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Posts Tagged ‘George Miller’

Film Production Nightmares

Posted by LiveFor on February 5, 2010

By Richard Bodsworth.

Benicio Del Toro stars in the remake of the 1941 classic horror The Wolfman which is set to open next week but it has not been an easy ride to get the finished product to the screen.  Mark Romanek left the project right before principal photography was about to start citing the old chestnut “creative differences” and was replaced by Jurassic Park 3 helmer, Joe Johnston.  The Wolfman is not the only film due this year which has had major production problems; Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood has also been hit with issues, most notably constant script rewrites resulting in the release date being pushed back numerous times.  Of course this is not a new thing, so let’s take a look at some other films which have struggled in production…

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)

Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer in the tropical rainforests of Australia, what could possibly go wrong? Um, a lot actually.  Three days in to production of the H.G Wells adaptation director Richard Stanley was given the heave-ho (a move apparently forced by Val Kilmer who earlier, for no apparent reason, decided he wanted his part drastically cut) and was replaced by John Frankenheimer, never a good start.  Brando and Frankenheimer then rewrote the majority of the script before later clashing over the direction the film was taking; Frankenheimer would also have heated exchanges with Val Kilmer several times throughout the shoot before vowing never to work with him again. Brando and Kilmer both had their own personal problems on-set, Kilmer being issued divorce papers on location while Brando struggled with the suicide of his daughter.  Amazingly Brando, who by this time had given up on the film, was fed his lines through a frequency radio.  David Thewlis (a late replacement for Rob Morrow) who would later skip the premiere supposedly said “He’d be in the middle of a scene and suddenly he’d be picking up police messages and Marlon would repeat ‘There’s a robbery at Woolworths’”.  The film received negative reviews and barely managed to scrape back its budget, Brando went on to win a Razzie for his performance.   

Twilight Zone: The Movie

Produced by Steven Spielberg, this feature length film of the classic 60’s TV show was split in to four segments, part one directed by John Landis, the second by Spielberg himself, Joe Dante directed the third and George Miller the fourth.  The events that occurred during the filming of Landis’ segment overshadowed the film itself as a freak accident cost the lives of actor Vic Morrow and two child actors.  Whilst filming a scene featuring a helicopter, pyrotechnics were set off but the helicopter was flying too low causing it to spin out of control and crash to the ground killing the trio.  Legal action followed and many regulations were changed including those that featured child and stunts filmed at night. 

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

Another well documented Gilliam nightmare, the guy seems to have no luck (here’s a nice article over at Hey You Guys http://tiny.cc/TerryGilliam). Being disrupted by a nearby NATO target area and a flash flood which would destroy equipment and locations were just the start before lead actor Jean Rochefort suffered a herniated disc cancelling production.  A blistering $15m insurance claim would later be brought and resulted in the company owning the rights to the film (these have since been transferred back to Gilliam). If you haven’t already seen Lost in La Mancha I recommend you do so, like now!  Gilliam has since resurrected the project however and hopes to start filming this year. Fingers crossed.

Alien 3.

One of the most obvious choices is Alien 3 because, well, it was a complete nightmare.  The film went through various writers starting with William Gibson, Near Dark scribe Eric Red to David Thwoy before Vincent Ward took over.  Ward had the idea of a wooden planet inhabited by monks, some of the set designs look great and it would have been very intriguing to see the finished product.  Ward however never got his chance as his idea was scrapped and he was replaced by David Fincher for his feature debut.  The script ended up as a mesh of various ideas from previous drafts which was thrown together by series producers Walter Hill and David Giler.  Since Fox wanted to rush the film out to hit their desired release date, Fincher went into the project without a set script and spent most of the time rewriting on set.  Trying the best he could, things got worse for Fincher when the film was reedited without his knowledge leaving him to basically disown the project.  The reception to the final cut was not great and generally regarded as the weakest of the four; you have to wonder how it would have turned out if Ward or Fincher were given full creative control.  If you can, try pick up the special edition DVD which features some interesting interviews and goes into detail about the early ideas and scripts; Fincher sadly does not feature in an interview.  

