Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On... #37: When $100,000,00 Is Not Enough

A big hat tip to the eerily accurate Nikki Finke who brings us this tip about Universal's plan to revive one of their classic monster franchises with a remake of The Wolfman.

Word is that music video and commercial director Mark Romanek quit the movie (his 2nd feature) because the film's $100,000,000 budget wasn't enough to fulfil his "artistic vision" of the film.

If this report is true, and Ms. Finke is uncannily reliable, it compels me to ask a question of Mr. Romanek:

Are you an idiot?

I'm wondering how you could spend all of $100,000,000 to make the movie, let alone spend more?

It's the freaking Wolfman.

The original was made for about the half the amount Romanek spends on production assistants for one of his music videos, and it's become a horror classic.

What the hell was in his "vision" of the film?

Legions of CGI werewolves doing elaborate dance numbers down the streets of London (rebuilt entirely at Pinewood Studios) to the music of Nine Inch Nails, Julia Roberts, George Clooney and Nicole Kidman getting $15,000,000 a piece for cameos as a lovably wacky gypsy family, or perhaps a recreation of the Battle of Agincourt, performed entirely by trained chimps wearing solid gold armour?

The man just committed career suicide and for what?

Well it's obvious that he didn't give a rodent's rectum about the film itself. If he did, he would have found a way to make the film within that generous budget, using what directors have used since the dawn of cinema: imagination and determination.

Sadly Romanek appears to be of a school of thought that puts their own image as an "auteur" ahead of the work, forgetting that an auteur is made by his work, not his affectations.

I'm not the type to psycho-analyze, but I can't resist it. My theory is that Romanek's career in music videos ruined him. He became used to working with spoiled rotten rock stars who got their every whim fulfilled by their label (just before cheating them out their royalties) and forgot how to work within budgets by using imagination and hard work.

He did make a small budget film called 1 Hour Photo that gets minimal box-office, but good reviews, and more importantly positive buzz that's strong enough to convince Universal to give him a $100,000,000 budget to re-imagine one of their classics.

And he pisses it all away.

I'd love to have $100,000,000 to make my first major studio feature, hell, I'd love to have $10,000,000 to make a feature film, and I sure as hell wouldn't stomp off like a spoiled brat about it while in pre-production.

But, if this report is true, Romanek values his own ego over his art, he was given the one of the ultimate movie fan-boy dream projects on a $100,000,000 plate and he pissed it away, and I doubt any other studio boss not afflicted with brain damage to ever sign him for another film.

And a filmmaker who doesn't make films, isn't a real filmmaker, he's just a crank, complaining about the injustices of Hollywood on his blog...

...but I digress.

So here's my new proposal, with my attempt to replace Robert Shaye as CEO of New Line on the back burner, I now offer my services to Universal Pictures to replace Romanek as director of The Wolfman.

I've made a couple of music videos, and I'll not only bring in The Wolfman for under $100,000,000, I'll give him a flea dip and neutering for free.

So if anyone from Universal Pictures is reading this:

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