Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cadillac Records

I just saw an ad on TV for the movie Cadillac Records which is opening December Fifth. It's the story of Leonard Chess (Chess Records) who discovered the likes of Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry and Etta James. I got this script almost two years ago from a Producer I know when they were trying to put together a production to shoot the picture in Connecticut (ah, tax credits).

Well, that production fell apart and when they finally got everything together to actually produce the movie, it was with an entirely different producing team. I've worked with the Line Producer who ended up doing this movie a number of times, so I'm going to assume the reason she didn't call me was that this was a DGA picture and I hadn't re-joined at that point. I may get pissed if she doesn't call me next time, though. Yeah, I'm looking at you P.H.

Anyway, I'd completely forgotten about this picture until I saw the ad this morning. Guess what? The casting looks good. The parts of the trailer I saw look good. And I remember reading the script. Let me clue you into one thing. Most scripts suck. Oh, they're not usually terrible when they've made it to the point that they're actually trying to put a production team together, but beyond that...they're mostly just...not good. That's why there are re-writes going on constantly during production. This, however was a fantastic fucking script.

I just don't see that many scripts where my reaction is I must work on this movie. I really wanted this one. (Side Note 1: The script for Mermaids is probably the best script I've ever read. I didn't end up working on it and the movie they actually made is good, but somehow doesn't live up to the magic that was on the written page. Oh, well. If you can make a not-so-terrific script into a terrific movie, I suppose you're just as likely to miss the mark with a terrific script.) (Side Note 2: I was once interviewing with a Director to work on a picture and I was doing my best to project eager enthusiasm about the job. About 15 minutes into the interview, he sort of stopped mid-sentence, looked me in the eye and said, "Just so we're clear, this pig is just a paycheck for you, right?" I sheepishly agreed and he said, "Good. I don't want some idiot Location Manager who doesn't know a piece of shit when he sees it.")

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to seeing this one and I really hope it's as good as the script was. If it is, we're talking Event Movie. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

P.S. I could tell you why the movie is named Cadillac Records and not Chess Records...but I'm not going to. I never signed any confidentiality agreements with the production, but I like to think that sending me the script implies a trust that I won't give things away before the studio does. Go see the movie; then you'll know.

Update: I just saw Beyonce perform At Last on the Today Show. This is a song that I've heard botched a whole lot more often than nailed and she totally hit it. Good sign. (Disclaimer: I didn't see anyone playing strings on the stage, and Beyonce didn't seem to be wearing an ear-whig, so she may have been lip-syncing to playback, but regardless, she ain't gonna be at the theater when I see the movie either.)

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