MCN Columnists
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Wednesday, 17 September 1997

Jodie Foster is set to direct and produce Flora Plum. Disney describes the picture as All About Eve set in a circus atmosphere. Some sample dialogue: Flora: “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!” Ringmaster: “That isn’t the night. The elephants just walked through here!” OR Flora to the elephants: “I’m still not to be had for the price of a salted peanut!”
READER HOT BUTTON DU JOUR:
From Amy Taylor of the Northwest: One “Hot Button” I personally have, is spec scripts such as Cowboys and Aliens, or Earth Dick (no, not soft porn!), being purchased for six figures. I bet my 8-year-old could come up with a better idea than those, or at least a better title! In all honesty, however, I am certain if they were my clients, I would have laughed all the way to the bank!
Thanks for your thoughts, Amy. You’ll be thrilled to read the next item.
The Thunderbirds is being prepped as a live-action film based on the hit 1960s U.K. TV series that featured marionettes as 21st century space heroes. The Hot Button’s wooden casting suggestions: Jason Patric as Anyone Who Has To Talk, Shaquille O’Neal as Anyone Who’s Not A Freak, Matthew McConaughey as Anyone Smart and Marky Mark Wahlberg’s prosthetic device from Boogie Nights as The Ultimate Force Of Nature.
E-Mail Dave with the issues that get your button hot!

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Pride

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“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas