Sometimes a cigar is more than just a cigar.
For scribes James Orr and Jim Cruickshank and producer Arthur Sarkissian, cigars will be the main subject of a new $5 million indie feature — “Blowing Smoke” — that will take advantage of the current craze and all the stars who love it.
Orr and Sarkissian described the project as a cross between “sex, lies and videotape” and “Swingers,” set in a smoking club.
Among the stogie-loving thesps who have already made verbal commitments to Orr and Cruickshank are Jim Belushi, Peter Weller, Joe Mantegna, David Caruso, Kevin Pollak, Joe Pantoliano and special effects wiz Stan Winston. Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jeff Goldblum and Danny DeVito may also make cameos.
“The strategy is to use only actors who are members of the club,” Orr said, referring to the Grand Havana Room, that Beverly Hills hangout for nearly all of the industry’s high-profile stogie chompers.
Pic was born three months ago out of latenight conversations at the Havana about cigars, women and the art of dealing with them.
Orr will direct from a script he’s writing with partner Cruickshank (“Three Men and a Baby,” “Sister Act 2”). Sarkissian, whose producer credits include “Last Man Standing” and “While You Were Sleeping,” will produce along with Orr/Cruickshank. They raised the small budget from a lone private financier.
“Seventy-five percent of the conversations in that place are either about business or women,” said Orr, referring to the Grand Havana Room. “One night up there, one of us said, ‘There’s a movie in this, in this cigar madness, in males using it to bond.’ ”
The truth about cigars
Orr says the pic, which will start shooting at the Havana Room in January, will tell be “funny, charming and controversial, but in a truthful way. Cigars are a metaphor for latent misogyny.”
Plot will focus on a group of guys sitting around the club, smoking stogies and dishing women in a misogynistic fashion. When a beat-up but beautiful woman wanders in, the tenor of the talk changes quickly and the chatty club members have the tables turned on them.
The heavily male Havana Room has already had interest from numerous men for roles. As for the female lead, club member and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” star Kristy Swanson looks to have it sewn up.