Is It Just Me, Or Is It A Good Time To Be A Geek?! Gilliam and Nolan Announce Insanely Cool Films!!
Published at: Aug. 11, 2006, 3:10 a.m. CST by staff
Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...
Let’s not bury the leads.
Terry Gilliam is rumored to be taking the helm of THE OWL IN DAYLIGHT, an unconventional biopic about Phillip K. Dick that uses elements of his fiction mixed in with stuff that happened to him. Dick loved to blend fact and fantasy in his work, and when you read RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH, for example, he made himself a sort of metacharacter inside his own creative universe. Paul Giamatti is said to be starring in this film with a screenplay by Gilliam and Tony Grisoni, his collaborator on all sorts of stuff at this point. These guys are fairly joined at the hip, and why not? I like that Gilliam has someone who can keep up with him creatively, someone who’s in the mix, bringing stuff to the table.
Also this morning, Variety broke the story that Christopher Nolan is in talks to do THE PRISONER with a script by David and Janet Webb Peoples. There is so much right with that description that I can hardly organize my expression of glee. Chris Nolan. Check. Guy’s a really interesting filmmaker so far, confident, pretty good at everything he’s tried. I reeeeeeally like watching BATMAN BEGINS. I think it’s a gorgeous movie. I think it’s pretty remarkably crafted candy in its way. I can't wait for his sequel. Can't wait to see THE PRESTIGE.
But him working with any script by David and Janet Webb Peoples? That's inspired. I don’t think it can be said enough... when looking for screenwriters to praise and to pay attention to, look no further. I would estimate that I’ve read about 8,000 screenplays or so since I moved to Los Angeles in 1990. That’s a fair estimate, and might even be low. Out of those 8,000 or so scripts, I’d say that there would probably be at least three of the top thirty written by the Peoples. They’re that good. Their work is always intelligent and clean and really compelling. UNFORGIVEN, TO THE WHITE SEA, 12 MONKEYS. If you’re looking for textbook examples of great screenwriting, that is how it's done.
I heap this praise on Nolan and Peoples because I want to make a point. These are some pretty big guns. They’re working together to bring a TV show to the big screen. Normally, I’d say that the material was being outclassed here. But this isn’t GILLIGAN’S ISLAND THE MOVIE or BAYWATCH IN IMAX 3D (which I would see, by the way).
This is THE PRISONER. This is the best TV show ever made. And, oh yeah, it is. It seriously is. I’m not even kidding around. It really is.
I’ve got the new A&E PRISONER 40TH ANNIVERSARY MEGASET sitting on my desk right now. I’m sure Nolan’s got one sitting on his desk, and I’m sure the Peoples have it in their home, and so do the execs at Universal. I’m sure everyone involved with this announcement this morning is probably watching, just watched, or is about to watch the original series. It's the best source material you could ask for. Rich and smart and accessible and flexible. You can do almost anything with it, as long as you take a certain tone. As long as you respect a certain bent reality. Nolan's a really good choice, the right sort of emotional stylist for the material. Could we really be looking at the right reinvention of something so tricky?
See, I want to believe. I look at that combination of talent assembled to make this film happen, and I really, really want to believe. That’s what being a film geek is to me. It’s picking these projects that you want to have faith in. It’s seeing films that renew your faith. It’s constantly watching films hoping to find some new gem you’ve never seen before. That’s the way I approach moviegoing. That’s the beauty of what is happening for film geeks these days. We’re the guys making the movies now. When I see Spike Jonze gearing up on WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, that blows my mind. I’m excited by that. When I see David Fincher finally making THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, actually starting a new film even before he’s released his last one, that suggests an energy to me that is exciting to see. When I see Raimi pushing the SPIDER-MAN franchise further and further, building this world bigger and bigger with each film, that absolutely thrills me. When I think about James Cameron making AVATAR and seeing it in 3D, the way he intends... man, I can barely fucking contain myself. It makes me want to be in a coma until 2008.
That’s what I mean when I say it’s a really good time to be a geek right now. We’ve just seen the end of some of the touchstone franchises in film... STAR WARS... LORD OF THE RINGS... THE MATRIX... and we’re watching some “sure things” struggle to figure out what they really want to be. But there are filmmakers right now doing some insanely cool things, things that are reminders that cinema is fun. If GRINDHOUSE doesn’t sound preposterously cool to you, that’s your deal. I can’t wait. Give me THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Give me HELLBOY 2. Give me THE INCREDIBLE HULK. Give me Nolan's DARK KNIGHT.
And Harry, for fuck’s sake, would you hurry up and give me JOHN CARTER OF MARS already?!
You’ll have to excuse me if the thought of a genuinely good PRISONER movie makes me giddy. Simon West was going to make this at one point. You understand what sort of bullet we dodged? Simon West... to Chris Nolan? And if the seemingly-inevitable collision of Gilliam and PKD makes me dance and sing a little, I’m to be forgiven. These are a few of my favorite things. I’m offering up a prayer to the great Spaghetti Monster tonight for all of this. What say you guys?