EXCLUSIVE: Peter Jackson Speaks!

On the heels of announcing that he would make three films out of J.R.R. Tolkein’s classic fantasy novel The Hobbit, Peter Jackson revealed today that his upcoming Jack Sprat series had been stretched to four movies.

“I mean, we always wanted to do it as much justice as we could, you know?  Really capture all the nuances and subtext,” Jackson said in an exclusive phone interview.  “But originally we could only get the budget for three films.  I’m happy to say we convinced the investors to back a fourth.”

The Jack Sprat series, based on the classic nursery rhyme of the same name, will follow a man and his wife – and their hilariously cross-purposed diets – through a fast-paced gastronomic adventure.  Zac Efron and Melissa McCarthy are slated to star.  Jackson will executive-produce the series and direct the first film, Jack Sprat:  Eat No Fat, which is being penned by Night at the Museum screenwriters Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant.

“You see, the original plan was to cram it all into three films of maybe about two and a half, three hours each,” said Jackson.  “The first film would follow Jack through his college days and really show us who he is, you know, and why he just refused to eat anything that had fat in it.  That’s a big problem, of course, because of his dad.”

“It’s kind of breaking free of his father, right?” added Efron.  “It’s showing he doesn’t want to live a life like Senior’s, that he’s defining his own path and being who he chooses to be.  It’s totally different than anything I’ve done before as an actor.”

John Sprat Sr., to be portrayed by Will Ferrell, is conceived in Eat No Fat as a major barbecue enthusiast who loves lots of marble in his steaks and forces his son to conform to his dietary preferences.  Ferrell, who refused to be interviewed for this piece, has said in the past that he sees Senior as “a very Bush-like figure” and believed the film, with its anti-fat message, would be a good influence on family diets.

Asked why a nursery rhyme needed a four-film screen adaptation, Jackson stuck to his creative vision.  “It just wouldn’t work with three.  The first film has to be about Jack, and the second about his wife Doris.  But then the third film, we were just trying to do too much.  Having a fourth film lets us show these two characters together, fighting and eventually bonding at the end.  ‘Between the two of them,’ the rhyme says, and that’s what we’re gonna show in number three.  So then in the fourth film, we’re just gonna cut loose with an orgy of eating.”

Though McCarthy has only a small part in the first film, she is looking forward to her expanded role in the second.  “It’s gonna be a showcase, I think,” she said.  “Just a really meaty role that I can sink my teeth into.  Doris will be the core of the whole series, you know, because she’s going to be the person who shows the audience why someone would fall in love with this skinny geeky Jack.”

Jackson dismissed Internet criticism that the real reason for the expansion of the franchise was to get another admission ticket out of committed fans.  “Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous,” he said from atop his favorite armchair over-stuffed with hundred dollar bills.  “It’s necessary for the integrity of the franchise, just like three films are necessary to bring The Hobbit to the screen.  And I don’t know why anyone would accuse me of that anyway.  I mean, it’s not like there were multiple DVD releases of the Lord of the Rings films or anything.”

With the expansion of the Jack Sprat series into four films, Jackson’s next project – a series of films based on the letters of the English alphabet – has been pushed back.  But he is still very committed to pursuing it, calling it “an epic on a grand scale.  It was just gonna be twenty-six films at the beginning, you know?  But some of those letters are really important.  And then there’s all the common symbols.  You could do three films just on the ellipse.”

Jack Sprat:  Eat No Fat is slated to hit theaters worldwide in fall 2013.

Published in: on August 7, 2012 at 11:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Review of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

[Please note:  I have not read the book on which this movie is based, so there will be no comparisons to the source material.]

There are certain types of movies that you understand will be bad from the first moment you hear about them, or the first glimpse you catch of a trailer.  The only question at that point is what type of bad they’ll be.  Sometimes a “bad” film ends up being so ludicrous that it crosses the boundary into the territory of the perversely entertaining.  More often, though, it is just soul-crushingly painful to watch, leaving you to question the worth of your own life by the time the credits roll.  Abraham Lincoln:  Vampire Hunter seemed like it had the potential to be the first type of bad, and was for brief moments…but ultimately it veered off to become the second.

