Permanent Midnight is a 1998 independent drama film directed by David Veloz and starring Ben Stiller. The supporting cast features Maria Bello, Elizabeth Hurley, Owen Wilson, Cheryl Ladd and Janeane Garofalo.
The film is based on Jerry Stahl's autobiographical book of the same name and tells the story of Stahl's rise from a small-time television writer to his success as a comedy writer making up to $5,000 a week writing for 1980s series like thirtysomething, Moonlighting, and ALF (changed in the film to Mr. Chompers).
Maria Bello stars as Kitty, a fellow detox survivor to whom Stahl relates his rise and fall. The film also stars Owen Wilson as Stahl's friend and fellow addict, Nicky; Elizabeth Hurley as his wife, Sandra; and Janeane Garofalo as a Hollywood agent, Jana. Fred Willard also appears as the producer of Mr. Chompers. The real Stahl makes a cameo appearance as a doctor at a methadone clinic.
Stiller's performance in the film was critically acclaimed, but the film failed at the box office and never saw widespread release. It has been released on DVD in the USA and the UK. A soundtrack CD was also released with most of the music heard in the film.
Approaching the end of a drug rehabilitation program, Jerry Stahl (Stiller) quits his job at a fast food restaurant on an impulse when an attractive woman named Kitty (Bello) pulls up at the drive-through window. The two check into a motel, where Jerry tells her about his life in between bouts of sex. A series of flashbacks, intercut with their conversations, details his working life to this point.