Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Roller Coaster

Without perseverance, a movie doesn't get made.  I need to hear that.  And probably every other filmmaker as well.  You hear the stories about how Dead Poet's Society was optioned and sent into turnaround for many years.  How it had basically died before being birthed.  Again and again.

I've read about how a Grip in New York City had written a script that he thought would never see the light of day.  And when Gripping wasn't paying the bills, he waited tables.  And served lunch to an agent.  Who said sure, I'll read it.  Then several made offers.  Big offers, in the high six figures for the script.  That's a lot of tip money.  He turned it down, because he really, really wanted to direct.  He stuck to his guns when everyone thought he was crazy.  Eventually, a studio believed enough in the script and ultimately in him, to back the film with him in the director's chair.  That's how Boiler Room got made.

Then there's the classic, Dumb & Dumber.  A producer read the script and laughed out loud reading it.  But for two years, nobody else did in Hollywood.  Studios would call the producer and ask him why he was sending this stuff (but they didn't use the word "stuff.")  His reputation and bank account were hitting lows.  They would resubmit the script with different titles (like Power Tools Are Not Toys) because the readers, young twenty-somethings, would be rotated through and they'd get a fresh chance.

The producer had practically given up.  Had a meeting about something else with another exec and somehow got talking about it.  Exec recalls how he almost peed in his pants reading it-- it was sooo funny.

So they get a new life on the project.  The studio will greenlight a small budget if they can get two actors off this list of 25.  *Every* single one turned it down.  The Mask was coming out... Ace Ventura wasn't there yet.  Jim Carrey could be gotten for a million if they moved fast.  Which they didn't.  The Mask opened and they had to pay higher dollars but they did.  And the movie got made.  With the Farrelly Bros. directing.

Most movies have stories about being dead in the water, perhaps multiple times.  It's happened to me.  I remember attaching Joey Lauren Adams and Farrah Fawcett to A Promise Kept.  Then Joey's manager called my casting director backing out.  And Farrah pulled out of everything that fall.  I thought we had some momentum.  I can remember sitting on the bed, just feeling defeated.  So I emailed Joey wishing her luck.  She emailed me back saying what was I talking about... she was doing the movie.

Making a movie is a big roller coaster.  Sometimes you're hitting the heights.  Sometimes the lows.  Hopefully you can get through the ride and safely into the station.

1 comment:

  1. i didn`t like how jim carry acts, but after i saw this movie..i just felt in love with him!!:D