Apocalypse Now

The finished product may be classed as a cinematic masterpiece but all was not rosy during production of Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War epic.  Martin Sheen replaced Harvey Keitel a few days into production before a typhoon destroyed some of the sets, including the Playboy Playmate set, leaving the project behind schedule and over budget.  That man Brando was at it again after he showed up on set far too fat to play Colonel Kurtz forcing Coppola into rewriting the ending which in itself would prove a mammoth task.  Things didn’t get much easier after star Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack on set and had to crawl in to the middle of the road to get help. But after a lengthy post production the film was released to both financial and critical acclaim winning the Palme d’Or in 1979 and still features on numerous “Best of All Time” lists. 

Caligula

A film starring Malcolm McDowell, Peter O’Toole and Helen Mirren charting the rise and fall of Roman Emperor Caligula sound like a classy affair right? Not quite.  Written by Gore Vidal as a historical drama the only we way to secure funding was by partnering with adult magazine, Penthouse, editor Bob Guccione which should have spelled trouble from the start.  Italian director Tinto Brass was hired but he would argue with both Vidal and art director Danillo Donati over both the script and set design.  Star McDowell and Brass would later try and rewrite the script and Vidal would subsequently have his name removed before launching legal action.  After Guccione saw Brass’ final cut he fired him and brought in Giancarlo Lui to reedit the film and reshoot about six minutes of hardcore pornography to replace Brass’ shots.  Before the film was released Brass would also launch a legal suit further delaying the films release.  When the film finally did make it to the screen it was universally panned.

Others include; almost anything to do with Edward Norton who has a tendency to rewrite his parts onset, he also tried to reedit American History X himself leading to director Tony Kaye unsuccessfully attempting to have his name removed from the credits.  Life on the Blade Runner set was also rather challenging for cast and crew with director Ridley Scott being a notorious hard-ass leading squabbles with Harrison Ford and protests from the crew, oh and then there was the infamous ‘final cut’.  Scott and our old chum Terry Gilliam have both suffered the tragic misfortune of an actor dying mid-shoot, Oliver Reed on Gladiator and Heath Ledger during The Imaginaruim of Dr. Parnassus.  There can’t possibly be anything worse than completing a film, a pretty good film at that, but having it shelved and reshot by Renny Harlin.  Well that’s what happened to Paul Schrader.  His film Dominion, a prequel to horror classic The Exorcist was deemed “too dark” by the studio and Harlin was brought in to hack together Exorcist: The Beginning

 So what others would you like to see on the list? The Wolfman hits cinemas from Friday 12th February (I believe there are advance previews Wednesday and Thursday) keep an eye out for the LFF review.

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The Random – Patrick Stewart in Mad Max 4, Zac Efron as Spider-Man, Spock as Gershwin, Bourne with no Damon, Kathryn Bigelow wins best Director at DGA Awards, Being Human gets a third series

Posted by LiveFor on February 1, 2010

– Patrick Stewart has mentioned he is working with director George Miller on a film and it isn’t Happy Feet 2. Still very much a rumour via AICN, but it would be very cool to see Stewart in the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max. I’m hoping he plays a bad guy.

– An even bigger rumour (an probably totally made up as it comes from the UK magazine OK) is that Zac Efron could be the new Peter Parker in Spider-Man 4. The article says that Tobey Maguire has picked Zac and that his High School Musical co-star Vanessa Hudgens could be Mary Jane. Zac is closer in age to the Peter Parker back at high school tale they want to tell. Do you think it could be true? Go and vote on who you want to be the new Spidey.

– Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, Heroes) could be down to play George Gershwin and Spielberg may be directing.

