Movie News

Neil Gaiman Comments On The Future Of Neil's Filmverse!

Published at: June 10, 2002, 6:18 a.m. CST by staff

Hey folks, Harry here licking my lips at the thought of these projects.... Ooooh, and will some super genius please give Terry Gilliam $15 million dollars... Jesus Cristo, support the gods of film... Hell I bet those NIKE soccer commercials cost more than this. Life is so not fucking fair. MAKE THIS STUFF HAPPEN!!!!

Thought you'd be interested in a new interview in which Neil Gaiman talks about the statuses of his current film projects:

It's all on page four of the interview which starts at CLICK HERE FOR THE WHOLE INTERVIEW!!! IT'S REALLY GREAT!!!

Here's the movie portion of the interview:

DE (Slush): I just want to spin through the movie projects. Good Omens will never happen right?

Neil Gaiman: Oh, Good Omens may happen. The whole thing about movies is that you never say it might or might not happen until the first day of shooting, and then it's happening. And even then you’ve got your fingers crossed. There is a great script by him and Tony Grisoni. They got the budget down to $65 million and they raised about 50 million dollars from abroad. All the investors wanted was for an American entity to go in on the final $15 million and guarantee an American distribution deal. There is the problem…they can’t find one.

There's no American with the balls enough to agree to fund it and have a Terry Gilliam movie. They are scared of him but he's funny, wise and brilliant. Not only that, but he made Twelve Monkeys and The Fisher King which demonstrated that he could easily bring in a movie on time and under budget.

Currently the last e-mail that I heard from Gilliam is that Tony Grisoni is doing a rewrite to try and get the budget down to $45 million.

DE: I wish I had $15 million to give to Terry Gilliam to make the movie.

NG: You know what? So do I. That's the single most frustrating thing. You want to walk around Hollywood asking everyone where are their balls.

So it's not dead until the option is not renewed and the option just came up and it was renewed again. I got the check.

You never know what happens with a picture until you're sitting there eating popcorn at the premiere.

I wrote a script for Beowulf with Roger Avary [writer/director of Killing Zoe and writer of Pulp Fiction] in 1997. It was immediately bought by a major studio for a lot of money then put immediately into production. They even signed up the special effects people. They were one day away from flying to scout for locations in Canada when somebody at the top of the studio read the script, hated it, and pulled the plug. I won't tell you the studio.

It was one of those things of how close something can come to happening and easily not happen. Oddly enough it may happen because Roger made a film called Rules of Attraction. It’s hot and everyone is asking him what his dream project is and what he wants to do next. And he says, “The Beowulf script I did with Neil.”

The joy for us doing Beowulf was doing Trainspotting in 4th century England. They’re all drunk on mead, with blood and dirt everywhere and swearing. We took our cue from Jabberwocky and Monty Python and the Holy Grail but more serious. They now want to greenlight Beowulf as long as it can be PG like Lord of the Rings.

DE: I know a Modesty Blaise movie was just finished kind of under radar [directed by Scott Spiegel]. I had heard you wrote a script for that a few years ago.

NG: What they hired me to do a few years ago was a screenplay for the second Modesty Blaise movie [laughs]. They wanted it to be a franchise and I would adapt a story called I Lucifer.

With the Death: High Cost of Living movie, a lot of patient and kind people are waiting for me to send in a second draft. I got my notes about the first draft the day before I went on the book tour. Then September 11th happened and I didn't feel like writing a story about Death wandering around New York City. It was supposed to be in San Francisco after that but I moved it back to New York.

Ask me about more movies.

DE: The Neverwhere screenplay for Jim Henson Productions?

NG: They've got Vincenzo Natali [director of CUBE] attached to it. They've been waiting for him to be free for a year and a half.

DE: Murder Mysteries?

NG: David Goyer did an amazing script for Dimension Films and they didn't get it on a sort of fundamental level. They put it into turnaround and Goyer got the rights back. I have no doubt someone will pick it up.

DE: Here is something really old: The David Lynch radio drama?

NG: I don't think that will ever happen. I actually took some elements of it and put them into American Gods. Like the car on the ice.

DE: I think all the goth kids' heads would explode if that happened.

NG: I think you're right.

