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Thursday, December 25, 2008

File Under "You Gotta Be Kidding Me..."

How long have we waited for this? And now, ....

The New York Times has just revealed that Gary A. Feess, a federal judge in Los Angeles, said he intended to grant 20th Century Fox’s claim that it owns a copyright interest in the Watchmen, a movie shot by Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures and set for release in March. At an earlier hearing, the judge said he believed that issues in the case could be settled only at a trial, which was scheduled for late January. On Wednesday, however, Judge Feess said he had reconsidered and concluded that Fox should prevail on crucial issues.

“Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the Watchmen motion picture,” the ruling said.

This battle became public back in February 2008 when Fox said it planned on suing Warner Bros. claiming to have exclusive rights to develop, produce and distribute a film based on the graphic novel “Watchmen.” The suit has been discussed in a variety of issues since then all pointing to producer Lawrence Gordon who sold the rights to the film to Fox but when Fox dropped plans for a movie he began shopping it around to Universal and Paramount until it ultimately fell in the hands of Warner.

However, don’t get too concerned just yet fanboys, in Wednesday’s ruling Judge Feess advised both Fox and Warner to look toward a settlement or an appeal.

“The parties may wish to turn their efforts from preparing for trial to negotiating a resolution of this dispute or positioning the case for review,” he said.

Will there be a settlement? I can only assume so since that March 6 release date is looming, but this is definitely interesting news heading into the holidays as we probably won’t hear any new details until the new year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I broke the streak of airplane blogging I had going, so instead I am Miami apt. blogging. Wow, what an exciting introduction….

Just finished at 830am two days ago the first of two legs of the New Orleans shoot for Sinners and Saints, complete with flipping cars, well-armed mercenaries with automatic weapons and full muzzle loads, and lots of fake blood. Without a doubt, it’s the most testosterone-laden set I’ve even been on. Very Michael Mann and I mean that in a good way. How suitable that I depart for Miami during our planned hiatus.

The Miami apt., in the fam since 1965, was a regular for me for the last ten years, save the last two, when I’ve been west-coast centric. The last time I was here was NYE two years back, which was fun, and which I spent with a lot of the same folks (Ricky in particular) that are coming down this time around. The indefatigable (except when sick) Ryan will be coming through as well, so I expect well-ordered excitement, as is his usual course.

My parents were down here when I arrived at the place, and Dave is coming down for a well-deserved break from the snows of the Northeast. Looking forward to the beach (gonna be 80 plus tomorrow and much of the week), some cheesy happy hours down in South Beach (I’m close, by the Delano and Shore Club), and then the NYE hullabaloo. After the turn, a few days of recovery and back to New Orleans, hopefully with a few less night-shoots on the schedule, and perhaps with somewhat recovered feet. My feet are actually the only part of me with any continuing malaise, but for those of you who have worked on shoots (movies, ads, photo, wtver, you know why). A three week stretch of six day weeks awaits on my return to the big easy, which after that stretch will probably feel more like the big lousy. I’ll be fine though, always seem to make it through.

Grumps in the sub-tropics

Friday, December 12, 2008

Airplane Bloggin’: Big Easy Style

I am most certainly on an airplane on the way to New Orleans. I feel somewhat less nervous on this airplane than I usually do (ever since 9/11, I am a pretty shitty flight passenger, particularly for take-offs), and I haven’t the foggiest idea why. But why look a gift horse in the mouth, right?

Sinners and Saints, the movie I am producing with Mark Clark, started shooting Monday down in Lousiana. Its my first action movie, and I wanted to get down there for the first day, but had to stay behind to tie up some unfinished paperwork in L.A. before making the move. Grabbed the flight out of LAX at 10:30 this AM, which annoyingly necessitated getting up at 7:15 (at least in my head). Of course, when we shoot days on the show, I will likely be up quite a bit earlier than that.

What is Sinners and Saints, you say? OK, well, you would say, if you were reading this as I wrote it. Its an cop-thriller action movie, very solid script, from writer/director Will Kaufman, who I think could be a very big action movie director in the future. Sinners is his second movie, the first being The Prodigy, which he made for pocket change with no name actors and is in distribution everywhere from Pago Pago to Walla Walla, Washington. Its amazing what he did with scant resources on The Prodigy, and I am excited to see what he’ll do with modest (several steps up from scant) resources on Sinners.

The shoot goes two weeks in December, before a break for two weeks, which I’ll be spending at my family’s Miami apartment with my parents and my good buddy Dave, who is in some hot water for leaving his girl behind for Xmas and New Years. On the fourth of January or so, it’ll be back to New Orleans for the final three weeks of the show, and then back to LA. Based on that schedule, I think there isn’t going to be any Sundance for me this year, or Slamdance, but that’s not a sure thing atm. I may still, pending how things go, head out to Park City, but it does seem that (1) few of my friends are going, (2) the economy may be bad enough to kill it for the most part, particularly the second weekend which is usually more dead anyway (many folks just go for opening weekend, when most of the big premieres happen) and (3) we aren’t announcing yet on the next Slamdance Horror screenplay winner until the middle of next year. So going isn’t such a priority in any event and on a logistical level, I don’t even have any cold weather clothing with me, if I was going to go straight from New Orleans to Park City. That’s kind of an interesting issue just today, as it actually snowed yesterday in New Orleans, not the best timing for a lower budget movie on a tight schedule (i.e. Sinners).

Anyway, I probably will be blogging quite a bit more for the time being, as I tend to have more to write about from set and when I am waiting around on set (in between handling whatever need be handled) I have time to write it down too. Has been a slowish year for the movie business, and for me personally, as I only made the short 10:31 this year up until now. I am definitely looking forward to being on set and to having some beach time in Miami to recharge the batteries.