– After basically wrapping up the Bourne franchise in Bourne Ultimatum it looks as if the studio want to continue the franchise, but so far they have no tale to tell. Empire have word from Matt Damon that the next Bourne could be a prequel and feature a different actor playing the younger version of Bourne. “There’ll probably be a prequel of some kind with another actor and another director before we do another one,” he said, “just because I think we’re probably another five years away from doing it – we’ve got to get a script…”

The Hurt Locker’s Kathryn Bigelow is the first woman to win the Directors Guild of America award for Outstanding Directorial Effort In Feature Film this weekend, calling it “the most incredible moment of my life.” Does this mean she’ll win the Oscar or will James Cameron get it for Avatar?

– The excellent Being Human (the show about a Vampire, Werewolf and Ghost living together) is currently showing its second series. Word from the BBC is that a third series has already been given the go ahead and the main cast are still in place. Fantastic news. Go watch the new series now.

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Happy Feet 2 – Brad Pitt and Matt Damon together again

Posted by LiveFor on January 18, 2010

Matt Damon and Brad Pitt were last seen together in Ocean’s Thirteen. Now they have apparantly been cast in George Miller’s Happy Feet 2.

Pitt and Damon will both be voicing characters in Miller’s Happy Feet 2, a 3-D sequel to his 2006 animated film. They’ll be joining original cast members who include Robin Williams and Elijah Wood.

Warner Bros. refused comment on the casting, but Movieline sources say that it’s a done deal — in fact, both Pitt and Damon were recording for it this week.

Happy Feet 2 is currently set for release on November 28, 2011.

Just a pity that Pitt and Clooney won’t be starring in George Miller’s Mad Max 4.

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Mad Max 4 – Teresa Palmer could me the lady in if. At least Jay Baruchel thinks so

Posted by LiveFor on January 17, 2010

Teresa Palmer is to play a leading role in George Miller’s hugely anticipated fourth Mad Max film Fury Road after her co-star in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice let details slip

Actor Jay Baruchel told reporters interviewing him for the new Dreamworks film How To Train Your Dragon that Palmer, who splits her time between Australia and Hollywood, was preparing for a gruelling shoot on the new Mad Max episode.

“She gets to work with him, and she’s (going to be) doing Mad Max 4 with Miller,” Baruchel said.

The actor, who counts Palmer as a very good friend after working with her on the Sorcerer film, said he didn’t know the character’s exact name, but believed it was the female lead.

“She’s the main chick in Fury Road,” he said.

“She’s going to be there for over a year. It’s really, really cool.”

It is not known if Palmer will replace or star with Charlize Theron, who signed on to the project last October. British actor Tom Hardy will play Max.

Miller previously cast Palmer (Bedtime Stories) and Baruchel (Tropic Thunder) as villains in his aborted 2008 superhero film Justice League of America.

The mammoth Mad Max production is scheduled to shoot for 30 weeks this year in and around Broken Hill.

Source: Herald Sun

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Holy Shinzon! Tom Hardy is the new Mad Max. Charlize Theron is the pretty post apocalyptic female lead

Posted by LiveFor on October 30, 2009

bronsonfilmstill_450x300Well, well, well. One of these internet rumours turned out to be true. Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy are in negotiations to star in the next Mad Max film, Mad Fax:Fury Road from writer-director George Miller.

According to Heat Vision blog Mel Gibson is not reprising his iconic role of Max Rockatansky.

The new Max is to be Hardy, the British-born actor who was Shinzon, the clone of Capt Picard in Star Trek Nemesis, Handsome Bob in Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla, Charles Bronson in Bronson and he’s also working on Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

Charlize Theron is playing the female lead, but so far there’s no more info on her character.

Plot details are scarce but supposedly the movie does take place a short while after the story detailed in 1985’s “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” which keeps Mad Max relatively young.

A shoot next summer in Australia is being eyed. The movie will be an Australian production which Warner Bros. will distribute.

“Road” has been in the works for more than a decade, with Gibson attached to star at one point. When the project finally began ramping up earlier this spring and summer, Miller began looking at and testing numerous actors who could step into the grim shoes previously worn by Gibson. Sam Worthington was the hot favourite, but it was not to be.

Not sure how I feel about Hardy playing Max. He is a good actor and Bronson shows he can really change for a role. Still it will be good to see a new Mad Max film.

How do you feel about Tom Hardy getting behind the wheel of the last of the V8 Interceptors?

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Mad Max: Fury Road revs up for next year

Posted by LiveFor on October 24, 2009

mad maxA new Mad Max film has been on again, off again over the past few years with no-one really sure what was going on. There has even been mention it was going to become an anime style film.

However, in the past week there has been a bit of movement on the Road Warrior front. Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy (Star Trek Nemesis, Bronson) are apparantly starring in it – as who I am not really sure. ABC News are saying Sam Worthington (Clash of the Titans, Terminator Salvation, Avatar) could be in the running to play Max – how many big budget genre pictures can one man do?

Now THR are reporting that the fourth installment in George Miller’s Mad Max franchise, “Fury Road,” is set to go into production in Sydney and outback New South Wales next year, according to local reports Saturday.

Miller, who also will produce the film through his production shingle Kennedy Miller, is quoted as saying that ” ‘Fury Road’ will put NSW back on the map as a filmmaking destination.

“Hollywood has cut its production in half. Big movies like ‘Fury Road’ and ‘Happy’ Feet are rare and competitively sought after in all the filmmaking regions of the world,” Miller told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

“The production agreements have been a long time in the making and (NSW) Premier Rees and his team have worked like Trojans to ensure this substantial investment comes into this country. Not only does it help fuel the local economy but it means many talented people get a chance to practice their craft and lift their skills.”

News that “Fury Road” has been given the greenlight comes just 10 days after Warner Bros. announced was pulling production of “Green Lantern” out of Australia.

No studio backing for “Fury Road” was announced for the film which reportedly has a $100 million budget.

“The ‘Mad Max’ films are iconic,” Rees said. “In the hands of director George Miller, we will see one of the largest and most ambitious live-action films ever made in Australia. This is a clear vote of confidence in Australian expertise. This proves that Sydney is an international contender for major film production.”

The original Mad Max was filmed in Victoria, Mad Max 2 was filmed around Broken Hill and the third Mad Max was shot in Coober Pedy, South Australia.

Around 30 weeks of the filming of Fury Road will take place in and around Broken Hill.

Now 30 weeks is a long time in the world of shooting a film. That would suggest there will be an awful lot of action and stunt work as that can take the most time to do.

Should Mad Max ride again? Is Sam Worthington the right choice to play Max? Should Mel Gibson have a cameo?

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Mad Max 4 – The Interceptor is ready to roll once more

Posted by LiveFor on May 18, 2009

News on Mad Max 4 keeps coming and going. It has been knocking around for a while now. The most recent news back in March was that it was going to be done in a 3D anime style. The latest piece of news from the Herald Sun suggests that it will still be live action.

It has been almost 25 years since the third film but now it looks like director George Miller is getting ready to shoot the fourth film in the road warrior franchise.

Scouting for locations is apparantly under way for the movie, and it could go into production later this year.

It is doubtful that Mel Gibson will be back as Max though, as Miller has said on previous occasions:

“It won’t be Mel. He was 21 when he made the first one, now he’s a lot older and his passion is for film-making and directing,” Miller said.

“I don’t think he is into acting and I don’t think he would be interested in being involved at all.”

Miller suggested he was considering a new, young star.

As mentioned at the top of this post, Mad Max 4 rumours keep appearing, so I’m looking at this as just another rumour until it actually starts shooting.

In the meantime who would you like to see play Max (Jason Statham maybe – so suggests Pete R aka Inspector Gadget aka ExceedTron aka Man of a Million Faces) Should it carry on beyond Thunderdome? Does it have to be the same character or could it be his son or another character? Would a reboot be better?

Discuss in the forum

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Odysseus will find you and will kill you.

Posted by LiveFor on April 27, 2009

Warner Bros. Pictures has picked up the sword-and-sandal actioneer Odysseus according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Utilising the character from Homer’s ‘The Iliad’ and ‘The Odyssey’, the story seems to skip almost all of the events of ‘The Odyssey’ which followed the journey home from Troy of the famed king of Ithaca – That means no Circe, no Cyclops, no Sirens etc.

