Friday, January 21, 2005

An astonishingly professional post for once with barely any bats in it

Let's see...

yes, I'm at Sundance. No, I've not done anything exciting yet -- just sat in my hotel room and worked. Not sure when Dave McKean will turn up tonight, or what kind of shape he'll be in when he does.

Lots of messages asking me about the rumours of a BEOWULF movie that have hit the web, and the story in today's Variety. So...

In 1998 Roger Avary asked me to cowrite a script for Beowulf for him to direct. We went off to Mexico together and wrote it as a sort of Dark Ages Trainspotting, filled with mead and blood and madness, and we went all the way from the beginning of the poem, with Beowulf as a hero battling Grendel, to the end, with Beowulf as an old man fighting a dragon. Robert Zemeckis really liked the script, and his production company, Imagemovers, bought it, for Roger to direct. (Imagemovers had a deal with Dreamworks at the time.)

Dreamworks, for whatever reasons, didn't want to make it, and -- eventually -- the rights to the script reverted back to me and Roger.

Roger went off and made Rules of Attraction. Last year he decided he wanted to make Beowulf as his next film. He started putting it together...

Meanwhile Bob Zemeckis couldn't get our Beowulf movie out of his head. After the motion capture experience of Polar Express, he wanted to take the techniques on a bit, and make a film intended for adults with them. He and Steve Bing approached us about the script....

And, after a certain amount of to-ing and fro-ing over the last month, Bob Zemeckis will be making a film of Beowulf, from our script. Roger and I are signed on to do any rewrites necessary (I suspect that some things that were easy to write for live action would be impossible or extremely costly to do as motion capture. But then, things that would have been impossible to do as live action may be easy as motion capture, so overall it should work out.)

(No, it won't look or feel anything like Polar Express. When Bob Zemeckis told us the art style he had in mind our reaction was "Well, of course.")

Roger and I are also executive producers on the film, and from what I've heard so far we're expected to work, it's not just a courtesy title.

Roger's a little downcast about not directing Beowulf, though, so I've just agreed to go somewhere odd and write another film (a remake of a film I love, but wouldn't mind updating) with Roger for him to direct. (If I say "in my copious spare time", can we all agree that it should be read as if someone had actually invented the sarcasm mark as a unit of punctuation, and that "in my copious spare time" can be assumed to be inside sarcasm marks?)

And that's all about that.


Inquiring minds want to know.What did you do with that bat? You didn't hurt the poor little thing? Bat are really very lovely creatures. They're great for the ecosystem.So fate was given to that bat?Just asking.Sincerely - Yoga Gal

I put him out the back door and watched him fly away. I hope he found somewhere warm to go back to sleep.

Hi Neil--I don't know if you'll remember me, but you kindly visited my library in Salt Lake City (in celebration of its grand opening) a couple years ago. I believe you called it the coolest library in the world, or something to that effect (which made us all giggle and try very hard not to look smug.) Think luv sacs...

Anyway, I wanted to first post an answer to your Sundance sold-out-Mirrormask-showing problem. Even though screenings are sold out, it's still possible to get tickets, if you have the time...
>From the Sundance "Insider's Scoop" FAQ:"The film I want to see is sold out-what now?
Hmmm. . . where do we start?!? If you really want to see a film, stop by one of our box offices to check ticket availability. If there are no tickets available, you can still head over to a theatre and join the Wait List line. What's the Wait List?If tickets at the Box Office are sold out, try the theatres. One hour before each screening, numbered Wait List cards are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis (up to two cards per person). Thirty minutes before screening time, tickets are sold based on card number order. Every year, hundreds of people see films on Wait List tickets. The larger the theatre, the more likely it is you'll get in. Wait List tickets are cash only. If you don't get in, your money is refunded on the spot." >
From Best Julie teen librarian etc., Salt Lake City Public Library

Thanks Julie. (Of course I remember that signing. You were the Buffy fan.)

Hi Neil--You recently wrote of reading "the new Library of America H.P. Lovecraft collection". I couldn't find a reference to it on their site or at Amazon. Can you provide any additional info about the book?Thanks for all the stories, the blog, the support of the CBLDF, and for good manners. Have fun in Sundance! Geoff Scott

It's definitely up on Amazon (here's the link), although it wasn't yet up at the site.