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Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Horseman

Each year for the last five or so I've gone into December with a sense of nervous expectation. Christmas? Holiday parties? The dawning New Year? The snow storm sweeping up the East Coast? Yeah, all that stuff too, but what I'm talking about now is related to Tinseltown...

This is the month that I learn whether or not the movie producer Uberto Pasolini is going to renew the option he holds for Gabriel's Story. He's been connected with this movie since at least 2003. He found it on his own, just browsing for a Western novel that hooked him. He likes to say that every producer should have at least one Western in their portfolio. Apparently, Gabriel's Story is the one that works for him, and he's willing to put in the time and money over the long haul to make it happen.

So here we are again, and I can say with real joy that Red Wave is renewing for another year. They continue to feel good about the director, Alan Taylor, and the screenplay they have. And it sounds like they feel the market for a film like this might look better soon. Uberto's been right before. I doubt Gabriel's Story would ever be a blockbuster surprise like his hit The Full Monty, but it doesn't have to be. I'd settle for a well-made movie by people that are passionate about the book and have a record of staying the course with the projects they love.

That's what I got. Cross fingers for me, please.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

In Search Of The Successor...

Hey, here's a link to a very kind piece by Mary Robinette Kowal at SciFi Scanner. It's about the books that might make the next round of epic fantasy films. Can you guess why I'm chuffed about it?

("Chuffed" is a good thing to be, by the way.)

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Slumdog

Last night I saw Slumdog Millionaire. Despite the fact that it's about to win the Best Picture Oscar, it's only playing on a couple of screens in the Fresno/Clovis area. We had to drive past several cineplexes to get to it. Ah, Fresno... but I digress.

I thought it was really quite good, and I'm sure it's walking away with that gold statue-thing tonight. I respect the film on several different levels. For one, it's structurally very clever. It's composed in a way that uses near and distant backstory to move the narrative forward, while at the time managing to leave all the suspense in place at the movie's conclusion. The fundamental thematic revelation that explains why this young man was able to answer the Millionaire questions is brilliant (even if it reminds some of Forrest Gump). Boyle depicts so much crushing poverty and child abuse in a film that still manages to have a logical progression to its uplifting ending. Not easy, and absolutely better than most Hollywood attempts at the same.

And it's got subtle moments as well, things that pass by without being highlighted but that certainly were intentional. Take, for example, the fact that it begins with a torture sequence. Not pleasant, and yet it's interesting that the person being tortured doesn't open up until the torturers... well, sit him down and start talking to him like he's a person. I respect Boyle for having elements like that that can be seen as overtly political statements that he manages to work seamlessly into the logic of the narrative.

Now, I can't deny that this film's success comes from the fact that Boyle knows how to meaningfully present this material for a Western audience. Does he touch on some familiar Indian stereotypes and landmarks? Sure. But he also takes us - and middle class Indians too - into places we/they have not been. I know the reaction in India has not been as euphoric as here, which prompted me to check out some Indian-oriented blogs. Here's The Imagined Universe's take on it. Here's Prerna on Family Secrets, Objections and Excuses. Perhaps most interesting, though - and more to the point than middle class ruminations - is this piece on how "destitute" Indian children responded to viewing the movie. Take a look. It was about them, after all...


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Monday, February 09, 2009

Can I Show You Something?

Note to Myself:

Okay, this doesn't really mean anything. I mean, it's just what it is. No more. It doesn't like mean it's happening, or anything. Total long shot. Nothing be a dream, baby. Don't start playing golf or shopping for a sailboat, David. Really. Don't.

But... you may give in to short lived daydreams and flights on fancy. You may bookmark this page and return to it daily, just in case there's some new bit of information added to move it more toward reality...

Go HERE, to the hallowed pages of the Internet Move Database to see what I'm blathering about.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

StoryCasting

Hiya. Just a quick note to mention that the folks over at StoryCasting.com have posted pages to cast actors for all of my books (and lots of other people's books). It looks like fun. It's free. You just join and can select actors with headshots and all. I haven't done this myself. I feel strangely wary of doing so, but you should certainly feel free to voice your opinion. I'd be interested...

The site is here: StoryCasting.com.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

More About This Movie Stuff

I do know that it's very hard to get films made, and that we're still in the very early stages of the process with Acacia, but I am pretty excited about this one. What I find most encouraging is not just that the book has been optioned and announced; it's that the players involved so far are top notch.

My first contact was Zach Schiff-Abrams at Michael De Luca Productions. I remember the first time we talked. I was in Tahoe at a friend's house and he was home with his new baby. He said all the right things about the book, of course, but many of those right things showed that he got it with specificity. He wasn't just interested because the Entertainment Weekly review had been so good and studios were looking for another Lord of the Rings. Zach gave me the time and talked things through thoroughly. He's clearly a good businessman, but I read him as sincere also.

Of course, I knew of his boss, Michael De Luca, who has been involved in tons of movies. You can see his IMDb page: HERE. He's helped bring to the screen movies like...

21, A Man Apart, John Q, Blow, Thirteen Days, Magnolia, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, American History X, Pleasantville, Blade (I & II) and Boogie Nights.

