First Look: Danny Glover as Captain Ahab in Dragon Fire: “It’s Moby Dick With Way More Excitement, Way More Action!”
Posted on Monday, February 22nd, 2010 by Russ Fischer
Earlier this month I mentioned in a brief casting note that Danny Glover had been cast in Dragon Fire, a low-budget reworking of Moby Dick that would shoot in Utah, with a white dragon standing in for the more traditional white whale. Glover is Captain Ahab, and Vinnie Jones is in the film not as Queequeg (come on, that would be funny) but as Stubb. Now we’ve got a video report from the set of the film, complete with a bit of footage of Glover in action.
This TV report from the film’s set is fairly entertaining, in part because regional TV reports about filmmaking are often funny. This one makes a $5m indie fantasy movie sound like a big studio production. Sure, the basics are the same, but the reality can be so much different.
Exec producer Gil Aglaure explains the film’s relationship to the original text by Herman Melville: “We actually use [character] names exactly the same and there are lines that are directly extracted from the book. It’s Moby Dick with way more excitement, way more action.” Hey, Timur Bekmambetov, these guys beat you to it! Then again, if Bekmambetov got to make his Moby Dick for Universal, $5m would probably be that movie’s peg leg budget.
Back when I first wrote about this movie I said, “The budget is small at $5m, so I’m curious to see what the crew can pull together.” I’m still curious, and while Glover looks pretty great as Ahab that little dragon is really…rubbery. Casting and molding techniques and materials may have improved considerably since the ’80s, but without impressive puppetry and complimentary lighting, a rubber dragon is going to look like exactly that. Then again, shooting it with a TV news camera doesn’t do it any favors; maybe it will look a lot better in the final film. I’m pulling for these guys; I like little films that try to just make it work, no matter the budget.