So what was wrong with this movie?  As always, spoilers will follow, so don’t proceed onward unless you’ve already seen this film or are positive that you don’t want to.  But for those of you who don’t proceed past the gap, I’ll say this.  I am angry at the waste of an awful but entertaining concept.  I am baffled by the rushed and incoherent story.  Most of all, though, I am furious with the historical and personal liberties taken with the lives of Abraham Lincoln and those people who surrounded him, many of which didn’t need to be taken and some of which at times strayed into the offensive.

Now then, let’s have a look at that concept, shall we?  (more…)

Published in: on July 9, 2012 at 7:00 am  Comments (1)  
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Links for June 21, 2012

Cliffhangers are now a thing in television.  Some of them are resolved well.  Here is io9′s list of cliffhangers that paid off.  I was very worried as I scanned down the list…but I finally found that they’d saved the most deserving entry for last.

I’m not sure whether this depresses me or amuses me more.  DC Comics doesn’t like Ohio’s new Superman license plate.  Superman, you see, was born in Krypton — not Ohio.  :::sighs:::

Mike Brotherton fixes Prometheus so you don’t have to.  It’s a pity no one hired him before they shot the film.

Nathan Shumate attempts profundity.  And, in my not-so-humble opinion, manages it.

Finally, Richard Lynch is dead at 76.  Very sad.  He should be better-remembered.

There may or may not be an additional post later this evening.  Probably not, though, as I still have to finish my mega-length Meredith Vickers post from earlier in the week.  So I may just see you tomorrow.  I don’t yet know whether there will be multiple posts then, but I can promise you a new Kindle review of The Sixth Seed by Lee Allen Howard.

Published in: on June 21, 2012 at 9:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mike Brotherton, Science Fiction, and Escapism

Some time ago, I posted a link to a blog post by Mike Brotherton on why we need science fiction.  It’s a short but pointed read.  The main reason is this:  “Real life.”

I hope Mike doesn’t mind me stealing his title and his first two words, which contain his whole point.  After all, I did give him some link love as compensation.  And I will also note here that I think he is a roguishly handsome man.

Anyway.

There’s not a word in the essay with which I disagree.  But I still have some problems with saying so.  The reason why is the tendency among people who don’t like science fiction, or speculative fiction at large, to dismiss the entire genre as “escapist.”  Mike’s essay actually gives those people ammunition.  Not that I think many of them will read it, because they wouldn’t be caught dead visiting the website of a certified-astronomer-cum-hard-sf-novelist.  Still, I worry.

What’s worse, there’s some truth to the barbs.  (more…)

Published in: on June 20, 2012 at 11:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Links for June 20, 2012

It appears that today is a recommendation day.

Looking for an interesting read?  The latest Mind Meld at SFSignal has you covered.

Speaking of books, are you looking for a “patch” for that favorite show you lost?  These books might help.

Speaking of visual entertainment, here are fifty movies to avoid.  Unless you’re into bad films, like these people.

And speaking of a non sequitur, Larry Correia is excited about a Czech book trailer for a novel of his.

Published in: on June 20, 2012 at 8:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thoughts on Writing Rules

First, have a glance at this list of Pixar’s storytelling rules.  I found this on Twitter from one of the people I follow.  I couldn’t seem to find who, though I’ll keep looking to give proper credit.

Second, here’s an interesting list of writing rules from Myke Cole.  Some will find it frustratingly contradictory.  I think it’s perfect just the way it is.

Now to my question:  What purpose do rules really serve, anyway? (more…)

Published in: on June 19, 2012 at 11:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Links for June 19, 2012

More money made from e-books than hardcover books last quarter.  The times, they are a-changin’.  With the cheaper price of e-books and the ability to read them on free programs you can download to your computer, anyone with a magic box has both the opportunity and incentive to join the revolution.

