HOLLYWOOD (CAP) - The directors of the upcoming Sony Pictures release Actuary Of Valor originally planned to use actors to play a team of crack Certified Public Accountants, but when they started doing research for the film, they quickly changed their minds.
"As we set out on the research project, we met the guys and were just blown away," says director Frank McHue. "These were some of the most amazing men we'd ever met. They were so different from the Hollywood, popular-culture stereotype. They're not Leo Blooms. Well, they're sort of Leo Blooms, but not as funny."
McHue said it's about time real accountants got their due.
"Our lead in the movie, Chief Morty" - the accountants in the film are not fully identified to protect their privacy come tax season - "he's such a humble guy," said McHue. "We were like, Wow, we need to let the American public know these guys are special. To properly tell their story, we couldn't do it with actors. We just felt like it had to be from the men who've actually experienced it."
The plot, in which the accountants help people and businesses find write-offs they wouldn't have otherwise known existed, is based on actual, real-life experiences of the accountants in the movie.
"The hardest sequence to nail was the explanation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)," says McHue. "It was a three-week sequence that we needed to shoot completely in six days because of the availability of the guys. You're talking about tax time here. They're swamped!"
Morty said overall, he enjoyed the filming, even if it took a while to bring the directors up to speed. "In the beginning it was a WIP - at first these guys didn't know the difference between an ITR and an IWO," he said, laughing so hard he almost lost a pen out of his pocket protector. "But we set them straight on that pretty darn quick."
Fellow accountant "Fred," also in the film, said he was happy to be able to contribute to the plotline by sharing his actual experiences. "Like that New Year's Eve that time, when all our Zunes crashed," he recalled.
"That was high drama," he added, making a snorting noise.
The movie also depicts the well-documented 2010 incident in Eden Prairie, Minn., when a group of accountants accidentally ate a secretary's container of mescaline.
"I still wake up some nights and see those numbers from the actuarial tables bouncing across my ledgers like little dancing ants," recalled the accountant who plays "wigged-out CPA George" in the film.
Not everyone is thrilled with the movie, however, with some commentators calling it nothing more than a recruitment film for CPAs. Those accusations don't sit well with the film's supporters, though.
"The makers of this film made it because they really haven't felt good about how accountants have been depicted in Hollywood in 30-40 years," said onetime GOP Senate candidate Stephen Baldwin (Bio-Dome, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas) on his radio show this week. "This story is a story that is all about the brotherhood of being Certified Public Accountants. It had me riveted on the edge of my seat, and I'm an actor!"
Representatives from unions for both the accounting and acting professions were actually split about the effectiveness of the performances, although they all agreed that Stephen Baldwin is not really an actor.
- CAP News Staff