When the film was first coming together, without its title (we’ll get to that), Wessler assembled an impressive list of directors in Trey Parker and Matt Stone (“South Park”), Peter and Bob Farrelly (“Dumb and Dumber”), and David and Jerry Zucker (“Airplane!) to direct the various segments. All but the Farrelly brothers eventually dropped out. Many others, such as Elizabeth Banks and James Gunn would eventually fill in, even if Gunn didn’t exactly have kind things to say about it after the fact. “I didn’t even get to edit that stupid thing!” the now-co-head of DC Studios said on a Facebook live.
Wessler was still determined, despite things not going very well. At one point, he even had a studio bail well into negotiations. “They ended up calling me about a month after we started negotiating the deal and said ‘we can’t do it’ because they had political pressure to not make R-rated movies that were marketed to teenagers,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2013. Then, finally, he managed to cut a deal with Relativity Media. How, exactly? By showing them a particularly raunchy short (the first one shot for the film), in which Hugh Jackman goes on a date with Kate Winslet — and he’s got a literal set of testicles drooping from his chin.
“They just looked at me and said, ‘Go for it.’ It takes a lot of balls to make something that is not conventional,” Wessler told THR. And so, it was off to the races. Though it would take patience, in large part because they had to assemble a downright silly cast that includes (but is not limited to) Dennis Quaid, Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber, Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, Johnny Knoxville, Gerard Butler, Emma Stone, Halle Berry, Terrence Howard, and many, many more.