1998 The Avengers oral history

In June 1987, in an interview for The New York Times, Stanley Kubrick spoke glowingly about a series of Michelob beer commercials.

“They’re just boy-girl, night-fun,” Kubrick praised, “leading up to pouring the beer, all in 30 seconds, beautifully edited and photographed. Economy of statement is not something that films are noted for.”

That piece published on a Sunday. The following day—after interested parties tracked down who was responsible for these spots—the phone of fashion photographer turned commercial director Jeremiah Chechik started rining off the hook.

Living up to that hype, Jeremiah Chechik’s first feature, Christmas Vacation, dazzled at the box office. Over the next decade, Chechik continued to rise up the ranks, establishing himself as a profitable director and, perhaps as importantly, a director known to work well with actors and the studios. Which is why, in the mid-‘90s, he was tapped by Warner Bros. to direct a $60 million summer action film based on a popular ‘60’s British TV show called The Avengers. With a stellar cast (Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman and Sean Connery) a legendary producer (Jerry Weintraub) and a top-tier British screenwriter (Don Macpherson), The Avengers seemed like a can’t miss film.

Unfortunately though, it missed the mark by a wide margin and drastically changed the trajectory of Jeremiah Chechik’s career. But what, at first, may have looked like a fall from grace wound up leading Chechik to terrific success in another medium. To find out what went wrong and then, ultimately, what went right, we spoke with the talented filmmaker and took a stroll down memory lane…

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Fleming, a televised mini-series biography of James Bond creator Ian Fleming, is the product of a cooperation between Ecosse Films, BBC AMERICA and Sky Atlantic. The four-part series stars Dominic Cooper as the author and Navy intelligence man, and based on this first teaser there will be some attempt to directly link Fleming’s life to the  basic film image of his most famous creation. Check out a bit of footage below. Read More »