Fictional Frontiers Radio Transcript
Our very own MrCere, Larry Curtis, was a guest on last Sunday’s broadcast of ‘Fictional Frontiers with Sohaib,’ on WNJC 1360 AM, Philadelphia at 11AM ET. As always, it was broadcast live via the internet via the WNJC website. A full transcript of the radio segment can be found below (thanks to Deleece Cook!). TheOneRing.net is featured every other week on Fictional Frontiers.
Another wonderful TORN segment on Fictional Frontiers with Sohaib Awan, and becoming a regular guest on the show, our own Larry Curtis! This week Larry and Sohaib talk about Slamdance & Dominic Monaghan, Ian McKellen and his role of Gandalf and The Dark Knight and the Academy Awards. Please feel free to comment on the show and the discussion!
Sohaib: Larry, welcome back to Fictional Frontiers.
Larry: Hey Thanks! It is always a pleasure
Sohaib: And I know our listeners are not aware of where you’ve been (laughs) and I’ll let them in on your little journey. Larry was over at the Sundance Festival – we’re going to touch with what went on there in a couple of minutes.
But I’m going to start by asking you Larry, the big news at least from what Ive seen as far as The Lord of the Rings prequel films are concerned is the news surrounding Dominic Monaghan aka ‘Charlie’ from Lost – Talk a little bit about what’s going on along those lines with one of our favourite Hobbits.
Larry: Well, Sundance, just so people know, is not a city, its just the name of a festival, it all happens in Park City Utah, a little ski town. And Dominic was there for another film festival that runs concurrently with Sundance, called Slamdance, and he opened the Movie ‘I Sell the Dead’ – he’s in that with Ron Perlman – and he is course is there to talk to press and do publicity for the film. So I was fortunate enough. I work in a newspaper and they threw me a bone, and I went to cover Slamdance and got to talk with Dominic about the Hobbit, and about his film and all kinds of possibilities.
I think we do put the actors in kind of a funny spot, because they of course want to answer questions and they of course want to talk about possibilities and The Hobbit, and things, but they don’t know a whole lot more than we know, so they try to speculate and they try and have something to say. But it is kind of a tough thing for them. They want to feed the needs of the media, but they don’t want to speak about something they don’t know much about.
So, anyway, I asked him if he would be interested in returning and spending some time in New Zealand, and of course he would be delighted to do that – any actor would want that opportunity, or (with) Guillermo, and with Mr Jackson. But he did allude to (ah) there’s some writing challenges that (that would have to have) happened since his character Merry would be just a little tiny Hobbit. So, he definitely would be interested – he acknowledged it would be tricky.
Sohaib: I had heard, so I guess this would be the danger of interviews and news, (laughs) in a sense, I don’t want to say danger, but one of the pitfalls of surfing the internet and coming up with or trying to glean information from the news stories there, it seemed as if it had confirmed that Merry was returning to the Silver screen in the Hobbit prequels, but obviously a lot of the actors want to be involved with that film. It’s an amazing project for almost any actor. Those involved with the prior film and also those who just want to (I don’t want to say just make a name for themselves) but who realize the quality of the team involved – you know, anyone in their right mind would probably want to jump on board – (Larry: “Sure”) I also had read where Guillermo was concerned; there is casting underway. Is that correct? I was surprised to hear about that.
Larry: Well a couple of things – Again, I think it’s just a case of Guillermo and Dominic being a little bit on the spot. I was lucky enough to get the first crack at Dominic and then he talked to some other news outlets and they read what was posted on the OneRing and then they wanted some new information and they pushed further, and then there’s Guillermo with his buddies from his Mexican Director friends, and so everybody’s trying to get a new of fresh story, and so they keep asking questions.
Dominic did talk about – he ‘speculated’ on ‘Yeah, maybe this could happen, maybe they could write us in this way, or maybe they could do this and that’.
But I would definitely say it’s a stretch, that might even be gentle, I think it’s a huge leap to say that any of those characters would be in the films. I think they were just having a conversation about what could happen. You know, and then when it appears on the internet sounds much more definitive than it ever actually is.
And as far as casting goes, Guillermo I think says, and I’m pretty sure I read this carefully, he has some people in mind for the Hobbit. There’s 4 people. But he didn’t mention a single name. And he was pretty careful to say as well, that he hadn’t even talked to those people on his list. He doesn’t think it’s fair to bring actors names up or start talking to an actor until there’s things like a budget, and more finalized details until he can actually hand them a script and say this is the movie, because they’re not at that stage yet. It’s pretty hard. You can’t start negotiating, but actors that they have definitely talked to – the obvious ones, like Ian McKellan and Andy Serkis, I mean, they of course are involved in the film no matter what. But, I don’t think beyond that, the very obvious actors, I don’t think anything’s very definite at all.
Sohaib: Right, Right. It’s interesting that we as fans, I think, we sort of gravitate to a certain extent to news about casting because it’s just the nature of Hollywood and the business of film making.
