Saturday, January 26, 2008

See, I Told You They Were Working Behind The Scenes

I'm not going to dwell on poor Mr. Ledger's passing, we have all done that. Just wanted to add that as I said is the last post the powers that be were indeed, doing the smoke filled room thing, big powerful men were meeting hours after his death, determining how to better market the movie.

From the ever vigilant Variety, posted just under 30 hours after Ledger's death:

(Fate of Ledger's last films uncertain - Gilliam, WB mull fate of 'Knight,' 'Parnassus')
By DIANE GARRETT
Posted: Wed., Jan. 23, 2008, 5:24pm PT

Production on Terry Gilliam's indie "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" has temporarily shut down, while Warner execs are still determining how to adjust their marketing campaign on "The Dark Knight," which is keyed to Ledger's Joker character in its early stages....

Production on Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" sequel is believed to largely completed -- principal photography concluded in the fall -- but the initial marketing campaign focuses on the ghoulish Joker character.

To complicate matters further, the studio has just restructured its marketing operation. International marketing topper Sue Kroll now oversees all marketing for the studio in the wake of the exit of former domestic marketing president Dawn Taubin, who developed the "Dark Knight" campaign.

Kroll will likely have to move quickly to rejigger the studio's current phase of the marketing campaign for "Dark Knight," focusing on Ledger's Joker character. This phase of the campaign had been set to run until March.

Hey, I told you they were doing the repositioning thing, they spent a lot of money on The Dark Knight. You think Tony Soprano is vulgar when he talks business at a funeral, forget about it. As I told a girl I work with who says she likes bad boys, the real bad boys are the big businessmen, they do all the shit the gansta does, they just don't get their hands dirty and they leave with all the money.

It will be interesting to see what kind of marketing perspective they employ, and when they fire up the pr machine again.

Funny bit in this article, the reporter reflects on other projects that have had to deal with this awkward death business:

Over the years other productions have employed a variety of techniques to work around the death of the actors portraying major characters.

-For better or worse, advancements in CGI and digital effects made it easier for producers to finish "Gladiator" and an episode of "The Sopranos" after the deaths of Oliver Reed and Nancy Marchand, respectively.

-James Dean's final scene in "Giant," for example, had to be looped after his death in a car crash because he mumbled so much in the shot.

-Brandon Lee died during an accident on set during production of "The Crow," director Alex Proyas used a stunt double to complete scenes; Lee's face was added using special effects.

-a look-alike for Natalie Wood was used after her drowning death during production of "Brainstorm."

-The producers used several techniques to finish "Wagons East" after John Candy died of heart failure, rewriting scenes or using a body double.

-Louis B. Mayer threatened to scrap "Saratoga," when Jean Harlow died suddenly, but relented after fans demanded he release it; a body double finished the remaining scenes with her back to the camera.

-River Phoenix was supposed to co-star in "Interview With the Vampire," but when he died, they recast Christian Slater in the role.

-Chris Farley was working on "Shrek" for DreamWorks when he died; Mike Myers took over the lead voice role after his "Saturday Night Live" cohort overdosed in 1997.

Hey, this stuff happens, I'm not crying because people don't commit their lives to vishnu, after an actor dies, just remember that this was all reported a day after the death, which means they were making decisions "before the autopsy" early. If your one of those folks who worship stars, you can take great solace that you and your favorite actor probably have one thing in common, you're both walking meat in the eyes of you're employer.

Next post: something more fun, don't know what, but no more on this.

1 comment:

kelltrenzer said...

*sigh* wagons east...poor john candy