Men of Lowe moral fibre

SOIIISFOMTAETLBAWHAMSSRABINKWONTCWR. That’s the acronymified version of ‘snippets of interesting info I snagged from old mags that are easy to look back at with hindsight and make smug, snarky remarks about because I now know whether or not the critics were right’.

Both clever and pithy I’m sure you’ll agree. I really think it could catch on as a regular new feature, maybe even go viral. Anything with a ‘wham’ in the title has to be a winner, right? 😉

It seems that for as long as the Leisure-Suit-sporting, double-entendre-spinning lothario extraordinaire, Larry Laffer, has graced our small screens, there have been rumours of Hollywood movie moguls vying to shoehorn him onto a much larger, celluloid-fuelled one.

 Leisure Suit Larry – The Movie
Hold the Front Page! Mark Patterson, veteran games player and self-styled rock star, has just stumbled into the office after attending a boozy Sierra launch of a new product. It appears that Leisure Suit Larry, the famous playboy and womanising old goat of three mega-successful computer games, is about to make it onto the silver screen. Warner Brothers are claiming that they’ve definitely snapped up the rights, but Sierra say different. According to a Sierra spokesperson they’ve been negotiating with several movie companies and, while no decision has yet been made, the first one to stump up the readies gets the rights. As I said earlier, it’s a dog eat dog world.
 CU Amiga announces the breaking scoop in issue 5 (July 1990)

Much of the chatter has revolved around the crucial question of who would play the lead role. Given that anyone looking a bit dishevelled, diminutive, balding, and carrying a paunch would be a prime candidate, the possibilities are practically endless. Physicality aside, any actor who could convincingly pull off the unlucky-in-love, loser vibe could audition.

Popular suggestions have included Danny DeVito, Joe Pesci, Dudley Moore (pre-death preferably), Jon Lovitz (notably made by former Sierra designer and comedy writer, Josh Mandel), Dustin Hoffman, Woody Allen, Robin Williams (again, not so much these days), Bud Bundy (David Faustino), and Samuel ‘Screech’ Powers (Dustin Diamond).

Nevertheless, the only actor to officially and publicly be associated with the Larry franchise in the 29 years which have passed since its inception is Jim Carrey.

Following the release of the inaugural title, ‘Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards’, various concepts and stars were bandied about, which eventually culminated in the philanderer’s creator, Al Lowe, being handed a script by Touchstone written especially for Jim.

Al instantly detested it because it “didn’t feel like the game”. It “wasn’t very Larry-like anyway; it was more like Dumb and Dumber Meets Hugh Hefner”. At that stage he revealed, “it was more than talk and less than a movie”.

“I thought: Oh my god, this isn’t right at all! Then of course he chose to do Cable Guy instead. So there have been various scripts and the rights have been licensed over the years but nothing ever came to fruition.”

“Disney approached Sierra with an offer to buy the movie rights to Leisure Suit Larry, with the idea of pitching Jim Carrey as the lead. After tough negotiations, Sierra signed on the dotted line. However, Carrey passed on the project, and Disney let their deal lapse at the end of their 5 year contract. After the sale of Sierra, former CEO Ken Williams expressed interest in a Larry film, and attempted to buy the rights. Several successive regimes at Sierra agreed to sell him the rights, but none followed through.”

A scene from ‘Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail!’ (the sixth instalment, and the last one Al Lowe worked on).
It’s safe to say there’s nothing quite like it!

Not that this was the only tentative spin-off project in the pipeline. “During its popularity there were many movie ideas, one was cartoon based, several were live action.”

Perhaps the reason the movie never seems to leave the starting blocks is that it has already been done, only no-one noticed as it sailed under the radar under a pseudonym.

“I think they already made a Larry movie. It was called Deuce Bigalow. Rob Schneider basically took the Larry character and made a film out of it. I considered it high praise.” [laughs]

“Several movie studios optioned  the rights from Sierra to produce a Larry movie as far back as 1990, but none ever got through to production. Of course, Rob Schneider has already played Larry, in his Deuce Bigalow movies. Everyone who saw it told me, Al, you’ve got to see that movie. They did Larry! And I must agree; Deuce was Larry through and through!”

It’s worth noting that while there are many parallels between the two IPs, Al doesn’t have the monopoly on the contemporary Casanova-inspired paramour, especially given that stories concerning hapless losers in love pre-date Al’s baby by a country mile. Sid James cornered that market through the 17 ‘Carry On’ films in which he played a creepy, lascivious old lech who would stalk and paw at anything in a skirt. He died 11 years before the first Larry game.

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