Books of Magic is doing brilliantly right now. Last thing I heard was that they are ready to go on it. The director is named Nick Terry, I think. He's a French director with a script by Matt Greenberg. They had to un-Harry Potter Tim Hunter but I think they've done it wonderfully.

Jim Henson Production has also commissioned me to write something for Dave McKean to direct.

DE: Would it be live-action?

NG: Part live-action and part animated.

Then, of course, the big one which looks closest to happening of everything is Coraline, which is my next novel which is another children’s book I wrote with some Dave McKean illustrationing. It comes out in June.

When I finished the book I gave it to my agent who printed two copies of it. They sent one to Tim Burton and one to Henry Selick. I don’t know if Tim read it but within a week Selick had read and closed Bill Mechanic [An independent producer, who was once chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox Film Entertainment from 1994 to 2000] on it. Henry has written some brilliant drafts of the scripts. It’s currently out to a top actress for the main character.

DE: Jennifer Connelly. [laughs]

NG: She was on our list but it’s someone actually odder. I think Coraline may be in production very soon.

Readers Talkback

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  • June 10, 2002, 6:36 a.m. CST

    Good luck to Gaiman

    by Prof. Pop-Cult

    I'm cynical I know but good luck to anything associated with Gaiman seeing the light of day on the big screen.

  • June 10, 2002, 6:36 a.m. CST

    Waiting for Todd MacFarlane to try and claim co-creator credit o

    by Triumph the Dog

    Scumbag that he is.

  • June 10, 2002, 6:41 a.m. CST

    Realistically...

    by Pepper Sinclaire

    ...I just don't know if Gaiman's stuff will ever totally work on screen. It's cool as all hell, but evidently from this piece no-one quite "gets" how to do it properly, or do it *justice*. Terry Gilliam would be the bee's knees (or even the half-a-bee's knees) but I gets the feeling there'll be a lot of disgruntled Gaiman fans scratching their heads and complaining when the movies finally get made. BTW, just saw Spider-Man over here in the UK and thought it was a big pile of shite - OH WAIT I'm getting mixed up - the Scooby Doo trailer was shite, and Spider-Man was A-OK. P$

  • June 10, 2002, 6:44 a.m. CST

    Beowulf?

    by Buck Teeth Soh

    Coulda sworn he was a Dane...

  • June 10, 2002, 8:35 a.m. CST

    WTF is up with the pop ups AICN?

    by boomzilla8

    I like this site but I just got 13 popups logging into the home page... half of them are hard to close... What the heck is up? Can't cost that much to run this site... not any pictures and the pages still load horribly slow

  • June 10, 2002, 8:48 a.m. CST

    Maybe it's because Gaiman is actually interested in his own

    by rev_skarekroe

    ...they never get made. Alan Moore doesn't care a whit about his stuff turning into movies and now we've got "From Hell" and "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" is on its way. sk

  • June 10, 2002, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Dimension didn't "get" Murder Mysteries?

    by Veidt

    What a fucking surprise. I'm amazed they occasionally get lucky with a film like The Others because normally their instincts for genre films are total ass. And when they do go ahead with something that looks promising - like David Twohy's Below - they sit on it forever because they have no idea what to do with it.

  • June 10, 2002, 9:36 a.m. CST

    For Pete's sake. . .

    by Bill Froog

    . . .throw money at Neil Gaiman someone! With all the great stories in the guy's head, he should have his own studio. It's a crime that with all the stuff he's done, he doesn't have enough of his own money to finance his films. Studio execs out there - heed my words; give the man what he wants, then walk away.

  • June 10, 2002, 11 a.m. CST

    UGH!! WHY WON'T SOMEBODY JUST GIVE HIM THE 15 MILLION?!?!

    by EL Duderino

    There just has to be some foreign investor out there who will gladly dish out that kind of money. Wait, how much did Studio Canal give Lynch to make Mulholland Drive into a feature film? DAMMIT, I JUST WANT TO SEE ONE MORE GILLIAM FILM BEFORE THE GUY CROAKS!!

