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David Poland

By David Poland

The Male Director Challenge: 2003

2003 is the thinnest year for new directors with movies that hit the Top 50 at the domestic box office in this year-by-year survey so far. Only five newcomers to this level.

#18 Grosser – S.W.A.T. – Clark Johnson – Actor-turned-director came to this film with a strong TV resume and earned his way to a movie shot.

#28 – The Cat In The Hat – Bo Welch – One of the greatest production designers in the history of the business gets a shot behind the camera on a very stylish family movie.

#31 Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde – Charles Herman-Wurmfeld – A hot indie director coming off of Kissing Jessica Stein got the shot with this sequel… the sequel shot back.

#37 – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Marcus Nispel – This reboot from Michael Bay’s production company was handled by a friend with a massive history of big commercials.

#50 – Gothika – Mathieu Kassovitz – Very experienced French director coming off of the massive international hit The Crimson Rivers, who also happened to have some U.S. heat as an actor at the time off of Amélie. Joel Silver rolled the dice with him.

Studio experienced directors making films in the Top 50 in 2003 were: Jackson, Verbinski, Wachowskis, Shadyac, Singer, Favreau, Mostow, Wachowskis, Shankman, Bay, Levy, Segal, Lee, Singleton, Meyers, Ross, Rodriguez, Zwick, Waters, Wayans, Gray, Steers, Dylan, Carr, Johnson, McG, Minghella, Weir, Eastwood, Ronnie Yu, Linklater, Minkoff, Phillips, Tarantino, Davis, McNally, Burton, Norrington, deBont, Newell, Dobkin, Zwigoff, Curtis.

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One Response to “The Male Director Challenge: 2003”

  1. leahnz says:

    while it’s true that i probably should have read all the segments of this thing before i smoked a bowl, it appears you’re basically listing all these dudes and then doing your darndest to rationalise why they got hired… how is this a thing, i mean as it pertains to the reason for lexi’s tweet, the methodology seems lacking (unless there’s a whole nother part of the ‘study’ yet to come, i’m not sure i understand the point of this exactly)

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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