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David Poland

By David Poland

Slow News Week

A sneak peek at tomorrow’s Hot Button…
“What went so wrong with The Brothers Grimm and Proof?

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45 Responses to “Slow News Week”

  1. Josh says:

    I agree with The Brothers Grimm. I think it will bite the dust hard and fast and disappear. And Gilliam will be back at square one.
    Saw Proof on the stage and doubted they’d ever be able to make a theatrical version of it.

  2. Wrecktum says:

    Gilliam’s career has been over since Brazil. And he’s STILL working.
    Expect a few more flicks from him. As long as there are people willing to open their pocketbooks for him, he’ll be able to find money to make his films.

  3. Krazy Eyes says:

    Ehren Kruger is the pits. The horror genre seems to attract these half-talents (see also: Kevin Williamson, etc.) for screenwriters. I was somewhat peeved that press materials for both GRIMM and SKELETON KEY laud him as the creator of THE RING when all he really did was faithfully adapt an arguably superior Japanese horror film. The horror genre needs some new blood if it doesn’t want to burn out like it did in the 80s.

  4. bicycle bob says:

    gilliams career over? twelve monkeys was worthy of the time. so was fear and loathing.

  5. jeffmcm says:

    I am rooting for Gilliam to succeed and Kruger to fail. Too bad they’re on the same movie this time.

  6. Mark Ziegler says:

    It is disappointing that Gilliam hasn’t made a hit in a long time. Don’t blame the writer. His original version was probably discarded 2 years ago.

  7. Angelus21 says:

    How can you root for a director to make a hit while the writer, of the same movie mind you, fails? Kind of makes no sense.

  8. Jeremy Smith says:

    Kruger had some big name, previously Oscar-nominated help on THE RING.

  9. MASON says:

    Kruger’s written some good stuff and some not so good stuff. The development process hasn’t been kind to him.

  10. prideray says:

    From Movie City Indie: (
    Terry Gilliam visits with old friend Jack Mathews of the NY Daily News (who was instrumental in getting Gilliam’s cut of Brazil released) and has a word about the solo written-by credit for The Brothers Grimm as submitted by Miramax: Ehren Krueger “is a young and very busy guy best known for his adaptations of the Japanese movies that became The Ring and The Ring Two… Gilliam says his Grimm … would have been another horror film… One wonders how the script evolved into such a deliriously whimsical fairy tale. “What’s interesting about this film is that it was not made from a screenplay but from a dress pattern,” Gilliam says, by way of explaining why he and his regular writing partner Tony Grisoni are not credited. “Tony and I have devised the idea of a dress pattern, a big thing that everybody can gather around and make little tucks here, little hems here. It’s the future of filmmaking.” Sure enough, if you look at the credits for The Brothers Grimm, you’ll see Gilliam’s and Grisoni’s names as “Dress Pattern Makers.””

  11. Jerri says:

    I hated Closer the film. I don’t think the play was bad. So, my hopes are not high for Proof. H

  12. PastePotPete says:

    Has Gilliam *ever* had a hit? Closest two I can think of that might possibly be called that are Twelve Monkeys and the Fisher King, and those were more of the “made their money back” variety. He doesn’t need hits to keep working. When was David Lynch’s last hit? Not including tv, 1985 with the release of Blue Velvet.
    There exists a world in which box office isn’t everything, or very important at all. Gilliam lives and works in this world. He’ll continue to make films for the rest of his life regardless of box office.

  13. jeffmcm says:

    Angelus, what you raise is exactly what I was saying in my post. I love Gilliam as a director while I think Kruger’s a mediocre writer who gets to work on more movies than he deserves to. Thus the conflict.

  14. sky_capitan says:

    So don’t shoot the screenwriter, shoot the ‘dressmakers.’
    It’s hard to blame the screenwriter unless you’ve read the screenplay because how do you know the difference between the screenplay and what ends up on the screen?

  15. David Poland says:

    All I know is that this screenplay fits Kruger’s history at the keyboard… too clever, but not as smart as it thinks it is.

  16. PandaBear says:

    Kruger did Reindeer Games. Does that say enough for you?

  17. joefitz84 says:

    I’m usually a huge Gilliam fan. Always have been. But the Grimm looks like it was made to make a quick buck. Not the Terry I know.

  18. bicycle bob says:

    this has to be one of the worst aug’s in a long time. no wonder people keep harping on a slump. u see these movies released the past 4 weeks?

  19. Bruce says:

    They’ve had Proof and Unfinished Life on the sidelines for a very long time. Now to dump one in Aug doesn’t sound promising. Haven’t even seen one ad for it either. Not a good sign.

