After six little words, Harvey Weinstein is sold

From the LAT

It's rarely a good idea to greenlight a movie off of a title alone (unless it includes the words "Pirates" and "Caribbean"). That's like falling in love with a MySpace photo.

But when Harvey Weinstein pulled the trigger on the latest raunchy comedy idea from Dogma and Clerks II writer-director Kevin Smith after Smith had written only six words of it, Weinstein's $15 million looked like a pretty good bet.

The title? Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

For a certain stripe of moviegoer, that's a sure thing.

"A bawdy sex comedy with heart," as Smith describes the just-completed script, "Zack and Miri" is about two friends who have managed to trudge into their 30s with a satisfying lack of accomplishment. But a 15-year high school reunion and dire rent problems spark the novel moneymaking idea of pulling together an amateur porn enterprise. As for where it goes from there, just think of Smith's characteristic sexual verbosity finally coupled with matching imagery.

"It's … dirty, with nudity," says Smith. "But funny nudity, not gratuitous nudity." Well, leave it to Smith to choose a plotline that kneecaps the issue entirely. (The civilians-making-a-blue-movie conceit also drove the narrative of writer-director Michael Traeger's The Amateurs, which played festivals last year.) Because the story unfolds during a snowy Minnesota winter, Smith plans to film "Zack and Miri" there in February (although, Smith jokes, global warming may force him to shoot at one of the poles).

In the intervening months, Smith is publishing a book of reprinted blog entries from SilentBobSpeaks.com called My Boring Ass Life. And he hopes to squeeze in filming of his low-budget ($3 million) horror script, Red State, by the end of the year. Smith is aiming to give the politically charged screenplay, about outsiders who stumble into "fundamentalism gone to the extreme" in Middle America, a naturalistic, drive-in feel.

"Horror is more than a dude with a chain saw," says Smith, who engaged the Christian right promotional machine for the release of "Dogma. Given his rabid fan base, Smith is keeping the screenplay on lockdown at his Hollywood Hills home, so agents, actors and executives have needed a personal invitation to see it.