During the past year that we’ve been doing the /Film podcast, we’ve had on a lot of really interesting filmmakers, actors, and film journalists talk about their reflections and experiences in the entertainment industry. However, this past week’s episode of the /Filmcast: After Dark was something else, an insightful, profound, and heartbreaking look into what happens when a studio severely interferes with a director’s vision for a film.
In our review of District 9, director Kyle Newman spoke admiringly about the amazing type of film that can result when a powerful producer like Peter Jackson protects the vision of a young director like Neill Blomkamp. On this week’s episode of the /Filmcast: After Dark, Newman spoke at length about the making of Fanboys, where he very much had the opposite experience. For those of you who don’t know, Fanboys was a much-buzzed about film aimed squarely at a built-in geek audience that ended up being butchered at the hands of the Weinstein Company (recently profiled in the NYTimes in a not-so-positive light). The film chronicled the adventures of a group of friends who try to break into the Skywalker Ranch and steal an early copy of Star Wars: Episode 1 so their friend, who has cancer, can see it before he dies.
Those you who have already heard the episode know that Kyle’s stories about the film were as moving as they were horrifying. We have some highlights from the discussion after the jump, but if you have time, I’d strongly suggest you listen to the whole episode by downloading it here or by playing it below in your browser:
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In this special episode of the /Filmcast: After Dark, Dave Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley chat with director Kyle Newman about the recent blistering NYTimes profile of the Weinstein Company. Kyle also talks at length about his experiences working on Fanboys and The Revenge of the Nerds remake, presenting a chilling, cautionary tale about the horrors of studio intervention.
You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Tune in on Monday night at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST as the guys review Inglourious Basterds with director Nicholas Jasenovec.
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Posted on Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 by David Chen
In this week’s /Filmcast, Dave Chen, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley get flummoxed by Bryan Singer’s decision to reboot Battlestar Galactica, discuss some recent Avatar news, assess the greatness of Ponyo, and try to make sense of some fascinating Superman IP law. Special guest Kyle Newman, the director of Fanboys and the upcoming Emo Boy, joins us for this episode. Also, a surprise visitor drops by to tell us her thoughts on District 9.
You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next Monday at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST at Slashfilm’s live page as we review Inglourious Basterds.
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Dan Fogler tells moviehole that director Kyle Newman has an idea for a Fanboys sequel that would see the characters from the first film to go on mission to crash the set of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones in Australia.
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Fanboys director Kyle Newman has signed on to helm a big screen adaptation of the cult comic book series Emo Boy. Published by Slave Labor Graphics, and created by by Steve Emond. The first two graphic novels were released in 2006 and 2007, and are currently available on Amazon for $11.16 each. The book description follows:
“Poor Emo Boy! He’s unpopular, and unloved. He has no family. Not only does he need to deal with things like pondering suicide and questioning his sexual identity, but on top of that he’s got these emo super powers that only seem to bring destruction and disaster, causing everyone to hate him more than they already do!”
According to THR, the project is being described as being in the tone of “Napoleon Dynamite,” “Harold and Maude” and “Zoolander.” Emo music is also expected to be a main component of the film.
I very much enjoyed Fanboys, but Newman’s style is rather obvious and on the nose, and this project seems like it needs to be a bit more subtle and sarcastic in its intentions. That said, I want to root for Newman, especially after The Weinstein Co put the guy through so much shit over the last few years.
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Earlier this week The Weinstein Co announced that they would be moving their Star Wars geek road trip comedy Fanboys back once again to February 6th 2009. Set in 1998 the film, starring Jay Baruchel, Dan Fogler, Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, and Kristen Bell is a heart-warming comedy that follows a group of young, passionate Star Wars fans on a cross-country quest to break into George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch and watch “Star Wars: Episode 1- The Phantom Menace,” before it’s released. I got the chance to finally see the film at Fantastic Fest 2008, and while it’s not a great film, its the type of movie which will be insanely enjoyable to anyone in the fanboys niche, and in its best moments, its a love letter to fandom.
