In honor of the date - 9/9 - this special List of 9 includes 9 other titles that were, for one reason or another, thought of besides Foreign Correspondents for my debut feature film. The first 5 were titles I once gave serious consideration to; the last 4 are funny (and completely true) variants on the actual title, the result of misunderstandings by third parties.
- Par Avion. When I had written just the first part of the script, this seemed like an appropriate title for a story about postcards from France. However, its mere Frenchiness smacked of preciousness, and was quickly scrapped.
- Via Air Mail. So I took the literal English translation of "Par Avion" for a few days. But it was too bland, too vague, and soon forgotten.
- Dear Jenny... Love, Trevor. My friend Thomas Lakeman suggested "Dear Jenny" as a title for the first story, and days later I decided to write the second story and called it "Love, Trevor". The story titles themselves remained in the film, but sandwiched together they were a little too cute - like When Harry Met Sally... So even though I was actually using this title when I initially contacted Melanie Lynskey in late 1996, I changed it soon after.
- Penpal Stories. Though it was never given serious consideration, I still included this as an alternative title when I copyrighted the script, just in case a larger film with a similar name is released at the same time as mine. It was the only other title I could think of at the time.
- Alone in America. I like this title a lot, and should the aforementioned problem arise, I'd feel fine about using it. I got this title from an actual book which actor Steve Valentine picked up during the bookstore scene.
- Forgen Corponents. This bizarre tongue-twister was awkwardly quoted by a woman who left a phone message with the producer during pre-production. The slip-up so tickled the production staff that it became a common catchphrase in the office that summer.
- Foreing Corresponding. Some poor fellow with bad English, who nevertheless wanted to be part of this production, faxed the office with a few crudely-written words expressing his interest. This was how he spelled the title - followed by a nice smiley-face.
- Foreign Conspiracy. A looky-loo who was watching us during filming somehow got it in his head that this was the title. No doubt his confusion was based on the Mel Gibson-Julia Roberts film Conspiracy Theory, which was in theatres at the time.
- Fatal Correspondents. My favorite! Another looky-loo - who I suppose was hoping for a more exciting movie - came up with this winner. Soon after these last two flubs, some waggish crew members suggested I change the title to Fatal Conspiracy. I'd have no problem getting on the USA Network with a provocative title like that!