Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Inside the Hollywood Screening Room

In a new exclusive series, Dave's Deep Dish will take you behind the scenes to Hollywood's inner sanctum. Like a fly on the wall, we will hear the actual conversations between directors and the movie producers after first screening a movie. Ever wonder what the studio thought after first seeing Casablanca? Or Star Wars? Or Ishtar? Me too! And now we can learn together.

How did I get these transcripts and recordings? That's not important, and I'll thank you to stay out of my affairs.

For our first installment, here's a look at the initial meeting at Universal Studios, following the first screening of the historic 1995 flop "Waterworld":

Kevin Costner: So...what did you guys think, pretty awesome, right?
Costner reacts after hearing how far over budget Waterworld was.
Producer 1: Well um...there's really a lot of water in this thing. Can we get a few land scenes?
Producer 2: What the hell was that??
Producer 3: Oh my god, we're ruined. 
Kevin Costner: So, you didn't like it? Really? What about those jet skis? And my webbed feet? And me drinking my own urine? Classic, right?
Producer 1: We're not saying we didn't like it, it was just... a lot of water. How much did we pay for this again?
Kevin Costner: Only 90 trillion, and I saved some money on that one scene by actually drinking my own urine.
Producer 2: I'm saying I didn't like it.
Producer 3: (unintelligible weeping sounds)

I don't know about you, but I feel wiser after reading that. Next up, we take you back to 1997 following the initial screening of "Titanic":

Producer 1: The iceberg was a little predictable wasn't it, James? Won't everyone see that coming?
James Cameron: I guess, but I was trying to be historically accurate.
Producer 2: Also, the lookout doesn't see the iceberg because he's watching Leo and Kate kiss on the deck. It seems like their love caused the ship to crash and kill thousands of people.
James Cameron: No one will notice that, trust me.
Leo's heart won't go on after Kate selfishly lets him drown.
Producer 1: What if instead we have the ship hit by a meteor? Meteors are very in right now. Look at Deep Impact and Armegeddon. They've got a great buzz around them, and they're not even out yet. Or, what about a scene where they re-arrange the deck chairs? I've always heard they re-arranged the deck chairs while it was sinking...
James Cameron: I think that's a figure of speech, but that's an interesting take ...
Producer 2: What about that last scene, there sure appeared to be plenty of room on that armoire door for Leo.
James Cameron: Really?
Producer 2: It looked like she was on her own raft...that could have fit about 5 people on it. 
Producer 3: It almost seemed like she was drowning him intentionally...what a selfish bitch. 
James Cameron: We could re-shoot that scene.
Producer 1: You know what? Don't worry about it, him freezing leaves it open for a potential sequel... because, maybe's he's not dead, you know? And he comes back and avenges his murder? Like an "I Know What You Did Last Summer" meets "Dead Calm"
Producer 2: I love it!
Producer 3: And we can get Billy Zane!
James Cameron: Okay, meeting over, you asshats.

That is some chilling dialogue right there. Our last entry of the day brings us back to the first screening of "No Country for Old Men," and you'll be surprised what you read.

This is a country for
unsatisfying endings.
Producer 1: That was great! Can't wait to the see the ending. When will it be finished?
Joel Coen: That is the ending.
Producer 1: Hmm..., well you are the Coen Bros., maybe no one will care.
Ethan Coen: We wanted to leave it open to the audience. Also, we didn't really know what to do.
Producer 2: As I was watching, I kept waiting for a scene where a wise old little Mexican man would say, "Dis is no country for old men" and then he'd shake his head sadly.  I love it when we sneak in the title of a movie into the dialogue. Can we put a scene like that in there?
Coen Bros: (stare blankly)
Producer 3: I noticed that we don't see the lead character actually get killed. Is that scene still being shot?
Joel Coen:You know who we are, right?
Producer 3: Yes...sorry, I'm gonna leave now.

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