A comedy about a screenwriter (Robert Wuhl), whose old movie script is read by a producer (Martin Landau) and the search for financial backers begins. But it seems that each money source (Danny Aiello, Robert De Niro, and Eli Wallach) has his own mistress that he wants put into the film. Gradually, the screenwriter is forced to make changes to his script to accommodate these backers, until he finally sees no semblance of his original ideas in the writing.
- Late one night as former filmmaker Marvin Landisman (Robert Wuhl) is watching his own personal 16mm copy of Jean Renoir's Grand Illusions, he gets a call from film producer Jack Roth (Martin Landau) who believe he may be able to get funding to make the film of the script Marvin had sent him years ago called "The Darkness and the Light". Marvin, who is producing instructional videos, is apprehensive as he has gone cold on the film biz after a tragedy occurred on one of his films years ago when lead actor Warren Zell (Christopher Walken) committed suicide on-camera bringing an abrupt halt to Marvin's career. Roth was formerly an exec at Universal and claims he can get the script made and can attach Marvin as director. Marvin agrees to take a meeting and Roth brings with him a young enthusiastic writer Stuart Stratland (Jace Alexander) to do some script doctoring. The trio begins meeting with potential backers and discover that each has his own ideas for the movie, and each has a girlfriend' they want cast in the movie. Marvin attempts to stay true to his story, that of a downtrodden painter who kills himself rather than compromise, but like his own hero character, Marvin begins to realize that his film can get made if he is willing to compromise.