You know, the stars stand out, the actors stand out and we often forget that it’s the behind the scenes work that leads to those actors being able to do what they’re doing that is probably as important or more important – but at that same level, for them to do their job, we tend to forget that a lot of things are going on behind the scenes. Guillermo’s working on getting everything together, Peter’s working on getting everything together and you know that’s going on, but I guess as fans we never ask (laughs) as much as we should about what’s going on along those lines. We tend to ask about casting – you know, major decisions, for example ‘the voice of Smaug’. (Larry: “Right”).
You know, going back to Ian McKellen, and I guess its related to the material – The Hobbit is very different in tone from the original Lord of the Rings, the books of the trilogy – but he said it’s not going to be a remake. Now I don’t know if he just mentioned to delineate, separate the Hobbit films, the Hobbit prequel films from the Lord of the Rings for fans, so they could understand it’s not a sequel or a prequel per say but it’s a little bit different in tone, but What do you take away from Ian saying is not a Lord of the Rings remake, it’s going to be a very different Gandalf so to speak.
Larry: Personally, that’s what I want him to say. I think any of us, even fans who love Lord of the Rings, and maybe never read the book and were only exposed to the films; I think they would be done a great disservice if they approached this film the same way.
I think McKellan was thinking about his approach as an actor. He was saying ‘I’m not going to go and play Gandalf the same Gandalf that was in Lord of the Rings, this is a different Gandalf, this is a different time, different circumstances, the same urgency that was in the Lord of the Rings isn’t there, he has different motives .. I think that’s what he meant – Who knows what he really meant, but I think that’s what he meant. I think he meant his approach as an actor will be different, and hey, as fans we love to play ‘Cast the Movie’. We love to guess faces and he, it’s a great Hollywood pastime. But, you’re right, about all those things you said about the pre-production and about the behind the scenes. I mean,personally I think personally writers never get enough credit. You can make a terrible movie from a great script, but I don’t think too many great movies have ever been made from terrible scripts. And so before we can get the right actor who plays for example the right design of monsters or Smaug, we have to have a really good script. So yeah, I think that’s just critical, although it’s not much fun to play scripting at home. There’s nothing you can do. But casting on the other hand is easy, so you know its fun, the waiting game’s fun, is all a part of the experience of the movie.
Sohaib: I would say that (laughs) the correlating – the script being essential – probably applies to every film except ‘The Reader’ which I think was the film that knocked out The Dark Knight. (laughs) I’m very bitter about that, I’m flabbergasted on a sidenote, how The Reader was nominated for Best Picture, and the Dark Knight was omitted for consideration for an Academy Award for best Picture.
But going back to Sundance, give us an overview if you could of what it’s like there and the biggest story that drew your attention as a fan – not necessarily a fan of Lord of the Rings films.
One thing that I really love about the OneRing.net is that you do an amazing job of giving information about the film’s themselves, but what other project the cast, the crew are working on after they’ve moved along and away from this project. And is there something that as a fan of good fiction or good science fiction or fantasy, you know, ‘good film making’ that you saw that you’d like to let our listeners be aware of?
Larry: Yeah, there’s actually a few things. I could go on and on, and I’ll try not to.
Guillermo was actually at Sundance. I did not get to him. He’s pretty busy. The Studio had him running around. But he produced a movie – has nothing to do with science fiction or fantasy at all – but Alfonso Cuarón, I hope I’m getting the names right, he’s Guillermo’s buddy, a Mexican Director, and his younger brother had a movie at Sundance, which I did find occasion to see and it was great fun. It’s about 2 brothers who play soccer. The title is just their names, and my Spanish is ridiculous, so there’s no news, but anyway that’s a good show – people should see that. And you know it’s kind of fun to see a Mexican film actually. It’s really a culture that in America we probably stereotype, we over stereotype, we think we know, but we probably don’t know much, so that was a great film.
And then I got to, I’ll go ahead and make this prediction – there’s this film that I saw last night – it won the Grand Jury Prize, and it also won the audience award, and I just saw just last night, and I’m still overwhelmed by it – it’s Called ‘Push” based on the novel by Sapphire, which isn’t a title that made me want to go, but I’m telling you next year’s Academy Awards this same time, that film will be among the films that are nominated. It’s just that good, and it’s the right kind of material. So all your film loving audience can write that down, ‘Push’, based on the novel by Sapphire, it’s just an incredible movie.
There was some science fiction at Sundance this year which is pretty rare because these are really independent films, a big one might have a budget of 2 million dollars, a little one might have a budget of ‘somebody ran up a bunch of credit card bills’ (Sohaib laughs) you know, you can’t do Science Fiction on that kind of money. There was a Stan Rockwell film called Moon that is actually him talking to himself a lot but it’s a sci-fi show. There were a couple of others which I didn’t see, but it ‘s a great time for independent film when they are pushing into Sci-fi’s, so maybe the tide is turning just a little bit, so um, we don’t have this Dark Knight thing. In 10 years, 20 years, when the Academy has changed a little bit maybe it won’t be such a problem.
