SO FAR, thanks to Facebook, Mr. Cohen has friended about 96 of the 1,187 Aaron Cohens in the world.
He found a car salesman who lives in Omaha named Aaron Cohen. There is an Aaron Cohen in Missouri who raises horses; an Aaron Cohen in Gaza; and an Aaron Cohen in Ohio who served in the Iraq war. One Aaron Cohen in Michigan runs a streetwear store. Another one in California used to be an Israeli Special Forces operative and now works as a counterterrorism consultant. There’re dozens of Rabbi Aaron Cohens, a few black Aaron Cohens, and they found two Catholic Aaron Cohens, too. Mr. Cohen has instant-messaged in Spanish with a Venezuelan Aaron Cohen. The night before sitting down with The Observer, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Fisher-Cohen interviewed a gay, vegan Aaron Cohen.
They have nicknames for the Aaron Cohens so that they don’t get confused. There’s “Werewolf,” “Tiny,” “Chris Farley.” “You’re Kurt Cobain?” Mr. Cohen asked Mr. Fisher-Cohen, who also plays in an indie rock band called Jotto in Philadelphia.
They have a few ideas for the film. They want to have a bigger Aaron Cohen convention at Katz’s Deli, with global Aaron Cohens. Maybe they would take them to Ellis Island. They might introduce Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to another Mark Zuckerberg. They want to have a dozen Aaron Cohens speed-date with a dozen Sarah Silvermans. “All of the Aaron Cohens play chess, so we’re thinking of having a tournament,” Mr. Cohen said.
When they release a DVD of the movie, they hope to include an instructional kit that will teach other people how to make their own “name-based community” through social networking sites.
But the only goal for sure right now is to meet as many Aaron Cohens as possible.
Mr. Cohen and Mr. Fisher-Cohen have made three trailers based off the first Katz’s Deli meeting. There’s also a blog, Twitter and Flickr account dedicated to The Aaron Cohens project. “We’ve been making a film the way an Internet person would do it, not the way a filmmaker would do it,” Mr. Cohen said. “We just made our prototype. We’re live! We’re out there!”
This week, both he and young Mr. Fisher-Cohen will have another meet-up of Aaron Cohens in Los Angeles, between shopping the film around to producers and financiers. “Now the pilgrimage for capital begins,” Mr. Cohen said, who has paid for all the pastrami sandwiches and Mr. Fisher-Cohen’s compensation himself.
He’s had a number of offers to work for various Web companies, but Mr. Cohen is determined to make the film no matter what.
“Everyone wants there to be some deeper reason” for making the film, Mr. Cohen said. “I have no doubt that if I’m standing at the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem with like a minyan of nine other Aaron Cohens, that could be a deeply romantic and spiritually powerful moment. But, at the end of the day, The Aaron Cohens is supposed to make people laugh. That’s what people need in 2009.”
Woody, you’d better watch out.