The theatrical poster, which premiered on Cinematical, is a parody of the Judd Apatow posters. This might be funny if all the other comedy films didn’t already steal this style already. The poster comes off as derivative rather than funny. This is the latest example of The Weinstein Co botching the marketing of this film. If I were them I would have commissioned Drew Struzan to create a poster based of the New Hope design. I know that wouldn’t be original, but at least it would be interesting. Also, there are so many interesting characters and actors in this film (heck, I think Seth Rogen plays three or four different characters), but we don’t see one of them on the poster. WTF?
I’ve heard many stories about the behind the scenes problems which pushed the release of Fanboys back again and agin, but having just left a screening of the finished version, a director’s cut by Kyle Newman, I can assure you that the problems have been greatly exaggerated. You have a very marketable cast, and a film which seems like an extremely easy sell to the target demographic. I think the problem is that The Weinsteins were hoping for an American Pie type film with mainstream appeal, but they instead have a movie aimed at a very targeted niche. But lets not forget, George Lucas has been able to make tons of money off this targeted group of fans.
After high school, Eric (Sam Huntington) ditched his Star Wars fanboy friends for a job as a car salesman, and now finds himself ready to take over his father’s franchise of car dealerships. When he learns that one of his former best friends Linus (Chris Marquette) has been diagnosed with Cancer and only has months to live, he convinces his former friends (Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel) to go on a road trip to break into George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch, so that Linus could watch Star Wars: Episode I before he dies.
The film is your typical teen road trip film, laced with so many Star Wars references you’ll probably want to see it twice to take them all in. There are conversations about how Boba Fett is like Michael Bay, style but no substance, and arguments about if Luke really had a thing for his sister. The series of adventures include a stop in Riverside Iowa (the future birthplace of Captain Kirk) to fuck with Trekkies. Kristen Bell plays Zoe, a girl with feisty Princess Leia-like attitude who works at a comic book store, and is well versed in everything from Star Wars to video games. Basically, she’s a fanboys wet dream.
Seth Rogen has triple duty, playing a trekkie (who seems perfectly modeled after Gabriel Köerner from Trekkies), a Star Wars tattooed pimp, and a Star Trek alien who they run into while in Las Vegas. At one point in the film, one version of Seth Rogen fights another version of Seth Rogen on the big screen. Epic! Ethan Suplee plays Ain’t It Cool News’ Harry Knowles, and there is a bevy of other cameos which include Billy Dee Williams, Danny Trejo, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Craig Robinson, Lou Taylor Pucci, Carrie Fisher, Danny McBride, and William Shatner playing himself. Ray Park (Darth Maul) even has a cameo as a THX security guard.
The film is not perfect, nor is it even on par with the best the teen comedy genre has to offer. Some of the problems include a kid dying of cancer who shows very little (if any) signs of sickness, a poorly developed romantic subplot, and a scene in a gay biker bar which should have been completely exorcised from the completed film. Oh, and Dan Fogler is painfully annoying. If only they had cast Jonah Hill or Tyler Labine instead. But the target audience of Star Wars fanboys and comic book geeks will surely eat it up. In it’s best moments it is a love letter to fandom and friendship.
/Film Rating: 7 out of 10
Fanboys creator and co-screenwriter Ernie Cline has confirmed my report from last month that director Kyle Newman has been brought back to recut Fanboys.
“I’ve just received word that the director Kyle Newman has just completed a new cut of the movie with the original plot intact, and that it’s the version that will be released later this year,” Cline told UGO. “We’re hoping that the Weinstein Co. announces the release date soon.”
So there you have it. I’m guessing they will have something to announce at Comic-Con next month.
It appears that The Weinstein Co has brought director Kyle Newman back on board to make the final cut of Fanboys. The New York Times ran a story a couple weeks back about Microsoft. Newman worked on a short film / advertisement for the Redmond-based software company. Apparently no one in the movie sector read the article because buried somewhere in the advertising section. Thankfully /Film reader Iron Monger spotted it, because hidden inside the article was a one-line quote from Kyle himself:
“I have been brought back into the editing room to work on a final version,” Kyle said. “All the key people are back. That’s all good.”
So there you have it. It appears that Kyle Newman has officially returned to work on a final version of the film. No word on if the movie will get a theatrical release or go direct-to-dvd. Although if I were The Weinstein Co, I’d at least test the waters with a limited theatrical release. A fanbase is certainly there, but can TWC convince them to see it after all the shit they pulled?
photo credit: Flickr