Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #751: Time For "The Talk"

Paramount has inked a deal to make a comedy directed by and starring Warren Beatty.

That's right it's not Dick Tracy 2: The Great Pension Office Caper, so you're going to have to keep waiting, at least until the battle for the rights for the character heats up again.

Nope it's going to be a comedy. The actual story and subject matter doesn't really matter at this stage of the game.

What matters is that someone important at Paramount give Mr. Beatty "The Talk."

No, he doesn't need the birds and the bees explained to him. He figured that out himself a long long time ago. And I'm not talking about that clone of
The View on CBS that just happens to feature the wife of the guy who runs CBS.

I'm talking about that dose of bitter reality that both Beatty and the studio have to swallow if they're going to make a successful movie.

I imagine it going something like this....
STUDIO SUIT: Beatty baby, come on in.

BEATTY: What's new pussycat?

STUDIO SUIT: Everything baby doll, everything. Have a seat. Can I get my assistant to fetch you something?

BEATTY: I'd like a bottle of Perrier. Hand delivered from France.

STUDIO SUIT: (to assistant) You heard the man! Get on a plane now! (to Beatty) Now Warren, baby, we need to talk about this movie you're going to direct and star for us.

BEATTY: It's going to be great.

STUDIO SUIT: I'm sure it will be. You've been in, and made some really big movies, and won all sorts of awards, but we have to be careful here.

BEATTY: What do you mean careful?

STUDIO SUIT: This whole thing could blow up in our pretty faces if you're not careful.

BEATTY: What do you mean by careful!?!

STUDIO SUIT: I'm talking about money. Times have changed, making movies are more expensive than ever. We can't just toss money around unless it's something that will bring in the kids, like a superhero or a talking toy.

BEATTY: I can bring in the kids!

STUDIO SUIT: Out of curiosity maybe, but not out of their love for you and your movies. Ask anyone under 35 about you and most will respond "Who?" Your core audience are baby boomers don't go to the movies as often as they used to.


STUDIO SUIT: Did you just say "gasp."

BEATTY: Maybe.

STUDIO SUIT: Anyway, let me get back to my point. Because your audience is older, and smaller we can't spend the sort of money that we used to on your movies.

BEATTY: My movie's a comedy without big special effects, it shouldn't cost that much.

STUDIO SUIT: Your last comedy without big special effects cost over $90 mil just to make it, and made less than dick at the box office!

BEATTY: It took a long time to make it right.

STUDIO SUIT: It took almost 3 years to make it and it was still a big steaming pile on the rug, and most sources say the super-long shoot was mostly your fault!

BEATTY: I'm a perfectionist.

STUDIO SUIT: Perfection is a luxury! We just want them to be entertaining at best, salable at worst. You've been in this biz for longer than I've been alive, you know that the chief thing a movie's budget buys is time. The longer you take, the more expensive it becomes, and more expensive it becomes, the less likely it will make any money. We need our movies to make money or we have to stop making movies.

BEATTY: An older actor can still sell. Clint Eastwood is older than me, and his Gran Torino made almost $300 million worldwide.

STUDIO SUIT: Point 1: Gran Torino cost less than 1/3 what your last movie cost, because Eastwood doesn't waste time or money making his movies. Point 2: He didn't completely drop out of everything for ten years before doing it. He was still fresh in the audience's memories, they knew it would be his last film as an actor and paid to see it in droves.

BEATTY: So what am I supposed to do?

STUDIO SUIT: Make a good film in a reasonable amount of time, for a reasonable amount of money, without the goddamn off camera melodrama that take up time and burn company money. If we can trust you to do this, you will probably be able to direct and star in other movies in the future.

BEATTY: New Line didn't give me this grief with Town & Country.

STUDIO SUIT: And we all know where New Line is now, don't we?

BEATTY: I don't.
Now that conversation dripped from the bubbling cauldron of my fevered brain, and the odds of anyone in Hollywood having the stones to have it with someone of Beatty's stature are slimmer than a supermodel.

UPDATE: The mystery project in question is going to be about the later life of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, because his story has never been done before.

Warren really should have taken Tarantino's offer to be in Kill Bill, he really should have.


  1. This movie deal just sounds like it will be another BLOATED DISASTER. What was Town and Country about? I like many never watched it or bothered wanting to.

  2. Blast Hardcheese22/6/11 10:07 am

    Clint Eastwood, in addition to your two points, also makes movies constantly. He's got it down to a fine science.

    I remember reading William Goldman's account of visiting the set of a Clint Eastwood picture. In addition to the speed and efficiency of the shoot, the other main detail that stuck in his mind was during lunchtime, when Clint got a tray and then STOOD IN LINE to wait his turn.

    That's the sort of mindset you need. Get the picture done, and let your ego take a hike.

  3. If and when I make a major motion picture. I will run it like the Army, you get your MRE or DFAC chow and STFU. No Will Smith and this MEGA trailer or any of that gourmet BS, cast and crew will her BARRACKS.

  4. Gary- nobody seems to know what Town & Country was about, even the people that made it. That was its biggest problem.

    Blast- The more I learn about Eastwood's methods the more I feel confirmed in his status as the only movie star turned director that I truly respect.

    Gary- MRE's are a tad extreme. There are ways to feed a crew cheap without resorting to that. ;-)

  5. MRE's I'll do that if the A list asswipes PISS ME OFF. If they really PO me then it is the dreaded Veggie Cheese Omelet.