Mark Terry

Thursday, September 06, 2007

What Movie Producers Think


September 6, 2007

Yesterday was a good news-bad news kind of day. I won't go into the bad news except it came from my publisher and the good news is that a film scout recommended THE DEVIL'S PITCHFORK to her producer and the VP of the MAJOR PRODUCTION COMPANY asked to read it yesterday. As for whether that will go anywhere, I remain optimistically skeptical, which, as far as I'm concerned, is the only way to remain sane with this sort of thing.

So today (while walking Frodo) I was wondering how a producer reads a novel. Certainly a scout is reading it with the eye to how good a story it is and whether it's visual. I would think a producer might read things quite differently. So, thinking of THE DEVIL'S PITCHFORK (you HAVE read it, right? If not, rush right out and buy it. Buy multiple copies. Give one to all your friends and relatives. Use them as drink coasters. Everybody needs drink coasters), I imagined the producer reading this way:


Hmmm, Prologue in Iraq. Can shoot this scene in Nevada. It's a night scene, though, that means union overtime. Wonder if we can jettison the prologue.

Strong male lead. Wonder if Clooney's available. He'd go, what, $20 million? Damon's hot and this would be Bourne-like only with more dialogue. Could change the sex, get Megan Fox for about two.
First sequence, interior shots, not a complicated set. Not very expensive. Intercut with Baltimore freeway shot. That's a second unit bit, might even be able to fake it by shooting it in San Bernardino. Can we move entire shoot to LA or Vancouver? What's the exchange rate like now with Canada? Remember to call Fred in accounting.
First sequence with Stillwater, Chesapeake Bay on the kayak, picked up by Coast Guard helicopter. Oh good lord, that's $300 an hour for the copter. I wonder if Clooney's ever been in a kayak? He changes clothes in the helicopter, though, so women will come back and see the movie again and again. (So will some of the guys, probably). We could shoot that scene locally, then send the second unit to Baltimore and DC for chopper shots. External shots at US Immuno can be done anywhere.
Liz Vargas character. Gwyneth? An important role. Need to juice up the sex part. Can we make that naked back scene a full frontal? Check Megan Fox again. Can we get Fred Thompson to play the President? No, he'll be too pricey now. Hey, maybe Pullman for Derek, he'd work cheap... Will Smith? Nick Cage? Is it too much like his character in "The Rock?" Could reprise it, though, get Connery in as James Johnston. How about Coffee? Is Alan Rickman available or is he shooting Half-Blood Prince over in England? How about Affleck as Coffee and Damon as Stillwater and we can give them production credits so they'll work cheap...
Cheers,
Mark Terry

6 Comments:

Blogger Shannon said...

HA! I can definitely picture TDP as a movie, but Matt Damon seems a bit young and unjaded for the Stillwater part. I was picturing someone more like Harrison Ford as I read. Fun to think about!
By the way, have you read Greg Bear's Quantico? I'm reading it now and it's good so far, reminds me a lot of your books.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I love Harrison Ford, but even I think he's getting a bit old to play Derek. 10 years ago he would've been perfect.

Haven't read Quantico, but have been hearing a lot about it.

11:33 AM  
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