Thursday, July 28, 2011

Opie loses his job?

It seems Ron Howard got passed by for the new Dan Brown film The Lost Symbol for a "hotter" director.  It didn't matter that our Opie has made some of the most profitable films around and some even won awards.

No, Ronnie (I can't help calling him that) is only going to be a producer and that's the kind of job where he drops by now and then to have lunch. It almost sounds like retirement. 

And then he lost the new Bourne movie to Brit Paul Greenglass.

Now I'm not particularly worried about Ronnie, he's not Nicholas Ray who eventually had to sleep at friend's homes and run up phone bills. This from the director of Rebel Without a Cause.

Or Orson Welles who ended up doing wine commercials and anything else he could find. And even John Huston had to move to Mexico where living was more affordable than California.

But the best one, or at least potential best one was Allan Dwan, who started in silents and made millions of dollars before income taxes were introduced. Again,  living with friends as so many Hollywood directors seemed to do, Dwan barely survived. When asked why he lost all his money his alleged answer was simple: 

"I must have made, in my life, $50 million in my career, but I spent $75 million." 

I always wondered why it was directors who seemed to end up broke, not actors or writers. At least not in such big numbers. From the books I've read one thing many directors did back in the old days was drink, gamble, drink, gamble and buy race horses. Dwan, in 1913, was making $1500 a week.

And of course, being of retirement age myself, I again bring out the one thing that writers have over everybody; they can write till they die. I'm going to post that question on WritersAction, a website for WGA writers, many of whom are "older".

As you know, I seem to have a fountain of youth in terms of ideas, working on at least 5 or 6 things at the same time, and I see nothing that would convince me to quit doing it because I don't know how to quit.

I'm curious about this; I'll let you know what other writers think.

And something else, I'd like to let you tell me what you think. Are we baby boomers gonna hog everything until the last one is gone? Or is there room for all of us?

After all, all any writer needs is one thing; a good screenplay.

1 comment:

  1. Ron Howard can always do a competent job; would bring the film in under budget and follow all the rules. He would be called, using a cricket term, a good pair of hands – that means always able to catch the ball.
    But he didn't do anything dangerous; I remember The Missing, a kind of version of The Searchers, one of my favourite films, which fell short of the original. There was a total lack of character – he had good camera angles, beautiful to look at but he didn't give the actors any direction – he just let Tommy Lee Jones get on with his shtick; there's something wrong with direction when an actress of Cate Blanchet's calibre gives such a boring performance.
    And I think the same can be said of his other films – all as safe as a Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts; read into that what you like.
    But he won't starve like the other directors you mention – he is booked up for years.
    He still lives in Connecticut not allowing his children to watch TV but I didn't know he was considered for the Bourne movie.