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No Hard Feelings Isn't The Only Movie Inspired By Real Life Craigslist Ads

Hollywood has been going to increasingly outside-the-box thinking for some of its big movies over the last decade. From viral social media threads and YouTube video formats to magazine and newspaper articles, there are plenty of unorthodox ideas providing the inspiration for major films. Still, ads on Craigslist have to be one of the strangest of all.

The 2023 summer comedy "No Hard Feelings" sees its central character, Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence), hired by a couple of helicopter parents (Matthew Broderick and Laura Benanti) via a Craigslist ad. Her job: try and bring their son, Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman), out of his increasingly isolated shell and prepare him for the college experience.

Being inspired by a real-life ad placed on Craigslist isn't a feature unique to "No Hard Feelings," though. The 2016 comedy "Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates" is also based on a Craigslist ad from two brothers, the titular Mike and Dave Stangle, who are played by Zac Efron and Adam Devine in the film. The two brothers posted their viral ad seeking dates for their sister's wedding back in 2013, and it may be the ultimate example of massive developments coming from humble beginnings. The brothers' life story was optioned into a book and film deal due, in part, to the real-life Stangles' likable and humorous dispositions.

The brothers' personalities helped them to close the deal

"It was clear that they were great characters, and this was great story fodder," CAA agent Michelle Wiener told The Hollywood Reporter. "They lived up to the hype. They were smart, and they were funny. They had all of the comedy and the heart that you need for the start of a great story."

Still, there is a much lesser-known film that was also spawned through Craigslist. Though many true crime aficionados will be well aware of The Craigslist Killer, they may not be aware that there is a film of the same name based on the story. Philip Markhoff answered Craigslist ads with the intent of robbing those he met up with and ended up killing a 29-year-old woman after one of his robberies went sideways. The story was later dramatized in a 2011 made-for-television film starring Jake McDorman and William Baldwin.

Though neither "Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates" nor "The Craigslist Killer" were very well-received by critics and audiences, they do help to show that a major motion picture can be spawned from just about anything. Furthermore, they demonstrate how meeting strangers through a seemingly innocuous service like Craigslist can change your life for better or worse.