At long last, someone wants to produce a television show with a lead character who is an accountant, but not a nerd.
We’ve gotten used to the stereotypes, the lesser characters who exist to make even the dullest character look fascinating.
On Roseanne, there was Art, the recently divorced wallflower who couldn’t get a date. Straight-laced, uninteresting, and bought a motorcycle to beef up his machismo factor.On Cheers there was Norm. Sure, everybody knew his name, but mostly he sat on a bar stool, complaining about his wife and longing for a real life.At least on Yes Dear!, Greg the CPA was a main character, but he was also so wimpy that even his petite wife appeared more masculine.
So far, Stardust and the Bandit is just a pilot in the making. But Old Tucson Studios in Tucson, Arizona, is hoping it will be a ratings contender. And the city of Tucson is hoping so, too.
Here’s the premise of the pilot:
Guy, an accountant for an East Coast mob, rats out a mob boss in court and gets placed in the witness protection program. His hiding place? The finance department at Old Tucson Studios. He gets involved in the day-to-day goings-on at the studios and even develops a crush on one of the can-can girls. Chaos ensues when the mob boss and his family take a tour of the studios while on vacation. In the closing moments, the mob boss spots Guy…and the screen fades to black.
The show’s producers say it is a cross between 30 Rock and Mel Brooks's 1974 hit movie, Blazing Saddles. Part of the charm of the show is that it is filmed in the actual, functioning finance office of the studio.
“Whatever is actually happening at Old Tucson Studios on the day of shooting will be in the background,” Frances Causey, film manager, told AccountingWEB.
When asked if Guy is a typical accountant, Causey said he actually is rather flamboyant… a term you don’t often hear within a stone’s throw of “CPA.” And in his new digs as an employee of Old Tucson Studios with an assumed identity, Guy discovers a side of himself that he was unaware of – the side that enjoys, and is good at, playing the role of an average CPA at his new job.
The pilot is being directed by veteran filmmakers Dick Fisher, Sarah Sher, and Ari Palos. The executive producer and general manager of Old Tucson Studios is Pete Mangelsdork.
“The production will also be a working class room for students from The Art Institute of Tucson,” Fisher told reporters. Students can earn course credits for their work on the pilot. Fisher won the Grand Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for The Brothers McMullen in 1995.
Obviously, the filmmakers want to see this morph into a series. Co-director Sher told reporters, the "ultimate goal is to have the pilot picked up by a broadcast or cable network for a full season. An anchor series like this in Tucson would go a long way in helping to revitalize and promote Tucson's film industry."
Production is scheduled to begin in August. Causey wasn’t sure of the details yet, but said that some visitors to the studio will have the chance to be in the background during filming. Earlier this month, the studios held an open casting call. Organizers thought between 200 and 300 people would show up. Instead, they got 659.
More information about Old Tucson Studios and the Stardust and the Bandit project is available on their Facebook page.