annette benning and danny devito as jack and diane standing behind chris pine in poolman

Chris Pine’s Jack and Diane Were Not Named for What You Think in ‘Poolman’

Chris Pine made his directorial debut with a film he co-wrote with Ian Gotler: Poolman. It is, in Pine’s way, a love letter to Los Angeles and also a movie that lets Chris Pine channel his best impression of Jeff Bridges. But the movie has so much more.

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The movie itself has pool cleaner Darren (Pine) fighting for Los Angeles while Jack (Danny DeVito) and Diane (Annette Bening) are his constant cheerleaders. Naming two characters Jack and Diane did not make it easy for me to focus at times, because I just kept singing the John Cougar Mellancamp song “Jack & Diane” after every line that included their names in succession. Being the music snob that I am, I asked Pine about the inspiration for their names, and he said that I was a) the first person to get that reference and b) it wasn’t the reference he was even trying to make.

“You’re the first person that has actually picked up on that,” Pine said, going on to talk about his reference point: “What’s funny about that is I initially wanted to name them after … From Cheers? Not Jack and Diane. I wanted to name them …” He was obviously trying to reference Sam (Ted Danson) and Diane (Shelley Long), but accidentally called them “Jack and Diane” for too long, and it just stuck.

“I miss did it, and it was Jack and Diane, and by that point I was already saying their names. So yes, it’s a nod to John Cougar Mellencamp, but actually by way of Cheers.”

You can see our full conversation here:

Poolman is in select theaters with a wider release on May 10, and look, this is a movie I am going to quote a lot (and often), so I would like everyone to hop to watching it sooner rather than later—just to understand why I keep yelling “AS BLANCHE?!?!” at people.

(featured image: Vertical Entertainment)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.