A Call To Arms on the Subject of Navigational Instruments Made of Precious Metal......and the Movies Made Thereof
Hello, I am The Post-Modern Renaissance Man. How are you? I am fine. I'm writing to you today because I am concerned about you two. How are you? Really. Listen, we need to talk about your next big budget fantasy opus, The Golden Compass. I'm worried about you guys. Do you want to talk it out?
I mean, here you guys are, in the Spring of 2004, and you option a little known fantasy trilogy by this guy named Phillip Pullman. This is on the heels of LOTR, arguably, your greatest triliological success since Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles in Time closed out the TMNT trilogy. I understand that you are giddy with the possibilities. Then you bring in Chris Weitz as your director. Okay. The guy who directed About A Boy. Hmm. Now, here's where we first come across my concern for your film. With Lord of The Rings, you could hire a bunch of geeks (Peter Jackson, Sean Astin) to do the work because of the HUGE NAME that Lord of The Rings had. You could bring in the geeks to do it justice because you didn't need to worry about selling the product. So you brought in a guy with some semblance of fantasy experience and credibility, and you subsequently burned him for 100 Million in royalties. More on that in a moment.
So, Chris Weitz. Young, starry-eyed kid. Big fan of the series. But, he directed About A Boy. See, again, same ish. With The Golden Compass, You don't have, forgive me Pullman fans, one-eighth the name recognition that LOTR or Narnia had, and forget Harry Potter. Don't you even look at him. Actually, you might want to. Back to that in a sec. You're gonna need to work for your money back on this one. So, how does any GREAT company do that? Hmmm....Well, you could cut costs in the production team and hire more stars than talent in the cast. Try that.
So, back to Weitz. You also tap him for the screenplay. Fun Fact: He wrote The Nutty Professor II. No judgment. Just saying. So, having done that, you decide to fuck with the fan-boys. Who can blame you? I would have. I'm sure they all have questionable hygiene. So scrubbing the filth of your lies off when you drop the hint that Tom Stoppard would be brought in for a draft would do them a favor, removing layers of grime that have been there since Bridge To Terabrithia.
So, Weitz quits, because he realizes he directed About A Boy and THIS is his follow-up. Or, he finds the technical challenges too "daunting". Whatever you believe. You bring in Anand Tucker, the man behind your big-budget success, Shopgirl. Pullman loves him. There's a problem. Anyone he'd like has got to be a fan-boy, and you can't afford, wait, sorry; don't want to spend on fan-boys (Jackson is still costing you 20 mil. a year for five years). So fire him. Good call. Bring back Weitz. His sensible, Steve Martin free movies teach us all to laugh, love, and not want to kill Steve Martin.
Production rumbles forward. You shoot your wad of cash on Nicole Kidman, which, may I say, there's no better way to not help your movie, while not hurting it either. A very fiscally clever status quo move there. Then, unfortunately, you realize that your other heavy hitters: Jude Law, Michael Caine, and James McAvoy....They'll all want money too. Probably a lot. Hmm. That's a problem. Wait, what if you hire lesser known, more respected, cheaper actors? And make it look like the movie has artistic merit again? GENIUS! Bring in James Bond, The Older Brother from Tombstone, and James McAvoy's buddy in Last King of Scotland (Not Forrest Whittaker. The other one. The white one.) Back on track, back under budget. Hey, and fan-boys love James Bond. Bonus Round!
Still, they use that internet a lot. And the internet has been filled with all those articles about how Peter Jackson hates you because you doctored the receipts of LOTR to screw him AND his effects team out of 100 million. That's trouble. Because that's like the Jesus of the New Fan-Boy community (with Brett Ratner and Zack Snyder as sexy, 30-something apostles) is telling you to piss off. That's going to hurt. Because now none of the special effects companies in town will help you. Oh well, when in doubt, sign a rookie for 25 million. Hopefully that'll go well.
Still, you should probably show the fantasy fans around the world, who are at this point skeptical of the prison shower scene this whole affair has been so far, that you were right. Why not beat them at their own game? Put a trailer on the Internet. A Teaser Trailer! That'll show 'em.
Wait, it didn't? And now Weitz is talking about how difficult it was to interact with the producers and the film company? He's saying you held him back? Asshole! You made all the decisions you needed to make. Sure, 20% isn't that impressive for a hit ratio, but still: HE DIRECTED ABOUT A BOY! WITH HIS BROTHER! THAT'S LIKE, HALF CREDIT! WHO'S HE TO JUDGE?
Better put out another teaser. Just re-work the old one, you guys can do it yourselves one night on iMovie over a sixer of Grolsch and a pizza. Or better yet, get one of those 13 year olds on the YouTube who're always making fake trailers of old movies and trailers to do it. There are like, 50 for The Dark Knight. Boy, I bet you guys wish you had that movie. Oh, sorry.
What, they want more? MORE? Then just give it to the little jerks. Spoil the whole movie. I mean, people who've never heard of an alethiometer or don't get why polar bears are in armor are the people you want in the seats. Just like Harry Potter. It's better to be in the business of financially remunerative, yet culturally irrelevant movies that are gimmes for Best Special Effects (Oscar Winner!), than to be in the business of pleasing 3rd Level Dungeon Masters and kids who call comics 'graphic novels'. Don't please them. Loyalty to a franchise is about as costly as Nicole Kidman's Assistant. Fuck fan-boys. If you were in the business of pleasing them, you'd be working with Peter Jackson on The Hobbit. Or at Disney working on Prince Caspian. Or working on The Dark Knight. Boy, I bet you wish you guys had that movie.
Which brings me back to my first question: What the fuck is your problem?
I'm sorry. That came out wrong.
How are you? Really.
Respectfully hoping for your correspondence,