We cut Fyodor Chandler

“When we do talk about the production concept (and generally we don’t) the cast talks about it in terms of movies like ‘Escape from New York’ and the ‘Die Hard’ movies. In my production concept statement that I’ve just written and posted, I talk about the production as if it were a futuristic version of ‘The Big Sleep.’ This disparity is fine by me. ‘Escape from New York’ is essentially a futuristic version of ‘The Big Sleep.’ (And if my cast wonders why I never just told them that I think we’re doing ‘The Big Sleep’ it’s because that if I did, you (and I) may have never been motivated to think about the many ways it’s like ‘Escape from New York’ and the ‘Die Hard’ because traditionally the director dictates the interpretation of the script to the cast… And we might never have thought up that cool motorcycle battle at the end.) However, these differing genre models may go far to explain why the cast didn’t really care if we cut Fyodor Chandler or not and I wake up thinking about it at 4 am.

“The scene with Fyodor Chandler provides a moment where Nellie at least momentarily finds her moral compass. It makes what she does afterwards make more sense. In the modern action-adventure film, actions don’t necessarily have to have moral motivation… or even make sense, for that matter.

“I still worry that I’ve just become the studio hack who cut the scene from ‘The Big Sleep’ that explained who committed the murder Phillip Marlowe was supposed to be investigating. I think my cast knows everyone will be too busy listening to Bogart and looking at Bacall to care.”
Darkness at Sunset and Vine Director’s Log, The Ides of March, 2008

Oh, man, dystopian linguists don’t get no respect. But this Director log thingy is way cool. And there’s video, too!

Click here for a better idea of what the hell I’m on about. Some of you might remember the enraged anti-bush novellas from 2003-2005 that are the Darkness at Sunset and Vine trilogy. Many cool bloggers of those years ended up in those stories, or at least plays on their names did. The first novella is being produced as a theater piece in Denton Texas, and performed there, Savannah, Georgia and somewhere in Arkansas in March and April. Hey, if Hillary can win Texas and 9 inches of snow can fall in the Metroplex, then Darkness at Sunset and Vine can be performed in the Southland. Oy.

By the way, Fyodor Chandler came out of a conversation I had with Jane Seaton about how I felt like the story was a cross between Dostoyevsky and The Long Goodbye. So of course the next logical thing was to name a character Fyodor Chandler. Isn’t that what anyone would do?

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