Ten With Wain

Masters of comedy David Wain (“Wet Hot American Summer”) and Ken Marino team up behind the scenes and in front of the camera to create THE TEN: a lively, smart, and irreverent film about breaking all the rules.

Directed by Wain and written by Wain and Marino, “The Ten” presents a series of interconnected comic sketches designed to reinterpret and reinvent the Ten Commandments, making them “meaningful” (and funny) to a young, hip, audience of contemporary sinners. With each story told in a different style, but containing overlapping characters and themes, the film is a grand burlesque boasting an all-star cast that puts the sin back in cinema.

Ten Things You Need to Know About The Ten

(Or The Gospel According to Director David Wain)


The Ten Commandments have been a cornerstone of our society for nearly one hundred years. Whether it's taking a Sunday off, or not murdering someone, many of us follow the Ten Commandments every day, without even knowing it. The pervasiveness of these simple directives inspired me and Ken Marino to spin the tales that make up “The Ten.”


In early June 2007, we began our exhaustive research. After ninety long seconds on Google, wed learned not only what The Ten Commandments were, but what order they were in. We were thrilled to discover that all Ten Commandments were available theyd been optioned by Universal but had reverted back to the writer last year.


The Ten was adapted (aka stolen) from Krzysztof Kieslowski's “Dekalog,” which was ten dark, one-hour dramas set in a Polish apartment building, each inspired by one of the Ten Commandments. Our version is much shorter and much funnierand (mostly) does not take place in Polish apartment building.


Armed with our newfound source material, the characters flowed out of our imaginations so vividly that it was often the characters themselves who wrote the story! Each episode was different – Ken Marino and I just tried to think of unique takes on each topic. This is what we came up with:

– A guy (ADAM BRODY) becomes an accidental hero after falling out of a plane

– A librarian (GRETCHEN MOL) has a sexual awakening in Mexico with a swarthy local (JUSTIN THEROUX)

– A doctor (KEN MARINO) kills his patients as a goof

– A police detective (LIEV SCHREIBER) covets his neighbor's Cat Scan machine

– A mother (KERRI KENNEY-SILVER) enlists an Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator (OLIVER PLATT) to be a father figure to her children

– A prisoner (ROB CORDDRY) covets his fellow inmate's wife

– A woman (WINONA RYDER) falls in love with, and then steals a ventriloquist's puppet

– A Rhinoceros learns the pitfalls of gossip

– A husband (A.D. MILES) skips church with his family to get naked with his friends and listen to Roberta Flack

– A man (PAUL RUDD) presents all of these stories to the audience while struggling with his own moral dilemma: having to choose between his beautiful wife (FAMKE JANSSEN) and his also beautiful, but somewhat younger, mistress (JESSICA ALBA).


THE TEN, like “Wet Hot American Summer,” was a wonderful opportunity to use a combination of my “rep company” of actors I've worked with frequently over the years (all the members of The State: Zak Orth, A. D. Miles, Nina Hellman, Paul Rudd, etc), plus a group of my favorite screen actors who we begged to be a part of it (Winona Ryder, Liev Schreiber, etc) and rounded out by a lot of amazing actors we found through the normal audition process (e.g. Michael Ziegfeld, Novella Nelson). Working with so many different actors with different backgrounds was a huge treat.


Ken Marino and I conceived everything together. He and I creatively oversaw the entire production, hiring, casting, determining locations, script changes, costumes, sets, etc etc. He was on set every day, functioning almost like a co-director. He was also heavily involved in editing, sound, and music.


In creating a visual style for the film, I chose to shoot in color for three reasons:
a) Most movies these days are in color
b) Black & white didn't seem appropriate
c) Black & white having been eliminated, color seemed like the only other choice.
I used a similar process in making choices throughout the making of the film.


Filming each episode was like making a mini-movie, but much more complicated because we often had to shoot parts of different segments on the same day. It was hugely ambitious trying to filming ten stories, plus the limbo/tablets material, and the finale, in 28 shoot days on a small indie-film budget. Four of our shoot days were in Mexico, one in LA, the rest were in New York City. We had over 40 locations.


When the movie is over, I hope that people have laughed, had a nice time, and are thinking about where they want to go eat. I have no pretensions that this movie will change the world; my only expectation is that it will change the way everyone on this planet thinks and behaves.


Wain and Marino's first collaboration was “The State,” an eleven person sketch comedy troupe that formed in 1988 and was best known for their self-titled MTV series that ran in the early/mid 90s. Members of “The State” went on to create on such projects as “Reno 911!,” “Wet Hot American Summer,” and “Stella.” All eleven members of “The State” appear in “The Ten.”