December 11, 2023

Forget the reality TV fireworks of #Scandoval or the bombshell revelations from Britney Spears’ memoir The Woman in Me — the title of best celebrity drama in 2023 goes to the out-of-nowhere (and thankfully low-stakes) rivalry between the new TV show The Curse and upcoming rom-com Anyone But You.

The “feud” all started on Nov. 16, when Sony dropped the latest trailer for Anyone But You. It opens with a clip of leads Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell introducing the trailer, where the two rib each other over who the real star of the film is.

“It’s actually my movie,” Sweeney tells Powell.

“Well, we’ll see whose movie it is when it comes out,” he retorts.

The banter is certainly in character given the plot of Anyone But You, which sees two bitter nemeses (Sweeney and Powell) pretending to be in a relationship while at a wedding. However, the chemistry in the trailer clip is a tad… awkward. And who better to lean into that awkwardness than the king of cringe himself, Nathan Fielder?

Fielder currently stars alongside Emma Stone in Showtime and A24’s The Curse, a surreal comedy he co-created with Benny Safdie. The series, a dark satire about two house flippers trying to film an HGTV-style reality show, is as far apart from Anyone But You as can be. Yet on Nov. 17, A24 posted a new trailer for The Curse — one with an eerily familiar opening.

That’s right: Within a day, Fielder and Stone were able to turn around a pitch-perfect parody of Sweeney and Powell’s trailer introduction. The details are spot-on, from Fielder’s white polo tee down to Stone’s mimicry of Sweeney’s exasperated eye roll. Give her another Oscar, stat!

But the rivalry between Anyone But You and The Curse — again, two very unrelated projects! — didn’t stop there. Powell tweeted to Fielder that the parody “doesn’t count unless you go the hole way…” referring to a section of the trailer where he gets butt-naked. (If you do end up watching The Curse, you will see Fielder bare quite a bit.)

Fielder responded with a statement of his own — and you know it’s “Very Serious” because it’s in the Notes App. In it, he claims that he and Stone shot the promo for The Curse over six months ago and that he is alarmed that Sony Pictures may have seen and copied it. In a conciliatory move, he won’t be pursuing legal action. Instead, he writes, “This will not stop us from supporting each others [sic] successes, and I know that both Emma and myself will personally be booking front row seats to Anyone But You on opening night.” (Fielder also takes the statement as an opportunity to address the role of Artificial Intelligence in developing art, a key concern in both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.)

But wait, the story’s not over yet! Anyone But You director Will Gluck issued his own response on Instagram. (Notably, Gluck directed Stone in the teen comedy masterpiece Easy A, in case there was still confusion over whether this is a friendly bit or not.) Gluck’s statement is a classic Notes App apology, where he admits to — gasp! — stealing not only the promo concept for The Curse, but its poster too. The Curse-ified Anyone But You poster sees Sweeney’s head photoshopped on Stone’s, while Fielder and Safdie are swapped for Powell and Gluck.

Gluck ends his apology similarly to Fielder’s own statement: “We in no way intended to stand in the way of your success; indeed, we celebrate it. I know that we will all be watching The Curse when it premieres in January.” (The Curse actually premiered Nov. 10, but Gluck’s heart is in the right place.)

So there you have it: a day-long feud with laughs, twists, and a fitting resolution. Congratulations to Anyone But You and The Curse for leaning into the bit and reconciling their briefest of beefs. This has truly been one of the most fun pieces of cross-promotion since the heyday of Barbenheimer.

New episodes of The Curse are streaming every Friday on Paramount+ with Showtime, and they air on Showtime Sundays at 10 p.m. ET.

Anyone But You hits theaters Dec. 22.

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