Was David Mamet’s First Screenwriting Work For Garage Girls, Who Stole My Wheels?…And It Was REJECTED?!

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: David Mamet’s first work writing for films was in Garage Girls, Who Stole My Wheels?…and it was rejected!

David Mamet is one of the most acclaimed American playwrights of the last fifty years…

His work on the stage during the 1970s expanded into the world of movies by the beginning of the next decade, and he has had great success in the film industry, being nominated for two Academy Awards for screenwriting (and many of his plays have been adapted to the screen, most notably Glengarry Glen Ross).

He has had a longtime working relationship with a number of actors from his days in Chicago, with William H. Macy and Joe Mantegna being two of the most notable actors associated with Mamet.

Here’s Mamet with Mantegna and a third friend of theirs, Jack Wallace…

It was on a Mantegna movie that Mamet got his first film experience, although it wasn’t much of an experience.

In a great interview with The Onion AV Club, Mantegna discussed one of his earliest films, a cheesy low budget film from 1978 called (among many titles), Garage Girls, Who Stole My Wheels? (described on IMDB as “An unscrupulous towing company picks up perfectly fine cars and impounds them. It’s up to two bar maids to try and stop them”)….

Joe Mantegna: We suggested—because the script was constantly being revised and changed—that this up-and-coming young writer we knew named David Mamet might come in and write a couple of scenes for the movie. And I think he tentatively did write a scene, and it was rejected.

Nathan Rabin: Wow.

Mantegna: It was like “Nah, nah, this isn’t going to fly, this isn’t going to fit in this movie.” It was like, “Okay! We just thought we’d suggest this guy.”

Rabin: It’s crazy to think of Mamet in that context.

Mantegna: Yeah, that was one of Dave’s first rejections as a script doctor. So he never made it into Who Stole My Wheels?, but I think he might’ve made a couple hundred dollars.

Rabin: And never recovered from that setback.

Mantegna: Yeah, well, it might’ve spurred him onto other things.

Pretty hilarious.

Maybe instead of Glengarry Glen Ross, Mamet could have had a career writing stuff like Earth Girls Are Easy?

The legend is…

STATUS: True

Thanks to Mantegna and Rabin for the info!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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