Fewer people are going to the movies — less than 5% attend “frequently.”  This shouldn’t be a surprise.  Tickets cost a lot, and concession prices are through the roof.  So many people with bad manners feel free to text or talk in the theater, blissfully unaware of the fate they face.  And as movies get bigger and bigger, there are fewer and fewer made.

Speaking of big movies — did Loki win in The Avengers?

Expect me to respond to this post on why magic shouldn’t need rules within a couple of days.

Should we allow our characters to be unapologetic “exceptions to the rule?”  Here’s a strong argument why we should.

Brandon Sanderson talks The Way of Kings.  At some point, I’ll need to read it.  I love Sanderson.  Platonically.

From Jared Garrett, a dispiriting workshop experience spawns a great resolution:  100 Days of Positive.  I’m a little late to the party, Jared, but I’ll join you.

We close on a down note today, as a great small business goes under.  My friends, I’m stepping up on my soapbox.  If you have a small business like this in your community that you value, you have to support it.  Otherwise you won’t keep it.  And anyone who’s been to a great comic book store knows that losing one is all downside.

(Most links today via Grasping for the Wind.)

Published in: on June 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Final Thoughts on Meredith Vickers

Last week, I promised that I would answer some of the arguments made at this link about the nature of Meredith Vickers in the recent movie Prometheus.  Tonight, I’m making good that promise.  It’s been an interesting intellectual exercise drafting this post, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely.  Tomorrow, though, I’ll move on to other things.

(Spoilers follow…though I imagine that most people who want to see Prometheus already have, it’s still nice to give fair warning.) (more…)

Published in: on June 18, 2012 at 11:58 pm  Comments (1)  

Links for June 18, 2012

Come, let me tell you a secret.  I have never read any of the Ringworld novels.  Don’t look at me that way.  I meant to.  Honest I did.  But there was the thing, and then there was that other thing, and then stuff kind of happened…

Anyway, this great piece on Larry Niven may guilt me into finally picking up his most famous works.

A thought-provoking essay on mythology in urban fantasy.  It doubles as a great reading list, for those interested in exploring the genre more.

Is humanity doomed if our galaxy is crowded?

We might be if our extraterrestrial friends have this attitude toward Star Trek.  The following is not meant to be disrespectful toward S.C. Butler, or to defend the franchise as a whole.  Fan though I am, my honesty compels me to admit the large number of episodes and films which are mediocre to bad.  But if you’re going to entitle an essay “Did Star Trek Wreck SF?” then I don’t think it’s an unreasonable demand that at some point you try to answer the question.

To close, here’s a book I will be picking up:  a Ray Bradbury tribute collection of never-before-published short stories.

Published in: on June 18, 2012 at 7:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

REVIEW: Mad Science Institute

Go back and read the title again.

Now that’s a high concept.

I periodically browse through the Kindle store for new novels to read and review.  On one such trip, I came across Sechin Tower’s Mad Science Institute.  Long-time readers know the dangers of judging a book by its cover.  But with that title on the cover, I thought, surely it would be worth an impulse buy.  Who wouldn’t want to read about a Hogwarts for budding Frankensteins and Moreaus?  And after reading the prologue, my opinion was confirmed – this was a book I wouldn’t be returning.  Then I set it aside and didn’t pick it up for a little while.  It wasn’t until recently that I finally had the chance to resume it.

As it turns out, it’s not quite the book I thought it would be.  Nor is it quite the book I think it could have been.  So I will confess to being a bit disappointed.  Only a bit, though, and don’t let that put you off buying it.  My disappointment is due to my taking the core concept and running with how I would have written it rather than any intrinsic demerits in the book.  For anyone who enjoys weird tales of mad science, this good effort should engage you.  There’s more than enough here to justify the cover price. (more…)

Published in: on June 15, 2012 at 10:48 pm  Comments (4)  
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