This week’s Roundtable topic was inspired by a comment posted by one of our blog’s readers, Adam. This one is admittedly a bit esoteric, but we had fun with it. Here’s the challenge: If you could assemble a dream team production of talent (director, writer, stars) to make a movie, who would you include and what would you have them make?
The only ground rule we set for ourselves was that all of the individuals must still be alive and (at least theoretically) capable of working today. There will be no resurrecting Orson Welles or Alfred Hitchcock to remake ‘Black Swan’, or anything like that.
Here’s what the staff came up with. I’ll start things off.
After the back-to-back debacles of ‘Southland Tales‘ and ‘The Box‘, I’m waiting for director Richard Kelly to redeem himself. This guy looked like such a burst of talent when his brilliant ‘Donnie Darko‘ was released. Unfortunately, his watered-down “Director’s Cut” and his three audio commentaries on the film made it clear that Kelly himself didn’t really understand the movie he made. It appears to have been one of those rare circumstances where all the elements of the universe aligned just perfectly for one shining moment. Nonetheless, even in his lousy follow-ups, Kelly has demonstrated an interesting visual style and a unique sense of tone. What he really needs is someone else to write a script for him. Take that job out of the director’s hands.
To that end, what a perfect fit Charlie Kaufman would make. The writer of ‘Being John Malkovich’ and ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind‘ would no doubt come up with something surreally mind-bending and perfectly suited to Kelly’s directorial embellishment.
For some reason, I really want Bruce Willis to star. Although he’s rarely called to use them these days, the man actually does have some acting chops, and is a hell of a leading man. It’s time to remind the world of the Bruce Willis from ‘12 Monkeys‘ again.
What should they make? I can hardly imagine, but I’d sure pay to see it.
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Writer: John Cameron Mitchell/Richard O’Brien
Music: John Cameron Mitchell/Richard O’Brien
Stars: Paul Walker, John Leguizamo, Nick Cannon, Hayden Christensen, Sam Worthington, Alison Brie
We’re long overdue for another really fun movie starring drag queens, transvestites and transexuals. ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ came out nearly ten years ago. Since then, everything has been serious, dramatic and just not up to snuff. So what the hell? Let’s combine the writing and musical styles of Mitchell (‘Hedwig’) and O’Brien (‘The Rocky Horror Show’) with the flair for color and fun that Baz Luhrmann brings to the table. Finally, we add some actors who could really use some role changes on their résumés. Ultra-serious Paul Walker doesn’t do it for me, so put him in a dress and we’ll see how it goes. Leguizamo makes the cut because he’s worked in drag before, and worked with Baz before. Alison Brie makes the list simply because I think she’s great.
There’s this book called ‘Lucky Jim’ by Kingsley Amis. It’s about a young professor who’s struggling with campus politics, trying to get a paper published, and get himself tenure. It was made into a movie back in 1957 and again by PBS in 2003. I’d still like to see it done again, this time with Hugh Grant as the main character. Grant possesses the elusive ability to simultaneously convey humor, discomfort, charm and likeability. That’s exactly what the character of Lucky Jim needs. As far as a director for such an endeavor… The story is a light comedy but has moments of absurdity and physical comedy. Also at question is the setting. Should it be modern day? Does it have to stay ridiculously British? I guess the director is TBD. Suggestions welcome.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
There’s not much out there that warms my cold, black heart quite as much as goopy, demented, and cacklingly witty horror flicks. If I were putting together my All-Star Jam Session line-up for a movie like that…? Sam Raimi dusted off his genre letter jacket with ‘Drag Me to Hell, returning to his spastic splatter roots after three straight summer tentpoles. With Raimi in the director’s chair, I’d hand the screenwriting chores over to Shane Black, an endlessly witty writer with a great sense of pacing and a knack for action.
Nathan Fillion would be a brilliant lead in anything. With as pitch-perfect as he was as the horror-comedy-hero-type in ‘Slither‘, I’d be up for seeing him back in that blood-spattered saddle again. I’d also cast Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the female lead in everything, ever, and that’d definitely be a no-brainer in a movie like this with her horror-heavy filmography.
With a line-up like that, I don’t really care what the story is, exactly. Every concept I come up with sounds exactly like ‘Demons’ or ‘The Convent’, both of which sound a lot like ‘The Evil Dead‘. So I guess I don’t have much of a future in dreaming up original material. But hey! Tight spaces, demon-zombie-whatever-possession, a depraved sense of humor, barrel drums of splatter, frantic and wildly over-the-top action… I tear up just thinking about it.
Director: Coen Brothers
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
After I read the topic for this week’s Roundtable, I had an epiphany about a movie that I’d love to see made. But everything would have to work out perfectly. This is my dream movie:
The Coen Brothers have shown that they can criss-cross across genres seamlessly. These guys can do comedy, suspense, or drama. Whatever it is, they can do it no problem. I started thinking that I’d love to see a supernatural thriller with a Coen Brothers twist. How cool would that be? Would we finally see a supernatural thriller without all the crippling clichés that come along with the genre?
That’s where the writer would come in. Some of you are looking at my choice and laughing. I understand why. Hey, I hated ‘The Last Airbender‘ with a passion, but let’s think back to the Shyamalan of ‘The Sixth Sense‘, or ‘Signs‘. That’s the writer I want doing this script. Keep him away from the director’s chair, but if he can channel the Shyamalan of old, this would be a perfect matchup for this genre.