In this incarnation the story begins upon his arrival home, only to discover it is under the brutal occupation of an invading force. He single-handedly defeats every last man and takes back his wife, his son and his kingdom.

That makes it sound like a cross between Taken, Die Hard, 300, Rambo and Point Blank. Actually Liam Neeson would make an excellent Odysseus.

Ann Peacock penned the script and Jonathan Liebesman is attached to direct once he wraps work on “Battle: Los Angeles”. Gianni Nunnari is producing.

George Miller and Brad Pitt are also developing a futuristic outer space version of ‘The Odyssey’ for the studio that I mentioned back in October last year.

Who do you think would be good to play the hero Odysseus? Do you like the idea of using this part of the tale for a film?

Leave a comment on this post below.

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Mad Max is hitting the road again…as a 3D Anime?

Posted by LiveFor on March 5, 2009

Some big screen animated Mad Max 4 action is shaping up to become a reality, according to George Miller, the writer/director of the previous three films. The catch? He doesn’t want Max himself, Mel Gibson, anywhere near the project.

“We’ll probably go a different route,” Miller told MTV News about the potential talent voicing the lead role. The plot would be partly lifted from the script of the fourth “Max” film, which was set to shoot in 2003 until financing collapsed in the wake of the Iraq War.

Now Miller is resurrecting the idea as an R-rated, stereoscopic anime flick for theatrical release. It’s a curious undertaking, to be sure, but one made all the more certain to happen after the runaway success in 2006 of his computer-animated “Happy Feet”—not that the newest, ever-violent “Max” film will have much in common with that kid-friendly penguin party.

“I see myself as someone who is very curious about storytelling and all its various media,” Miller said. “I’ve always loved anime, in particular the Japanese sensibility. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

The project is one phase of a “Mad Max” renaissance of sorts. Along with “God of War II” designer Corey Barlog, Miller is developing an action-adventure videogame based on the fourth film. Gibson won’t be participating in that endeavor, either.

For the anime release, Miller isn’t looking simply to mimic Japanese-style animation but rather to adapt it for Western audiences. “The anime is an opportunity for me to shift a little bit about what anime is doing because anime is ripe for an adjustment or sea change,” he explained. “It’s coming in games and I believe it’s the same in anime. There’s going to be a hybrid anime where it shifts more towards Western sensibilities. [Japanese filmmaker Akira] Kurosawa was able to bridge that gap between the Japanese sensibilities and the West and make those definitive films.”

Well that’s all a big surprise isn’t it. Mad Max as an anime. Thinking about it I could see it working and could lead to some amazing visuals. Would you want to see Mad Max go anime on us?

HOMEDiscuss in the Forum

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The Flash – Who will win Dr Horrible or a Friday Night Lighter?

Posted by LiveFor on February 11, 2009

It looks as if Dan Mazeau has been contracted to write a screenplay for The Flash and now there is a rumour going round that the fastest man alive has been cast and it is not Ryan Reynolds (his role as Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine may have killed his chances for this one)

ThinkMcFlyThink have more on this.

We’ve received word from a very-reliable source that actor Scott Porter (formerly of the critically-acclaimed television-series Friday Night Lights) is one of those actors.

If you’ll remember back in the Fall of 2007, Porter auditioned for director George Miller for his (now dead) Justice League: Mortal and was said to be a top candidate for Superman.

The word is the studio has been quietly keeping their eye on the actor, and been keen to include him in one of their DC properties since JLM fell through

I’ve never seen Friday Night Lights so I don’t know if this is a good or bad choice. Any of you watch the show? Will he be a good Flash?

However, the not always reliable WENN have the rumour that Neil Patrick Harris (Dr Horrible, How I Met Your Mother) could be the Flash and I could see him as Barry Allen (if that is the Flash they are going with).

Who would work best for you?

Discuss in the Forum

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