  • June 10, 2002, 11:27 a.m. CST

    To tell you the truth

    by JonQuixote

    the Gaiman story/novel that would probably translate best to the screen would be American Gods. Vin Diesel as Shadow; Sean Connery as Wednesday. Why is nobody listening to me??

  • June 10, 2002, 12:07 p.m. CST

    Agreed with Pepper Sinclaire

    by Andel Crodo

    I've been hooked on Gaiman since Sandman. He has an amazing imagination that is tempered only by the appropriate funding. Terry Gilliam would be one of the few directors out there who could do his work Justice.

  • June 10, 2002, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Gillam should just make a payday picture and get the 15 mil hims

    by TheMatarife

    A good summer movie would make enough that he coulde either do it himself, or have a studio do it.

  • June 10, 2002, 3:16 p.m. CST

    Fucking brilliant!

    by Jaka

    That's what Neil Gaiman is. Did hs really say "Ask me more about movies"...or whatever in the interview? He has his own little self promotion thing going with the press...lovely. I didn't even read the talkback...nothing anyone has to say matters when it comes to Neil, because he says it all himself. Every damn thing he has ever written...and a lot of the stuff he hasn't...should be made into a film. The rest of the mini-series for the Endless that have not yet have their turns...they should be films. He should only write novels and films. For about another 10 years. Then, when the comic book industry has totally destroyed itself and Neil is the biggest writer/producer/director ON THE FRIGGIN'PLANET; he can start a new Sandman series and save the comic industry. Yeah, that's it.

  • ...just in general.

  • June 10, 2002, 3:57 p.m. CST

    What the hell are you talking about Evil Reader?

    by JonQuixote

    Gaiman says that he moved DEATH back to New York after 9/11, but that he just didn't feel like writing it so close to the tragedy.

  • June 10, 2002, 6:26 p.m. CST

    Jack Black as Crowley and Timothy Spall as Aziraphael!!

    by Cash Bailey

    Oh, and Roger Avary's SANDMAN script was shit! Elliot and Rossio's first draft owned that motherfucker. Fuck Jon Peters! Fuck him up his stupid ass!

  • June 10, 2002, 6:41 p.m. CST

    Casting Fun!

    by Logisch

    Vin Diesel as Shadow is one of those Patrick Stewart/Professor X who-the-hell-else kinda things, for sure, but Sean Connery as Wednesday? No no no no and more no, can you honestly see Connery at this point exuding anything remotely approaching godliness? I think Ben Kingsley would be wicked, myself, though the complexion would be a bit off for a Norse god. (Not that American Gods would make anything like a decent movie; barely even held together as a novel, and cohesion is way more tricky in film.) And I had always thought Jude Law for Crowley, but Cash Bailey is clearly a mad genius.

  • June 10, 2002, 7:35 p.m. CST

    I dunno

    by JonQuixote

    An aging, burly, womanizing, charismatic Saxon? Sean may be getting up in years, but he could pretty much swallow Ben Kingsley.

  • June 10, 2002, 10:11 p.m. CST

    EVERYONE SENT GAIMAN $15 !!!!

    by Xphile69

    Ok, here's an idea, everyone should send Neil Gaiman $15, and if a million of his and Gilliam's fans do it, we'll all share in the profits and the movie will get made! Pass it on! Dimitri K.

  • June 10, 2002, 10:49 p.m. CST

    Unlike taxes, "Death" doesn't need to cost so much.

    by Rick McCallum

    Let's get real here, folks. Anybody who has read "Death: The High Cost of Living" knows that a version of it could be filmed for well under $1 million, and it should be set back in San Francisco (where the comic book miniseries was set). Why Gaiman is fixated on setting it in NYC, especially after 9/11, is beyond me -- it seems unreasonably insensitive. Get a young, fresh filmmaker who's already directed an indie feature who has made a name for him/herself in the film festival circuit, hire PJ Harvey to play Death (she's actually a fairly decent actress who has done small parts in indie film festival flicks), and seek distribution of the final film through the arthouse circuit. The only problem is Warner Bros. (which owns the movie rights to "Death"). That studio apparently doesn't have the means, understanding or desire to fund and distribute eclectic arthouse are (compared to MGM/UA, Fox, and even Disney, fer crissakes). Another problem could be that Gaiman (and his fans -- yes, YOU!) have unrealistic, hopeless naive notions as to the overal commercial appeal of Gaiman's work. Bottom line: Not enough of our fellow stupid American moviegoers would "get" Gaiman's stuff to warrant million$ in production costs. It's all about the numbers, folks.

