Posted on Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 by Russ Fischer
There have been many filmed versions of the collection of folk stories and other tales called the One Thousand and One Nights, better known in the US as the Arabian Nights. Now we can add one more to the pile.
Who’s directing? That would be Chuck Russell, a man whose films span a broad range of quality: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 (fairly awesome), The Blob remake (great stuff), The Mask (starting to worry) and The Scorpion King (uh-oh). Where’s this Arabian Nights going to fall on his best to worst list?
Variety reports that Russell has co-written the picture with Barry P. Ambrose. Budgeted at $70m, the film is planned to start next spring. The angle is that the story offers ‘a new spin,’ which is often code for ‘we’ve slapped familiar names on some stuff we made up over beers.’
Indeed, the trade says the film “follows a young commander who, after his king is killed in a palace coup, joins forces with Sinbad, Aladdin and his genie to rescue Scheherazade and her kingdom from dark powers.”
[Pause for dramatic effect.]
OK, what the fuck is that shit? Sounds like a pitch for Shrek Goes Arabic. Or maybe Rob Leifeld’s version of the story? (Oh, wait. Something like that has been done.) That doesn’t sound anything like the original collection and its framing story, in which Scheherazade forestalls her execution each night by stringing her royal husband along with cliffhanger tales and fables of folk spirits, adventure, erotica and philosophy. While there’s no chance that any big-budgeted adaptation is going to focus on more than the adventure and spirits (maybe a bit of the erotica) this is the last synopsis I would have expected to read.
What does Russell say about the film? “Through the use of a new generation of visual technologies, we will be able to quite literally take audiences around the world on a magic carpet ride.” Duly noted. Shudder.