brian koppelman david chang


‘Billions’ showrunner got pitched a movie idea at mom’s funeral

Don’t do any of this.


Christine Friar


It’s tough to know what to say at a funeral, but here’s one simple guideline: Don’t pitch your great big Hollywood movie idea to the deceased’s son.

That’s exactly the scenario that Brian Koppelman, a writer, director, and showrunner for Billions, ran into at his mother’s funeral a few years ago. Koppelman had some time to spare while waiting for a doctor’s appointment Wednesday and decided to share the story in a Twitter thread. It serves as a valuable lesson to anyone who might want to turn a shiva into a business meeting.

It all started with the passing of Koppelman’s mother. His parents had been married for over 4o years, and his father was understandably shocked by his wife’s sudden absence. It was a poignant time for the entire family to come together and mourn. Then, during one particularly touching moment out on the porch with his father, the dad of one of Koppelman’s brothers-in-law approached him with a “humdinger” of a movie idea:

Koppelman managed to find a graceful way out of the conversation: Tell this guy to wait until after the shiva (a three-day religious mourning period) to share his Big Idea. The guy reluctantly agreed. But at the end of the three days, he was tapping on Koppelman’s shoulder ready to get down to brass tacks:

And at the end of all of it, the idea was just “Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. Superheroes.” A Space Jam 2, some might say. Koppelman was understandably tickled by how—shall we say un-urgent—the idea ended up being.

Fans on Twitter appreciated the humor in the story but also marveled at Allan’s insensitivity. It was a funeral, after all. And Brian was the son of the deceased. But Brian ultimately defended his distant-relative-through-marriage, saying he “actually has a good heart,” he’s “just clueless. And insensitive. And boorish.”

Etiquette lesson: learned?

The Daily Dot