  20. LesterFreed says:

    How bad must Proof be if they’re dumping it into oblivion? With an Oscar nominated director and two Oscar winning actors as the stars.

  21. Nicol D says:

    I have never been a huge Gilliam fan. I find his reliance on ‘fish eye’ lenses while bizarre looking characters glare into the camera to be quite…well…cheesy; doused in overstatement.
    That said, he has made films I like (Fisher King, Time Bandits) and others I revisit from time to time (Fear and Loathing-which is indeed a bad movie but a compelling one) even if I don’t quite know why.
    He seems to have the same weakness’ as Tim Burton. A distinct visual style yet totally at the mercy of the quality of the script he is given which he is usually not very good at nourishing.
    The difference is that Burton, ultimately can justify his inflated budgets because his tastes skew very mainstream. Burton ‘dark’ is not very and his films have a fairy tale like quality that is endearing.
    Gilliam on the other hand does not have mainstream enough tastes to justify his budgets and Gilliam ‘dark’ skews towards grotesque and bizarre. A much more British/Pythonesque aesthetic. Not necessarily bad, but perhaps his Python history is why so many critics of a certain age range tend to overstate his relevance.
    Unlike many, I did not lament the loss of his Don Quixote-although as a human being I feel sorry for his work going to waste.

  22. iowabeef says:

    Does anyone know if Proof and Unfinished Life are at least going to get semi-wide releases or will they open ina few cities and disappear to video?

  23. cullen says:

    I love Gilliam and don’t care what people say about his flicks…I will see Grimm, though with lesser expectations.
    I have never not enjoyed one of his movies, and I am of the opinoin that Fear & Loathing is a mis-understood masterpiece that is the only modern films to truly GET and UNDERSTAND the psychadelic experience.
    But Ehren Kruger…I mean, he’s got lots of credits (and I was a big fan of Arlington Rd. and The Ring) but most of his stuff is crap-ola…but god-damn does has that guy made some serious $$$ recently.

  24. BluStealer says:

    Fear and Loathing wasn’t a bad movie. If you like Terry Giliam how can you say that? Two good performances from the leads and good character stuff from everyone else. If you’re not a Hunter S Thompson fan then I can see why you wouldn’t find it good.

  25. jesse says:

    Bob, did you see 40-Year-Old Virgin or Red Eye? Those two solid, very fun movies alone are enough to make this August far from “one of the worst ever.” Plus, Broken Flowers came out in early August and is expanding… I’d say it’s at least on par, and very possibly better. Even the cheesier stuff like Skeleton Key and Four Brothers is better than a lot of the junk that typically comes down the pike at the end of the summer.

  26. bicycle bob says:

    2 semi decent movies isn’t enough to save the month. lets not make red eye out to be one of the best thrillers and 40 yr old virgin was funny but its not in the same league as wedding crashers or even dodgeball. we’ve had a lot more crap than anything the past few weeks.

  27. Josh says:

    I’m starting to really like Rachel McAdams for some reason. I even like her movies.

  28. Sam Adams says:

    Gilliam has been quite open about making BG to get back in the game, and for a compromise, it’s pretty uncompromised. The only thing that rings false for me is that the bad guys are so much more interesting than the good guys. Gilliam ought, tempermentally, to be on the side of the Grimms, but Pryce’s anal-retentive Frenchman and Stormare’s flat-out nuts Italian wipe the floor with Damon and Ledger (even though it’s probably the latter’s best performance). Thanks to Miramax and the obsession with star likeability, the main characters are completely dull, although the movie is often amazing to look at. Ehren Kruger is a talented hack, but the BG script reeks of stupid compromises, esp. the need to cloak the fairy-tale mileu (obviously Gilliam’s point of interest) in a cardboard hero plot. Near the end of the movie, you’re supposed to think one of the main characters is dead, but you just know they aren’t — too conventional for anything like that to happen. This is Gilliam working as an auteur rather than an artist, doing his magic around the edges rather than realizing a full-fledged vision.

  29. Josh says:

    You can’t blame Kruger for this big budget movies. They trash a script six or seven times from the original one. His original version is probably good. Decent enough where they greenlit the movie from. I don’t see Gilliam sticking to a script on a movie like this anyway.

  30. Stella's Boy says:

    If this has been mentioned elsewhere, I apologize, but it’s been a busy week already for the MPAA. They banned the Saw II poster and slapped Where The Truth Lies with an NC-17, which of course will be appealed.

  31. Bruce says:

    I didn’t see the problem with the poster. It looked good to me.