  • June 11, 2002, 3:48 a.m. CST

    WHAT OF AVALON?

    by Andy_Christ

    I was really hoping there'd be something about a release date here. God damn that movie rocked.

  • June 11, 2002, 4:56 p.m. CST

    I like Gaiman as much as the next guy....

    by JackBertin

    But there is no way any of his movies are going to recoup the $65 mil they want to spend.

  • June 11, 2002, 10:58 p.m. CST

    How about UN TIM HUNTER Harry Potter! That damn literary thief R

    by Munchinsonton

    Now WE have to change OUR wizard because YOU copied him and made him famous. Whore!

  • June 12, 2002, 8:15 a.m. CST

    Beowulf has already been made!

    by jak flash 2000

    Wasnt Beowulf already made with Christopher Labbert. And unfortunetly,it was that bad.Timeto visit the IMDB and see for yourself Gaimen.

  • June 12, 2002, 8:24 a.m. CST

    Beowulf already got made as 13th Warrior

    by Buck Teeth Soh

    which I thought was pretty good, others will disagree (wot no 'splosions?).

  • June 12, 2002, 10:22 a.m. CST

    Um, okay Evil Reader.

    by JonQuixote

    Maybe I was too busy wondering where chocolate eggs come from, but exactly what the hell did my post have to do with the commercial viability of Neil Gaiman? You said that the defining moment of Gaiman's inability to launch Death as a movie is that post-9/11, he wouldn't have her wandering Manhattan, even though New York has always been a place for the death of the body and the spirit. Unfortunately, Gaiman says in the interview that he moved Death BACK to New York after 9/11. To make it clearer for you: My original post was to suggest that perhaps you actually read the article before you feel the need to comment on it. My follow up post suggests you actually read the talkback posts before you respond to them. Gaiman's dubious commercial viability has little to do with this discussion. Less Evil, more Reading.

  • June 12, 2002, 11:29 a.m. CST

    I cannot believe people are so freakin' stupid

    by Halloween68

    Terry Gilliam cannot get 15 mil from a single american studio? What the hell is wrong with everyone? The man has never made a bad or even average film. Everything he touches is gold. Why, why!?!?!? I guess everyone's too busy shelling out for Scooby Doo sequels and Chris Kataan pictures. Why, why!?!?!? Hey, Terry, keep at it. Somebody's got to have a brain out there. Have you approached New Line? They took some pretty sizeable chances with Lord of the Rings. This could be something right up their alley. 15 mil is not a lot for the average motion picture studio. Hell, if I had it, I'd give it to you.

  • June 12, 2002, 12:40 p.m. CST

    Gaiman may not

    by Wyrdy the Gerbil

    be very mainstream but the F**king film their trying to get the money for is GOOD OMENS which is co-wrote by TERRY PRATCHETT one to the most well known fantasy writers in the world whos sold millions more books than that Rowling women(and better) so dont go telling me there no market for the frecking film

  • June 12, 2002, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Uh, there's no denying Pratchett's popularity...

    by JonQuixote

    But last I checked (ok, first I checked, about 5 minutes ago), his discworld series -his most popular - is sitting at between 6-10 million copies sold, worldwide. And that's for the twenty novels combined. Rowling broke the 100 million copy mark last year. Facts, kids, check your facts before you speak.

  • June 30, 2002, 8:51 p.m. CST

    Ahem

    by ChibiRocketX

    Can I just say I reaaallly like Gaiman and Gilliam? Ok

  • July 10, 2002, 4:56 a.m. CST

    Can anybody tell me...

    by Frankenweenie

    ...Why Tim Burton is so rarely mentioned when it comes to directing Gaimans works? I love Gilliams films, and he should be directing Good Omens. But if Sandman were to be made in to a movie... Well, Neil Gaiman, Tim Burton, Danny Elfman... Need I say more? Well. Tom Waits should really do the role as Kain or Abel, or possibly one of the nightmares.

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