[Movies] The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 2000.

I Find Karma (adam@cs.caltech.edu)
Fri, 14 Aug 1998 07:44:30 -0700

So according to the Internet movie database


they really are planning on a Y2K release of the movie version of The
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Sweet! And next memorial day, of
course, we're getting the next installment of Star Wars


for sure, because they're already in post production. Wow, the cast is
pretty amazing: Samuel L. Jackson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman...

Okay, so here's something you might not have known. There really is
going to be an Indiana Jones IV, currently titled "Indiana Jones and the
Lost Continent," targeted for release in 2001


They already have a shooting script but have not yet started filming.
Steven Spielberg has not signed on yet as a director, since he currently
has three more projects on his plate: directing Memoirs of a Geisha is in
production and due out in 1999, producing a Flintstones sequel called
"Viva Rock Vegas" about the story of Fred and Wilma's honeymoon and due
out in 1999, and (believe it or not) Jurassic Park 3 coming out in
summer 2000.

And for those who think "Saving Private Ryan" has the lock on this
year's best picture Oscar, another World War II picture, "The Thin Red
Line," is in postproduction and due for a fall release, and supposedly
it's going to be excellent, too


Man, look at the cast here: Nick Nolte, John Travolta, Sean Penn, George
Clooney, Woody Harrelson, Bill "Daryl Zero" Pullman, John Cusack...

Okay, here's the interview with Douglas Adams about the Hitchhiker's
Guide to the Galaxy 2000...

> Onion: You've got the movie, too. I'd heard rumors of a Hitchhiker's
> Guide movie kicking around for decades.
> Douglas Adams: Oh, well, yeah. Although it sort of bubbles under, there
> have been two previous sources of rumors. One was when I originally sold
> the rights about 15 years ago to Ivan Reitman, who was not as well-known
> then as he is now. It really didn't work out, because once we got down
> to it, Ivan and I didn't really see eye-to-eye. In fact, it turned out
> he hadn't actually read the book before he bought it. He'd merely read
> the sales figures. I think it really wasn't his cup of tea, so he wanted
> to make something rather different. Eventually, we agreed to differ and
> went our respective ways, and by this time the ownership had passed from
> him to Columbia, and he went on to make a movie called Ghostbusters, so
> you can imagine how irritated I was by that. [Laughs.] It sat there
> owned by Columbia for many years. I think Ivan Reitman then got somebody
> else to write a script based on it, which is, I think, the worst script
> I'd ever read. Unfortunately, it has my name on it, and the other
> writer's, whereas I did not contribute a single comma to it. I've only
> just discovered that that script has been sitting in script city, or
> whatever it is, for a long time, and that everyone assumes I wrote it
> and am therefore a terrible screenwriter. Which is rather distressing to
> me. So then, a few years ago, I was introduced to someone who became a
> great friend of mine called Michael Nesmith, who has done a number of
> different things in his career: In addition to being a film producer, he
> was originally one of The Monkees. Which is kind of odd when you get to
> know him, because he's such a serious, thoughtful, quiet chap, but with
> quiet reserves of impish glee. So his proposal was that we go into
> partnership together to make this. He's the producer, and I do the
> scripts and so on. We had a very good time working on it for quite a
> while, but I just think Hollywood at that point saw the thing as old.
> It's been around the block. And basically, what I was being told an
> awful lot was essentially, 'Science-fiction comedy will not work as a
> movie. And here's why not: If it could work, somebody would have done it
> already.'

(Adam: Sounds like the economist-sees-the-$20-bill-on-the-ground-and-
someone-would-already-have-picked-it-up story. :)

> O: That logic seems kind of flawed.
> DA: So what happens, of course, is that Men In Black came out this past
> year, so suddenly somebody has done it already. And Men In Black is...
> How can I put this delicately? There were elements of it I found quite
> familiar, shall we say? And suddenly, a comedy science-fiction movie
> that was very much in the same vein as Hitchhiker's became one of the
> most successful movies ever made. So, that kind of changed the landscape
> a little bit. Suddenly, people kind of wanted it. The project with
> Michael... In the end, we hadn't gotten it to take, so we parted company
> very good friends, and still are. I just hope that there will be other
> projects in the future that he and I will work on together, because I
> like him enormously and we got on very well together. And also, the more
> time I get to spend in Santa Fe, the better. So now, the picture's with
> Disney -- or, more specifically, with Caravan, which is one of the major
> independent production companies, but it's kind of joined at the hip to
> Disney. It's been very frustrating not to have made it in the last 15
> years; nevertheless, I feel extremely buoyed by the fact that one can
> make a much, much, much better movie out of it now than one could have
> 15 years ago. That's in technical terms; in terms of how it will look
> and how it will work. Obviously, the real quality of the picture is in
> the writing, and the acting, and the directing, and so on and so forth,
> and those skills have neither risen nor sunk in 15 years. But at least
> one substantial area, in how it can be made to look, has improved a
> great deal.
> O: And Jay Roach [Austin Powers] is directing it, right?
> DA: That's right. He's a very interesting fellow. I've now spent quite a
> lot of time talking to him. The key to the whole thing, in many ways,
> was when I met Jay Roach, because I hit it off very well with him, and
> thought, 'Here's a very bright, intelligent guy.' Not only is he a
> bright, intelligent guy, but here's a measure of how bright and
> intelligent he is: He wants me to work very closely on his movie. Which
> is always something that endears a writer to a director. In fact, when I
> was making the original radio series, it was unheard of to do what I
> did. Because I'd just written it. But I kind of inserted myself in the
> whole production process. The producer/director was a little surprised
> by this, but in the end took it in very good grace. So, I had a huge
> amount to do with the way the program developed, and that's exactly what
> Jay wants me to do on this movie. So I felt, 'Great, here's somebody I
> can do business with.' Obviously, I'm saying that at the beginning of a
> process that's going to take two years. So who knows what's going to
> happen? All I can say is that at this point in the game, things are set
> as fair as they possibly could be. So I feel very optimistic and excited
> about that.
> O: It's been nearly 20 years since the radio program, right?
> DA: Well, it's almost exactly 20 years. It'll be 20 years next month.
> O: What's the enduring appeal of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy?
> DA: Well, I don't know. All I know is that I worked very hard at it, and
> I worried very much about it, and I think I made things very difficult
> for myself doing it. And if ever there was an easy way of doing
> something, I would find a much harder way to do it. And I suspect that
> the amount that people have found it is not unrelated to the amount of
> work I put into it. That's a simplistic thing to say, but it's the best
> I can come up with.
> O: Is the idea that the movie will cover the first book?
> DA: Yeah. It's funny, because I've been looking around the web at what
> people have been saying. I've seen, 'He's going to put all five books
> into it.' People just don't understand the way a book maps onto a movie.
> Somebody said, and I think quite accurately, that the best source
> material for a movie is a short story. Which effectively means, yes,
> it's going to be the first book. Having said that, whenever I sit down
> and do another version of Hitchhiker, it highly contradicts whichever
> version went before. The best thing I can say about the movie is that
> it will be specifically contradicting the first book.
> [Submitted by the delightful itchy 'Fuzzybutt'; originally appeared in
> 'The Onion'.]
> Also...
> In any case, the scooper sent us Douglas Adams' dream cast for the movie
> version of his book at that time, circa 1996:
> Arthur: Simon Jones
> Ford: Jeff Goldblum
> Slartibartfast: Sean Connery
> Zaphod: Michael Keaton
> Marvin: Stephen Moore
> Trillian: Amanda Donahoe


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