  32. Krazy Eyes says:

    Am I the only one who thinks the MPAA is punishing Thinkfilm on WHERE THE TRUTH LIES because they had the nerve to circumvent the MPAA with THE ARTISCRATS and release it unrated?
    I read an interview with Egoyan recently and you could really sense his frustration. The scene in question being a single continuous take (as it’s been reported) can’t help.

  33. Nicol D says:

    Re: Egoyan…
    If he is a true artist…take the NC-17. Phillip Kaufman did on Henry and June.
    I know why the scene is crucial for Egoyan as I know the plot/ending of the film.
    I also feel very comfortable saying that with the NC-17, he won’t lose that much business. This is hardly mainstream fare.
    With an R, like most of Egoyan’s films it will probably struggle to earn around 10-15 million domestic and that will be on the art house circuit in big urban centers.
    The NC-17/unrated would most likely help this release. As an R…it will be forgotten. NC-17 makes it a curio.
    The buzz on it was not very good out of Cannes and even in his hometown it has the vibe of same ol’ same ol’ about it.
    Fighting for an R for this film is pointless.
    Even as an R, this is not a film that the studio should invest in as a wide release.
    Egoyan is not Cronenberg who can always rely on the ‘fanboy’ crowd to test his new stuff. Egoyan has never had a ‘base’ in North America except for the art house crowd. I can’t see this film expanding upon it.

  34. Mark Ziegler says:

    The MPAA get juvenile and punish filmmakers? Heavens, no. I just can’t see them stooping that low. No way. No how.

  35. White Label says:

    Check out my rant on Ehren Kruger back in 2000 posted to the old version of hot button.
    Still agree with it today. Why did Gilliam even pick the script, that’s the real question.

  36. Nicol D says:

    “The MPAA get juvenile and punish filmmakers? ”
    These people (director’s) are hardly martyrs. They get millions to put their ‘vision’ on screen. Most director’s do not even qualify as proper artists.
    Sorry, I just do not default to the ‘poor ol’ director position anymore. I used to…perhaps if I saw more of them fighting for other issues of free speech for the sake of consistency but I don’t.
    Egoyan in particular.

  37. MASON says:

    The script for Brothers Grimm wasn’t bad at all — in fact, it was pretty good. Maybe, just maybe the “dressmaker” crapped the bed on this one.

  38. Angelus21 says:

    I just flat out don’t trust the MPAA. They have no guideline or rule book. You can kill 500 guys with a machine gun and get a PG 13 but show a boob and get an NC 17. Not consistent enough for my tastes.

  39. Nicol D says:

    The problem with what you are saying is that you are going into millionaire artist as martyr-rhetoric.
    Jack Nicholson made a similar comment a few years back…”Kiss a breast it’s an R slice it off it’s a PG”…or something like that. Problem is that…it’s just not true.
    Are there ratings I disagree with? Of course.
    But I do get tired of the poor victim game that many directors resort to.
    Most of the films that fight for the R from an NC-17 are not terribly commercial to begin with and the director merely wants to portray themselves as the ‘oppressed artist’ against the corporate establishment. In most cases (but not all) it is a figment of their imagination and if they really are true artists being persecuted…take the NC-17.
    It is art after all…isn’t it?

  40. Wrecktum says:

    Nicol is right. Fighting the MPAA in situations like this reeks of marketing ploy. Egoyan’s work is hardly commercial, and Where The Truth Lies won’t make more than $10m whether it’s R or NC-17.
    It might find an upscale audience on DVD…but by then, the unrated directors version will be the no doubt be the primary release, so why not go the NC-17 route in the first place?

  41. PandaBear says:

    Saying fighting the MPAA is a marketing ploy is giving WAY too much credit to these Hollywood execs. They’re not that clever.

  42. Krazy Eyes says:

    I don’t think Egoyan is playing the martyr. I think he’s caught between a vague MPAA and the distributor that’s requesting an R Rating. Personally, I hope it goes out unrated or NC-17. With the proliferation of unrated DVDs these days, announcing that they’re cutting the film to get an R is a guarantee I’ll skip it in the theater.

  43. joefitz84 says:

    He should just cut it to get it into theatres. Give people a chance to see it. They can always release the directors cut with the two added scenes after on dvd anyway.

  44. jeffmcm says:

    If he doesn’t want to cut the scene, he should stick to his guns and release it NC-17. It’ll entice people to see it.

  45. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    I read (at IMDb of all places) that the way the threesome scene was filmed makes it impossible to edit without just cutting out chunks of it.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
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