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David Poland

By David Poland

Guillermo Exits The Hobbit

First and foremost… this is yet another reason to see Harry Sloan run out of town.
I never believed for a second that those managing the rotting carcass of MGM would shoot themselves in the foot by allowing The Hobbit and Bond to sit around gathering dust instead of generating hundreds of millions for a company that desperately needs it.. if only to pay back its debts. But here we are.
The Hobbit will survive. You can be sure that no one knows exactly what is going to happen, in terms of the eventual director of the film, but you can be 98.7% sure that it will still involve Team Jackson behind the scenes and they will not let it sink in quality.
Bond, however, is about one year from missing an entire movie from the cycle. The clock is ticking. And really, even if there isn’t a lost film, there will be years without revenue that could have had revenue.
I am sure that the twisted thinking inside MGM is that the package that is the studio is more valuable with these commodities as the highest order of bait than they are as working productions that start to be weighed down by reality.
But shouldn’t MGM, for the sake of its creditors, be doing everything possible to generate every dollar that they can as soon as they can? The fruit is already overripe.
Bottom line… if these two franchises move on before the next life of MGM is settled, no one needs the cowboys now rounding up the company.
As for Guillermo and Peter and Fran and Phillipa… this sucks. Really a shame. I’m sure Guillermo had a great time in NZ with everyone, but sitting around waiting to pull the trigger on sure thing is brutal. Just ask Joe Carnahan of Mission: Impossible 3.
In terms of the wider artistic picture, this exit and delay opens up some time on the WETA schedule. So expect someone to jump into Jim Cameron and Joe Letteri’s avatars at the last minute in a bit to do more than 3D. And of course, if that happens, it means that WETA will not be available for The Hobbit, when its ready to go, without at least a year’s warning. Or maybe WETA will sit on the schedule a little longer.
P.S. The story broke through, as is often PJ’s custom. Those who like to accuse others of stealing breaking news without crediting the originating source should probably be told-ja not to throw stones in glass houses.
PS ADD – 10a Monday – The story has been reflected to credit the source. Good.

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2 Responses to “Guillermo Exits The Hobbit”

  1. IOv2 says:

    Will someone do something with MGM already? Please? Someone? Anyone? Come on those cricket noise responses are just not cool.

  2. TVJunkie says:

    Sincere question, because I obviously don’t know. If MGM and New Line are equal partners in The Hobbit, can the problems and delays be squarely blamed solely on MGM? As I understand it, NL/WB would have acted as the production lead; and as mentioned elsewhere, WB allegedly had the (sole?) authority to greenlight. (don’t know if that’s true) So, are all the delays about positioning MGM to appear to have more value, or is it just that the films aren’t ready to go to camera and are more costly than anyone involved is willing to risk?
    Having said that, Harry Sloan really did muck things up at MGM.

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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.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon