunch the official movie website on May 26, but unfortunately for me it'll no longer have my direct involvement. The site that has existed since January of 2005 was commissioned by the producers at Roberts/David Films so that it would be up and running in time for the Sundance premiere. I've always known that there was a possibility/probability that the movie's distributor would want to do their own thing. It's a little disappointing for me to no longer have my name associated with the official site, but it has also been very rewarding for me to have been the person who created what was the official Strangers With Candy website for a year and a half. You can probably expect to see a trailer in theaters at around the same time as the website relaunch.

Update - 2/27/06: The TH!NKFilm website now shows a release date of 6/28/06.

Update - 2/7/06: My sources are officially vindicated in a "full" press release that I received from the producers and in a news item from The Hollywood Reporter. The 2/6/06 issue of New York magazine, which came out the week before, already leaked the unconfirmed story before the deal was officially signed.
      — Read the official good news here!

Update - 1/24/06: A couple reliable inside sources tell me that the movie is expected to be in theaters in June of 2006.

Update - 10/26/05: An audience member at "The Colbert Report" asked Stephen about whether the Strangers With Candy movie would ever see the inside of a theater and he reportedly said that Warner Independent has apparently come through and the film is expected to be released next spring. I asked one of the producers for clarification and learned that this just means that Warner has officially reverted the distribution rights back to the producers, so now they are legally free to pursue other distribution options. A spring 2006 release is the targeted goal, but it is not a done deal yet.

2/1/05: After the film debuted on January 24, 2005 at Sundance it was picked up by Warner Independent Pictures for distribution. The Warner Independent website had shown that the limited fall release (I said "fall release", not "full release") was scheduled for October 21st—with a wider release planned for the following weeks—but their Strangers With Candy page has since been removed. One of my contacts has informed me that his inside source at Warner Independent told him that Strangers With Candy "is no longer on our slate".
      • Read our open letter to fans to "Free the SWC Movie".
      • Read some related October 2005 news items.
Officially, the reason given for the deal being broken is that Warner balked over the failure of the film's producers to secure copyright clearance for posters and other background props that can be seen on screen.  Warner had just experienced a $17.5 million copyright lawsuit involving the movie version of The Dukes of Hazzard and presumably they wanted to avoid another costly court case.  But if the executives really liked and had faith in the film they would have found a way to deal with the situation. Some sources claim that some of the Warner heads didn't "get" the movie.  Surprise, surprise.  In their 2/6/06 issue, New York magazine reported that producers were "very close to striking a (distribution) deal with TH!NKFilm."

© 2004 Tony Lagarto / jerriblank.com