His credits also include The Love Guru and Ghost Rider, but so it goes... None of those sound exactly like Acacia? Well, good, that means it's about time for a bit of epic fantasy on his list!

Zach and Michael took the idea to Relativity Media, though, because - as you may have heard - these film things cost a lot of money to make. Relativity is a financing and production company. I think that means they do a lot of things, and that some of what they do crosses the normal barriers for these things. They produce movies, yes, but they also finance them. They have deep pockets and are willing to take on all or some of the financial risks to make films happen. That's good news, and I think it increases the chances Acacia will move forward. They've certainly made a lot of films in a pretty short few years. You can see a list of all of them on their IMDb page, but they've been involved in some capacity with films like...

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Hancock, Wanted, Baby Mama, The Forbidden Kingdom, Charlie Wilson's War, American Gangster, Atonement, 3:10 to Yuma, The Pursuit of Happyness…

They also had a hand in Evan Almighty and Ghost Rider, but so it goes… Coming up they have Mary Queen of Scots, The Tale of Despereaux, Brothers, and many more. No doubt. These folks make movies! They make some good ones. Some not so good ones. Big ones. Smaller ones. Purely commercial ones and Academy Award contenders. It's all of this together that has me excited.

Here's their IMDb page.

Their deal with Universal Pictures.

Relativity Holdings.

This actually happened a while back, but before announcing it Relativity wanted to have another piece in place: a writer. Enter Andrew Grant. I can't say a lot about Andrew Grant's films because I don't know that a big credit has reached the cinemas yet for him. I do know that he's sold a script to Tom Cruise, and that he's very well regarded in the business. Zach was interested in him early on. I believe they worked together on something else. Anyway, part of what's cool about Andrew signing on is that he also didn't jump at the chance just because it was a epic fantasy project. He read the book when Zach asked him to. He liked it, thought about it, and... then got excited about making it into a screenplay. (That, at least, is the way I understand it. Correct me if I'm mistaken, Andrew.) That sounds like the way it should be, but perhaps isn't always.

So that's the basic info. There might not be much more news on this front for a while. And it is possible that this will be the highpoint of the entire endeavor. I'm hoping, though, that things will go a lot higher yet...

Wanna get involved? How about putting in your two cents re casting the movie? There's been a thread up about it at my Forum for a while. It's been quiet for a while over there, but maybe now is a good time to take up the subject again. Check it out: HERE.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Acacia: The Film? Yeah, baby. (Well, You Know, Maybe... But, Yeah, Baby!)

OMG. Right, so... Yeah... Am I making sense yet? OK. Um... lemme start again.

Right, so... A year ago I had a Hollywood experience. At last year's ComicCon I hung out with Zach Schiff-Abrams (a movie producer-type with Michael DeLuca Productions). We ate many shrimp, mussels, watched young women dance beside flaming torches, drank lovely booze (am I mixing metaphors?), went up to roof top parties (before other people, you know - jumping the queue, etc.), didn't talk to Sean Young (although we could have), listened to silliness, learned to love silliness, just missed a personal intro to Ridley Scott, did see that guy who directed 300 riding in a... golf cart or something... (memory fails, but geeze his girlfriend was... Wait, I'm off topic) um... (Wait. Note to self: never move to LA.) ... but anyway...

... and we talked about making Acacia into a film. Zach was well into it. He knew the book. He got it. He believed he could be part of making a major film from it. He convinced Relativity Media that this was a good idea. They bought. Yahoo! (Not trademarked.) Fast forward, um... well, twelve months. (During which time I was told NOT to talk about it.)

And here we are. I'll say more about this soon, but for tonight let me point you toward...

Variety

and

The Hollywood Reporter.

And, yikes, news travels fast about such things. I got an email from a German friend asking me about this before this even posted, and now, a few hours in Elbakin has it too, as does movieplayer.it and lots of other film watching sources worldwide. Wow...

Yes, I still know the chances are it will never happen. But still... Yahoo!

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Wall-E

I'll keep this short... When I think of how much meaningless drivel (ugly, vacuous, violent, divisive, etc.) Hollywood produces and America (and the world, too) consumes I'm... Well, actually, I try not to think about it. I'm just used to it. All the gore in the aisles of Blockbuster... But coming out of Wall-E yesterday, I couldn't help but be amazed at the positive power of film and the sheer joy of being taken away by a great story.

If you haven't seen this movie, please go and see it. Take a kid if you have one available, but go even if you don't. It's special, and the filmmakers deserve your money in payment for them making it. I didn't know how powerful the experience was until the final credits rolled. Don't get me wrong, I am talking about a kid's flick. It is funny and light and enjoyable... But that's why I was so struck at the end. This movie is, thematically, about big issues. What's so stunning about it to me is that the filmmakers manage to be critical of human (Western) folly without being shrill or accusatory. This is a film about the biggest mistake humans can make, an enormous crime that we are in the midst of right now, but it's made with love, not anger. (Well, not exactly...) Man, these guys are smart...

That's all I want to say about it.

If you want to hear what a few others thought here's:

Ty Burr at the Boston Globe


Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun Times

and Claudia Puig at USA Today. (They all loved it too.)

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