Sohaib: It’s interesting; I thought when the Return of the King won the Academy Award for Best Picture that it was a turning point for the Academy. I thought they were finally going to recognize this synergy between the populous film culture and, I guess you could say the (laughs) aristocracy of the – I don’t want to say the (?) of the film industry (?) But I thought there was a nice synergy in there with recognition of Return of the King, and I was hoping that the Dark Knight would meet the same fate as The Return of the King, but it seems as you mentioned, they’re going the more maybe hopefully the more sci-fi independent film stage, as far as recognition is concerned other than – I don’t want to say holocaust-centric films, but holocaust-centric films dealing with political statements that are almost beating you over the head with their obviousness (Larry: “sure”).
It’s very disheartening for me, and again, the nominations were released o Thursday, and it’s funny about my bitterness lent into our tORN segment (Sohaib & Larry laugh), but I think that’s part of the film and. And as a L- Lord of The Lord of the Rings fan, well obviously I’m tongue tied here cause I’m so angry, (Larry laughs) but as a Lord of the Rings fan I think we have to look back at that recognition by the Academy as a truly momentous occasion because I don’t know if we’re ever going to see it again for a very, very long time.
Larry: Yeah, I was actually thinking that while you were talking, that it actually becomes a little bit more phenomenal as time goes on. It may have been such an aberration at least for now. There are people Sohaib that would argue that the Dark Knight maybe didn’t quite have enough , and I wish we could look into the balloting process. It may have been the 6th film on the Best Picture List, it could have been the 12th, and actually that would tell us a lot. I wish we knew, we’ll never know, but it’s unfortunate we don’t. It may have been really, really close, it may have been 2 votes, it may have been some other things, and I haven’t seen all the other films so I can’t speak about their merits, but I tend to side with you that it was a pretty amazing film that didn’t just entertain but asked some tough questions and the fact that it didn’t get a sniff for any of the bigger awards – Heath Ledger aside – it really does kind of highlight how incredible Return of the King experience was. Quite a phenomenon.
Sohaib: Exactly, and as far as carrying over grudges from Academy Award ceremonies, I will submit that ‘Fellowship of the Ring’ should have won the Oscar that year instead of ‘A Beautiful Mind’ . Then again, I look at the films as one film – The Lord of the Rings – but if I had to say my favourite of the 3 parts of that one film, if I could chose one I would say it was the Fellowship of the Ring, and I think it was the most complete individual film of the 3. Yet again, it sort of shows the tendency of the Academy that they often dish out their awards to films not necessarily based on merit but you know based on maybe longevity or maybe feeling that someone is due, and a lot of people feel that the Lord of the Rings won the 13 Oscars that it won because of recognition for the entire series, and to me I think that shows the flaws in the process of the Academy that their thought processes and the nominations and their (?) of winners, that recognition of quality should go across the board regardless of whether or not its released in 3 individual films or what have you.
If The Fellowship of the Ring was the best film in 2001 I believe, it should have won the picture for that year – excuse me, I’m sorry 2003 – it should have won the Oscar for Best Picture and regardless of whether or not they were planning on giving Best Picture to The Return of the King as a recognition of all 3 films, in a nutshell what it really shows is that you have to prove to the Academy 3 times (Larry laughs) more than the average film in order to be recognized.
Larry, it been great, and we’d love to have you back on again in the next couple of weeks. Anything else before we head out?
Larry: Well, by the way I agree with everything you just said, and I just think it’s important that err, I guess I still have the Sundance Spirit in me, there’s a documentary called ‘The Cove’ movie, thecovemovie.com – people should absolutely look that up. But just support independent film, because I love blockbusters as much as the next guy, but there are some important, beautiful, amazing, work being done by people with no money, outside of the Studio’s and the results are phenomenal. So, love things that are great, not just things that are blockbusters.
Sohaib: Larry, thanks again for your time and I just want our audience to recognize that the OneRing.net is filled with so many different fans of film in general, and look at it – we were planning on speaking about more of what’s going on with more of the Lord of the Ring prequels and we have someone of Larry’s film pedigree (Sohaib laughs) it’s a lot of fun to actually get into other areas. And hopefully Larry next time we’ll talk a little bit more about the prequels but it’s always fun regardless, we’ll talk to you soon.
Larry: It was great being on, appreciate it as always, look forward to next time.
Sohaib: Keep up the good work Larry.
Larry: OK. Thanks
Sohaib: Take care.
Transcript by Elven for Fictional Frontiers & TheOneRing.netPosted in Casting Rumors, Characters, Dominic Monaghan, Guillermo Del Toro, Hobbit Movie, Ian McKellen, The Hobbit on January 26, 2009 by xoanon