Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #741: Wednesday Wamblings

Bit of a random news day today, so let's get the ball rolling...


CBS Films, the theatrical movie arm of the venerable TV network, has inked a deal to adapt Vince Flynn's action thriller American Assassin for the big screen. American Assassin is a "prequel" to the best-selling book series about Mitch Rapp, and tells the story of his transformation from mild mannered scholar to hardcore CIA agent and terrorist hunter.

Fans describe the books as cinematic and action packed by nature, so it should be pretty simple to adapt them to the screen and make them a viable movie franchise.

But remember, this is Hollywood we're talking about here, and Hollywood loves to complicate simple things.

The biggest complication that could sink this franchise before it even begins is simple politics.

The books are described as unabashedly patriotic. Mitch Rapp goes after Islamic terrorists with great gusto, and uses what ever means are necessary to stop them. America is unabashedly the good guy, and the terrorists are unquestioningly the bad guys.

Hollywood has lately been iffy on the issue of Islamic terrorists as the villain in an action movie. On the rare occasions that they deal with material that should involve Islamic terrorism, Hollywood either changes them into German Neo-Nazis, as in
The Sum Of All Fears, or making them the unwitting dupes of the seemingly all powerful grey haired American WASP in a suit, or driven to their acts because America did something to deserve it, like buying oil.

Most of the time when it comes to spy thrillers that don't involve James Bond they follow a formula that is both tried and tired. I'm talking about how the "rogue operative" has to go fight the minions of the government he used to serve because said American government is up to no good. It's been done to death in...
  • Hanna
  • Salt
  • The A-Team
  • Green Zone
  • The Losers
  • The Bourne Identity
  • The Bourne Supremacy
  • The Bourne Ultimatum
  • Shooter
  • Mission: Impossible 1
  • The Long Kiss Goodnight
and many many more....

I even laid out how to compose your own story along those lines using a simple multiple choice chart. The reasons for this are two-fold, a politically correct desire to avoid offending anyone, and a politically incorrect belief that a non-Caucasian / non-American villain just can't possibly be any kind of a match to the usual Caucasian/ American hero.

So I wonder if this book would be remotely recognizable to its fans by the time it hits the big screen.


Roland Emmerich is set to direct a big screen big budget adaptation of the 80s video game Asteroids.

I'm not sure if Emmerich's up to the task, the game has way more story to it than pretty much all of his previous films combined.


Actor Laurence Fishburne is not going to renew his contract for long running crime-drama
CSI after 2.5 seasons.

I can understand his decision, he works regularly in movies, so the security of a spot on a weekly TV drama may not be the best for him creatively or financially. I can also understand putting a bow on his character, while Fishburne was always one of my favorite character actors, I didn't like what the
CSI people were doing with his character. The whole "serial killer playing head games with a cop on the edge" storyline they did was drawn out too long, and took too many ridiculous turns. It crossed the line from suspenseful to boring so fast, and plunged so deep, not even Fishburne's burning authority could save it.

I wish him luck, and just a quick thought to the producer's of
CSI: try John Malkovich this time. Because I'd just love to see him bring new levels of eccentricity to the show.


First the good news.

Thanks to the explosion of cable channels craving original content, the decline in the popularity of reality television, and the rise in quality scripted material there were pilots shot this past pilot season, than in a very long time.

That's the good news.

The bad news, at least for the traditional production hub of Los Angeles is that while the number of pilots being shot has gone up, the percentage of them being made in LA has shrunk.

There are 2 main reasons for this.

1. Technology has made it easier to shoot on location, away from the center of the TV universe, AKA Hollywood.

2. LA city regulations, California state regulations, union rules, and the sheer expense of getting around the poorly laid out civil engineering boondoggle known as LA, coupled with on-location tax breaks makes shooting outside of LA way cheaper and easier than shooting inside LA. A complete reversal of what used to be one of the fundamental truths of the film industry.

Can Los Angeles turn this situation around and win back the well paying film/TV jobs that was the city's birthright for decades?

It's possible, but it requires a certain amount of political will that I don't think the city of LA and the state of California has.


  1. Wait, I thought Fishburne was washed-up.

  2. Michigan has had a flurry of films and tv shows being shot here because of you tax incentives. We have Detroit 187 was unfortunately cancelled. was an extra for that and Real Steel which was shot here and OZ s coming as well.

  3. As for reality shows only ones I find worth watching are the DSC ones. American Chopper Sons of Guns Deadliest Catch.

    Not crap like Jersey Shore or the White Trash circus called Teen Mom on MTV or the Kardashians.

  4. Dirty McDingus Sezs:
    In regards to your last rhetorical question~ hollyweird be a big old No~NO for people who wish to have a budget that doesn't include union scum and demorats leeches.
    Fishburnes' only kick Ass 7 second moment occurred during this seasons episode 17 starting at 3:05~~~~ and that was it. Bye~Buye!