According to The Hollywood Reporter, when Touchstone Pictures last week bought the script for The Proposal, a romantic comedy that Mandeville Films' David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman are attached to produce, the company thought it was buying an original screenplay by a writer named Jennifer Kirby. But as soon as the script sold, Pete Chiarelli -- a former creative executive at MGM who has since become president of Kurtzman and Orci, the recently formed DreamWorks-based production company of writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci -- stepped forward to reveal that he in fact was masquerading as Kirby.
He'd created the female pseudonym -- Jennifer is Chiarelli's wife's name, and Kirby is his mother's maiden name -- because "I really wanted to throw people off the scent. I didn't want it to be weird for people, executives, that I knew to read it. I didn't want my friends put in a position to say, 'Dude, your script sucked.' If it was going to sell, I wanted it to sell on its own merits." As an exec at MGM, Chiarelli oversaw such productions as The Amityville Horror and The Pink Panther. He began writing after the MGM-Sony layoffs in mid-April.