Friday, February 06, 2009

What would David Fincher have done with "Spider-Man"?

Actually, I don't wonder too much about that, since Sam Raimi did a damn fine job with the first two "Spider-Man" flicks (and with "Spider-Man 2" made what remains my favorite superhero movie of all time.) If the question were simply "What would David Fincher have done with "Spider-Man 3"?, then I would have been on board, because that flick was simply a big flaming turd.

I'm trying desperately to have a bit of fun with this today, but coming the day after what's left of the "newspaper" I work for laid off 58 people - with more to come in the next two weeks - it just isn't too easy, so bear with me.

OK, enough about that bitterness. The Fincher goofiness comes courtesy of the UK's Guardian, which transcribed the director's fairly surly responses to questions from the audience after a screening of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (those audience members, at least, who were still awake after watching that snoozer.)

“I was asked if I might be interested in the first ‘Spider-Man,’ and I went in and told them what I might be interested in doing, and they hated it,” he said. “The thing I liked about Spider-Man was I liked the idea of a teenager,” continued Fincher, “the notion of this moment in time when you’re so vulnerable yet completely invulnerable.”

OK, I'm down with that, and given Fincher's work (before "Benjamin Button," at least), it certainly would have been a darker affair. I would have to assume he blew the job interview, if he hadn't already, if he then told the movie suits this:

“I wasn’t interested in the genesis, I just couldn’t shoot somebody being bitten by a radioactive spider – just couldn’t sleep knowing I’d done that,” stated the director.

Oh really? You wouldn't have been able to sleep after making a movie that's beloved by millions of people. Get over yourself, sir, and please get back to making movies much better than "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." (Which, if it ever gets off the ground, would be Mr. Fincher's take on "Heavy Metal" with "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" creator Kevin Eastman. Nothing but cool there.)

What's next for Terry Gilliam?

Actually, I'm more curious about when we all might be able to see "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus," which has rather miraculously made it to "post-production." At the IMDB it has a June release date for the UK, but not yet any for the U.S.A. I can only hope that Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Ferrell stepping into the finish the work of the late Heath Ledger will be enough to get this crazy tale also starring Tom Waits and Christopher Plummer playing everywhere (even near me!) fairly soon.

As for what Mr. Gilliam's doing next, you have to be able to read French to figure out anything about that, something that I don't do all that well anymore, but here goes.

According to two great French sites, and, Gilliam's next project, set to begin filming in May, will be something called "Zero Theorem" starring Billy Bob Thornton.

After that is where it gets more than a bit murky. The not-terribly-revealing French summary reads like this: un génie de l’informatique reclus et tourmenté qui, en travaillant sur un mystérieux projet, tente de répondre une fois pour toutes aux questions relatives à l’absurdité et au sens de la vie.

OK, here goes: The best I can make from that is it will be about a "reclusive and tormented" guy (Karl Childers, we can only assume) who works on a mysterious project to answer for once all the questions about the "absurdity of life." Not that that helps much, but it certainly sounds absurd enough for Mr. Gilliam.

Actually, the best thing in the Toutlecine report, and the reason I still love Terry Gilliam, is that he's actually still trying to make "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" - and still trying to chase down Johnny Depp to do it. If he actually pulls this off - even after having his initial failure captured in the entertaining documentary "Lost in La Mancha" - it will have to be just the portrait or persistence (or, I suppose, obstinacy - it's all in how you look at it.)

Soderbergh to play "Moneyball"

Even though I found Steven Soderbergh's "Che" one of the most painful exercises in cinematic hubris I've ever sat through (and I did make it through all nearly five hours, with an intermission), I can still manage to get excited that he's now setting his sights on a baseball flick.

With Brad Pitt in tow to play Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane, Soderbergh is about to sign on to direct "Moneyball," based on the book "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair game" by Michael Lewis. Steven Zaillain is attached to write the script.

For anyone who may not know, Beane became famous for developing a program of computer analysis that allowed the A's to compete with the big bad Yankees and Red Sox without having their big bad payrolls. Even if this turns out to be a big baseball geek fest, that would be just fine with me.

As for Soderbergh, he'll be up next with "The Informant," described as a black comedy starring Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre, a government whistle-blower who tried to take down Archer Midlands for price fixing.

And on that note, I have to get ready to go to my job while I still have one. Peace out.


Anonymous said...

Here is a little script review (not too spoilerish) about the next Terry Gilliam, "Zero Theorem" :

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks for that, anonymous one ... I can't think of a better way to spend some time from my Friday work day than checking that out during lunch!

Ian said...

Gilliam is all over the radio here in the UK at the moment pre-promoting the film from "Heath Ledger and friends" as part of his promotional duties for his BAFTA Fellowship which I think is officially presented later today (Sunday). I'm even more excited about seeing this than I was before.

If you want to hear a good, very recent (this week) interview with Gilliam check out the BBC web site and the Radio 5 section. The weekly Mark Kermode/Simon Mayo film review podcast is a "must listen" for film fans (hugely entertaining because Kermode is so opinionated and Mayo keeps him grounded) and they posted the Gilliam interview as an extra this week (you can subscribe via iTunes or download it directly here: )


Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks so much for that, Ian ... I certainly will check it out later today, and can't think of a better way to kill some time on a Sunday afternoon