Monday, 25 July 2011

Don't you just hate it when ...

... you have half-written the first draft of a screenplay and then see a trailer for a movie that's in post production which has pretty much the same theme?

Yeah, me too. Knights of Badassdom is a soon-to-be-released film where a group of (US) live role-players summon a Succubus and have to deal with her. You can see the YouTube clip with the previous link. Sound familiar? Well, it does to me.

My screenplay-in-progress Dead Role-Players has a similar theme where a group of (UK) live role-players summon demon and have to deal with it. Bugger. Still, my finished screenplay is a long way off and (hopefully) by the time when it's anywhere near sending out it may be time for another LARP-based horror-comedy. Maybe.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

It's been a while ...

... since the last post, so time for an update.

Like most years I've been glued to the ITV4 coverage of the Tour de France. I'm not a cyclist and the TdF is the only one I regularly watch, but what a sporting event it is. Three weeks of sheer pain (for the riders who are lucky enough to ride it all) with some horrendous mountains in their way. It seems that only broken bones will stop these professionals; with mere thirty-odd stitches and thigh-long road rash injuries being a petty inconvenience to them.

Professional footballers, take note.

And it's great news that Mark Cavendish is leading in the Green Jersey Points competition. Let's hope he wears green all the way to the sprint finish in Paris (where he'll win, of course)

In the last week or so I've been cracking on with the Tiberius Found story, generating lesson plans for a creative writing course I'm due to run in September and finalising the results for the recent Meridian Writing summer competition. I had a formal interview for a sessional tutor's job yesterday (which went OK, I think) and celebrated by buying the Writers' and Artists' Handbook 2012 on my way back home.

If you don't get any of the various 'Yearbooks' that Bloomsbury produce, then you should. They're invaluable assets that every writer should make use of.

Oh, and I'd like to welcome Noel, as a new follower. Great to have you along.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Screen flops of 2011

Perhaps Hollywood has lost its golden touch, with a series of big screen flops in 2011. According to The Hollywood Reporter the following results have been achieved (the percentage in brackets are based on production costs not including any marketing fees):
  • 'The Beaver' - Lost £11.8m (-94%)
  • 'Mars Needs Moms' - Lost £69.7m (-74%)
  • 'Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs Evil' - Lost £10.3m (-54.7%)
  • 'Your Highness' - Lost £15.8m (-50%)
  • 'Joody Moody and the Not Bummer Summer' - Lost £6.6m (-32%)
  • 'Prom' - Made £1.3m (+8.6%)
  • 'Sucker Punch' - Made £4.9m (+9.5%)
  • 'Arthur' - Made £3.6m (+14.4%)
  • 'Priest' - Made £9.5m (+25%)
  • 'Green Lantern' - Made £37m (+29.9%)
However, these all pale into insignificance with 'Love's Kitchen' starring Dougray Scott, Claire Forlani and Michelle Ryan - and with a guest appearance  by Gordon Ramsey - which grossed, that's GROSSED £121 in its opening weekend last month.

That's an approximate average of £24 each over the five cinemas it was shown at. Phew. What a scorcher. I can't find anywhere that details the production cost, but I reckon that someone's lost a bundle of cash on this one. Maybe the British love affair with Rom-coms has ended?

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Killing ... on Channel 4

So the first two episodes of the American version of The Killing have just aired on Channel 4. Now, being a die-hard fan of the original Danish version I was more than a little sceptical of what the Yanks would have done to such a splendid piece of world drama. The original Forbrydelsen (The Crime) was so well produced and acted that after a very short while it almost didn't matter that it was subtitled. As Wallander has done before, the story carried the weight.

Based on previous US 'remakes' of foreign (by which I mean non English-speaking) TV and film, I had low expectations. I know that the 13-part series when it was aired in the US got pretty good reviews (apart from the series I climax which provoked a barrage of abuse) so maybe it wouldn't be too bad.

On first view Mireille Enos - who takes on the central role of Sarah Linden (Lund, in the Danish version) - seems to play the character with a similar low-key tone as Sofie Grabol did in the original, so maybe there's hope there. It would have killed  the whole tone (no pun intended) if they'd had her be a typically brash US detective.

The landscape chosen (supposedly Seattle, but apparently filmed in Vancouver) also looked similar in many aspects to the original Copenhagen, which is good because the landscape was as much of a character in the original drama as any of the actors. One other high-point in the US version is the casting of Michelle Forbes as Mitch, the murdered Rosie Larsen's mother. Forbes carries a gravitas that few other TV actresses can offer - and following in the footsteps of Ann Eleonora Jorgensen as Pernille Birk Larsen is no mean ask. Ann Eleonora gave a stellar performance as a distressed mother but Forbes - I'm sure - will be her equal.

It's no secret that the BBC have bought the broadcast rights to the second series of the Danish The Killing, which is due to be shown on BBC4 soon, and - according to the BBC4 website - it'll be re-running the original series this month. Coincidence, perhaps? From what I've read there is a third series of The Killing due to be aired in Denmark next year, so hopefully we'll get that over here before too long.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Blink and you've missed Luther

So, the fourth episode - and apparently last in the second series - of BBC's Luther starring Idris Elba (left) was shown last night, and it was still on cracking form. The twin killers playing a point-scoring game was utterly believable and the calm, sinister way that they went about their business was frighteningly realistic.

The petrol-dousing climax in the empty trailer could have gone either way with Luther becoming more and more like a Mel Gibson-esque nut-job. I wasn't a fan of the original series - feeling that the character of Luther was just a bit too OTT, but the writing, acting & direction of this series has turned me into a believer.

One thing I wasn't really sure of was that there were only four episodes (two 2-part stories) in this series. Can we really call it a series? There must have been such a high level of money committed to producing this that surely more episodes should have been warranted? I'm guessing that a third series has been, or will shortly be, commisioned. If this is the form of the team then it has to be a given.