This one is just too easy. We hear about it all the time. Producer interference. Studio mandated changes. Force ratings. The upcoming Hancock has had its fair share of all of the above shoved down director Peter Berg’s throat. Back in the original script, Hancock was a bad, bad man. Encouraging teen drinking, violence, bad language, all of that. Really none of the things that make a Will Smith superhero comedy. Yet here we are with a PG-13 Hancock. Surely not what any of the idea men wanted or hoped for. They wanted, no doubt, a faithful badass R-Rated look at the jerk side of superheroes. But the Studio wanted a PG-13 Will Smith Summer Superhero film. Where will Hancock finally fall? Time will tell.
What gives with all this bullshit? Cast them younger! Add a love interest! We know what the movie audience of today wants, listen to us! Because clearly if the producers and studios knew what we really wanted, there wouldn’t be bombs and they’d all be writers. There is a kind of elitism to it all, these financial giants lording over us, deciding that they know us to the letter and will give it to us.
And really, what’s the supreme logic behind buying an R-Rated kick-ass film and then dictating it be changed to a PG-13 friendly script with hundreds of thousands of dollars in rewrites? If the story isn’t what you want, maybe you shouldn’t buy it in the first place. Maybe you buy the things that were complete thoughts to begin with. Any movie idea that is bought and changed moves further away from a coherent idea. The final draft of the authors original idea is probably as complete as it will get. Each rewrite picks and chooses scenes, plucking out things, dropping others in, with different tones or styles. Soon, you end up with an uneven bit of writing far from what was intended. That’s a pile of it, right there, I’ll tell you.
I wonder how many films get changed for the better. There have been instances of adaptations being changed for the better (see last weeks BP or read Jaws) but that’s rare and even then, the adaptations for the screen are still coherent thoughts. That is, until the executives bring down the hammer upon them and bend it out of shape.
So while I have a hard time believing many executives are making positive changes, and I think that the more you mess with a script the farther you get away from the original idea, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there are a few instances where the changes are for the best. But clearly there are a ton of glaring films that have had their heart and soul ripped out and replaced in some misguided all knowing attempt to increase box office revenue and that pushes me past my boiling point.
What movies come to mind when you think of producer interference?