Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Fairbanks discovery: Greenlight

This is pretty much one of my major points from a week of TV in
Fairbanks, but BSG got to print with it quicker:

• Speaking of reality TV, I hope you're watching John Gulager's
meltdown on "Project Greenlight." I am now convinced that they go out
of their way to select crazy directors that will make for good TV, at
the expense of the actual movie. This guy takes the cake -- it's like
they pulled him out of line at the Store 24 when he was buying scratch
cards and Winstons, then handed him a multi-million movie. I also
loved Matt Damon's Will Hunting-like meltdown in the first episode,
when he started screaming at the Dimension execs, "The master of
horror is sitting two seats away from you and just told you the script
can't work!" I kept expecting Robin Williams to come in with a beard
and tell him, "It's not your fault, it's not your fault..."

So all i can add to that is to tie it together. In fact what happened
was this: all the 'studio' corporate guys ran over Damon in the
initial selection of the script (as a group, they had 3 to pick from),
demanding a possibly-profitable horror script written by hollywood-ish
dweebs over the smart, funny scripts written by 40+ middle managers
from Portland. Damon argued, hard, that the smart script had a chance
to be the next Bill and Ted's or something, but the Studio guys wanted
the surer, easier thing (cheap horror).
And Damon couldn't talk them down.
So when it came to pick the director, two young guys with obvious
but traditional talent interviewed like young hot shots. The studio
guys all liked one.
The third guy was Gulager, a 40+ sad sack who does wedding videos
for a shitty living. Obvious hopeless introvert wierdo. But his
audition film (3 minute movie from everybody with the same script) was
His interview was... just unbelievable. He literally didn't talk.
Not about himself, not about his vision for a movie, not about his
thoughts on film. He was a hopeless dud.
The studio guys instantly were toxic on him. But Damon (and
Affleck) wanted him. They wanted to, ya know, take a CHANCE. They
used gambling analgies.
And the studio guys caved and they hired Gulager.

And he has been unbelievable. He won't talk to a single staffer -
and keep in mind, as director he is literally the captain of a
200-person ship. He CAN'T not talk. He is offending everyone with
his absolute insistance on hiring family members for all the key roles
(sidenote: the ONLY non-white guy of the enitre 100-person cast is
one blonde, hot casting director chick. And since its her job to find
actors to fill roles, Gulager sees her as the enemy - awesome
He has no ideas, can't talk in a group and doesn't seem interested
in the movie at all.
So not only is, as BSG says, this hopeless intorvert dweeb about
to submarine this prodiction and the series - but it's completely
Damon's fault.

Also, bears mentioning: if you take the 'easy' script, you HAVE to
take the 'easy' director, right? If you take the 'edgy' script, get
the edgy director, right? but you CAN'T mix and match, right? I
mean, leadershp 101, huh?

Anyway, if you get a chance to catch up (only 2 episodes so far) on
Project Greenlight, do so. Best find of the week up here -
particularly with the weak BET playlist.


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