Finally, I’d love to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead. He’s shown that he’s more than capable of pulling off a dramatic starring role. I feel like he could hold down his own movie and put butts in the seats, especially with the Coens behind the camera. Go on, try to find fault with this movie idea. You just can’t. It’s foolproof. Now, Hollywood, let’s make it happen.
By now, I think we’ve established the fact that I’m a big Woody Allen fan. I also think I’ve made it pretty clear that while the man has had a hit or miss track record, he almost always comes up with something interesting. I’ve already seen what I thought would be a dream team Allen pairing when he made ‘Whatever Works‘ with Larry David. Alas, that was anything but a wish come true. In short, it sucked. So, here’s my production roster for the real Woody Allen Dream Project:
It’s been far too long since Allen appeared in one of his films. So he’d have to write, direct, and act. It’s been even longer since he appeared with his old partner in crime Diane Keaton. Her involvement would be another necessity. Next up is someone I’ve been dying to see in an Allen movie for years, perhaps as the California foil to one of the Wood-man’s dreams, a la Paul Simon in Annie Hall: That man is Steve Martin. His appearance in ‘The Spanish Prisoner’ in 1997 had me excited for more indie film involvement, but it just didn’t ever happen. Though he’s primarily associated with California, Martin has a bi-coastal L.A./Manhattan sensibility that I think would be perfect in an Allen film. To go with one of Martin’s co-stars from a far less worthy film, Kevin Kline would be another fantastic addition to the cast. Sprinkling in a few more Allen collaborators of days gone by, how about Alec Baldwin and Alan Alda? Now we’re cookin’, people.
Oh, but we’ll need some younger stars too. Since Allen likes to use the same talent from film to film, how about Edward Norton and, say, Rachel McAdams? Oh man, this is getting good now. The story: A sophisticated comedy set in New York, L.A., and perhaps the south of France, involving some favorite older stars and talented younger past collaborators. I mean, can’t you see it already? All the best parts of ‘Everyone Says I love You’, but no singing, and with elements of what ‘It’s Complicated‘ should have been! And Rachel McAdams for the icing on the cake. Now that’s a dream project.
Less some kind of super-movie than a realization of unfulfilled potential, I’d love to see any of the directors who were previously slated to adapt Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ landmark graphic novel ‘Watchmen’ be allowed to finish the job. Yes, I know we got a ‘Watchmen‘ movie a couple of years ago from future-‘Superman’ director Zack Snyder – one that was full of slow motion and inappropriately placed pop music. If you were satisfied with that, especially knowing what other directors had been previously attached, then you’re a damn fool. Please take into consideration that genuine visionaries Terry Gilliam and Paul Greengrass were at various points on board to direct the property, while Darren Aronofsky flirted with the project for several years. (I tend to think that Aronofsky funneled many of his ‘Watchmen’ ideas into ‘The Fountain‘. Think about its overlapping concepts of time and visual circuitousness.)
There’s a chart online that maps out the casts for the various iterations. Greengrass’ seems to be the most exciting. He had Paddy Considine as Rorschach and Jude Law as Ozymandias, for crying out loud! (Bonus points for Ron Perlman as The Comedian and Joaquin Phoenix as the Nite Owl.) Greengrass’ theoretical version, which got as far as sets being built and a website going live, would have also avoided a number of the potholes that Snyder’s version fell into – mainly by updating the story to the War on Terror. Maybe Greengrass knew that Bush made an even better bad guy than Nixon. Or it could have been that he didn’t want to have to use any terrible ’80s pop songs.
Imagine, if you could, a film that opens with a beaten and bloodied Dane Cook, tied to a chair, in a damp room, replete with swinging lightbulb, grimy brick walls and a dirty floor, a rat or two, and four other people. Two of them are holding camcorders constantly mentioning pop culture that hasn’t been relevant for years. The other two appear to be Jim Rome and Channing Tatum, duct taped back to back to a support beam, ball gagged. There’s a table with various power tools and sex toys, sounds of screams coming from areas unknown, and a few nonsensical twists that are about as edgy as a beach ball. No, this isn’t ‘Hostel 3’. As soon as Dane Cook’s acting career breathes its last, the men with camcorders proceed to take their talents of butchery to the other men. Slowly. There are no special effects, no cutaways. As the credits roll, we see the directing credits go to Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the men holding the camcorders, and it suddenly makes sense. Of course, the title ‘Snuff Film’ should have given it away, as well as the random cameo appearances of Brangelina adopting one of the corpses, or some as of yet unreleased film’s main characters showing up for five seconds to seem relevant and hip, even if it’s out of said character’s as of yet unknown…character. We then see writing credits go to Nicholas Sparks. Courts sometime down the line will discover his name was put on the film by some unnamed film critic who wanted revenge for being forced to watch ‘Nights in Rodanthe‘, and was able to implicate the writer, eliminating at least seven screenplays from being created in the one month he was being held by police. Sparks is innocent… in a sense. I mean, have you even seen ‘The Last Song’?
The film makes $85 million. Moviegoers worldwide still wait for the directing duo to complete their next (and final) project: ‘Suicide Video’.
OK, so that’s what we came up with. Now it’s your job to put together your own movie dream teams and tell us all about them in the Comments.