Sightings: Matt Damon, at N9NE Steak House (Palms) with girlfriend Luciana Barroso for a second night in a row Friday; at another table: Pete Rose...
Matt and Ben were more than a little disheartened by the Dimension feedback during the process of choosing the winners. Before Matt showed up, Ben was in meetings with the round table that would be making the selection and whittling down the last 3 names from their pool. One of the producers made a crack about the flops of PGL past, and the look on Ben's face pretty much summed up his feelings for the new direction this season. I think he and Matt both want PGL to continue so they are willing to compromise, but not quite prepared for how much shit they have to eat and integrity they have to eschew with this new team. Matt, of course, was completely shocked by the standards that were set during discussions.
He didn't show up until they began the interviews. He was pretty quiet in those, once again, and Ben, of course, was the one asking the most questions. As before, they made the decision on the movie before they went on to let the director nominees make their pitch. The screenwriters did pretty well--the first guy, who wrote Wildcard, was funny and earnest. Craven liked the script a whole lot, Moore agreed it was good, but too sophisticated and tricky for a first-time director to handle. The second guy wrote the Hans Grubenstien time travel, sci-fi comedy, that Ben and a few others were big fans of, but were a little disappointed that the writer, in person, was not terribly funny and just came off geeky.
The THIRD team, however, really blew the Dimension guys' socks off with their uber-geeky horror references and preparedness. As Ben said, they were speaking Dimension's language and he could see the writing on the wall straight away. Once the deliberations began, it was obvious that things were steering towards Feast, which neither Craven nor Matt thought was particularly well written. The camera kept flashing to Matt being silent and you could see the slow burn going on behind those eyes. When one guy basically told them that this was the one that the studio was backing, things went, as Ben says, "horribly awry".
Nick Phillips, VP of Productions for Dimension, tells Matt there's a whole word out there of low budget horror---to which Matt interrupts-yeah, and there's a whole lot of money there too, I just don't fucking want it, man. I don't want to spend my time on that.
Here's another excerpt from Matt's vehement opposition:
"The most miserable people I've ever met in my life, in this business, are the people who have made movies just because they think they're going to be financially successful-and then they're not--and all they have to show for it is, like, a vacuum of six months of their life."
Again there was mocking of the previous winning scripts, to which Matt scoffed and looked appropriately disgusted. He then, of course, launched into the "You're sitting two seats away from the Master of Horror who's telling you it sucks." He was pissed. As he told Chris, "I've never made a movie for its fucking marketing value." During this whole time, it was actually Ben who was quiet and just watched the fireworks. He didn't even try to mediate all that much. He didn't want Feast, either, but I think he was expecting it would be the one Dimension wanted.
Once the director pitching began, there seemed to be battle lines drawn in the room. Matt says to the camera, that after basically being railroaded on the script decision, they felt a little self-righteous about having their say in picking a director. Matt is so reverential of them; everything is in service to the director. He felt that the only way to salvage the script, was to go with the best director possible, and he based all of that on the work alone. So, his choice was a 45 year old editor/cameraman who moonlighted shooting weddings, and had LOSER stamped all over him.
But the shorts he delivered were very, very good. I give him props for incorporating a shot in his introductory film that was a direct lift from Frida Kahlo's painting What The Water Gave Me (of course, I think it may have been a Fellini reference, too). In his interview, however, he was painfully incompetent at getting across any coherent vision at all, saying vague things like, "I want to make it really scary".
As soon as the considerations for director began, Matt piped up that he wanted Gulager, to which one of the producers replied, "Are you insane?". Most of the room felt he was too big of a risk and were patently afraid of him. Matt stuck to his guns, however, and Craven liked him, too. I wasn't sure where Ben exactly stood on things, but it looked like at least half the room wanted this guy. Matt thought that the ad guy, Scott, had a lot of good ideas that he brought to the table and believed he could make the movie better, but eventually, it all comes down to the film aesthetic for him, huh?
He had this exchange with Nick when they were arguing over Gulager---N:If you're betting, you don't bet on the horse---M: Unless you're betting the trifecta--see, there are some people who bet, like, to show, right? And there are some people who bet the fucking trifecta...with their 2 dollars...and sometimes those guys win a grand. To which Chris Moore piped up, "And sometimes those guys live out of their cars".
At one point another Dimension VP, was stating that they needed to fit the director to the script and that there were concerns with the script they had chosen. Matt's reaction was, "Oh, so basically you're saying that since we picked the worst script we should go with the worst director?"