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Beaks here...

Travis Beacham's KILLING ON CARNIVAL ROW has been a hot spec script for almost six years now. It's nearly been greenlit with visionaries like Guillermo del Toro and Neil Jordan at the helm. Now, after a few false starts, producers Arnold and Anne Kopelson believe they've found their man.

According to Deadline, Tarsem has become attached to direct the fantasy-thriller, which is set in a fictional city called Burgue that evidently resembles 18th century London. The plot is centered on a series of serial faerie slayings, which are somehow pinned on a human detective. While attempting to clear his name, the detective must navigate mean streets populated with drug dealing vampires and other nasty creatures.

I've never read the script, but I know lots of smart folks who think it's loaded with potential. Beacham also wrote PACIFIC RIM, del Toro's kaiju epic which just began shooting this week. Tarsem's been a hit-or-miss director thus far. I've a feeling he's going to end up being a guy who's only as good as his material.

Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 17, 2011, 6:34 p.m. CST

    By the pricking of my thumbs...

    by blackwood

    something wicked this way comes.

  • BLAM!

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 7:01 p.m. CST

    Tarsem? Ugh!

    by MaxTheSilent

    I read the script and was very excited about the previous names attached. It's a dazzling, brilliantly-realised world but the story mechanics are pretty much boilerplate film noir. Tarsem can't tell a story to save his life, and after witnessing the abomination that was the trailer for his Snow White movie he might need to find another gig as soon as possible.

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 7:05 p.m. CST

    "Only as good as his material" is a bit harsh...

    by Ribbons

    ...that makes him sound like a journeyman hack like Brett Ratner. Guy has... I don't know, "pizzazz" at the very least. Almost every frame of his work could be hung on a wall. That said, his films (The Cell and The Fall, anyway) are also incoherent messes. So it's something of a trade-off, I guess.

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 7:24 p.m. CST

    Didn't Beacham also write CLASH OF THE TITANS?

    by CountryBoy

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 7:49 p.m. CST

    Tarsem cult

    by imagin78

    I can not comprehend the slavish devotion some people have for Tarsem's work. He should have been a painter or perhaps set designed at the opera. As a filmmaker, he has absolutely NO sense of storytelling prowess, characterization or narrative drive. The cult of Nolan I can somewhat understand. Tarsem, on the other hand, is Burton-lite.

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 8:03 p.m. CST


    by the Green Gargantua

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 8:03 p.m. CST

    yeah Beacham also wrote Clash...

    by Brick_Walker

    The script is okay. I thought I was going to be blown away but the story is so stock standard I just didn't end up caring that much. I would like to see Tarsem create this world becuase its brilliantly realised in the script. Maybe thats what Tarsem needs a pretty simple point A to point B story (sure this story has "twists" but they come exactly when you'd expect them to). Mirror Mirror looks like the worst shit ever so I wouldn't mind Tarsem hitting up something a little more badass next. Hes gonna need bank though. I can't see them making this film on the cheap.

  • It's like the filmic equivalent of writing a narrative entirely in purple prose. Sure, it's pretty to look at, but you spend more time marvelling at his fabulous compositions than actually engaging with the story.</p> </p> It's the same with Zack Snyder - He's got a great eye, but the overt stylising is generally an obstacle t the storytelling.</p> </p> The best and most engaging storytellers are generally not too showy with their visuals – their frames are composed to impart information, rather than dazzle with "look-at-me" beauty.

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 9:16 p.m. CST

    If you haven't seen 'Immortals' then see what his visual & action talents are

    by the_shitweasel_with_a_quizzical_brow

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 9:34 p.m. CST

    I used to be heedlessly in love with whatever Tarsem would come up with

    by soma_with_the_paintbox

    I mean, seriously Pavlovian-deep shit here, until I saw the works of artists he cribbed from. Fellini. Quay. Svankmajer. Bertolucci. etc. These people produced consummate works of art that are visually stunning, are self-contained, and speak for themselves (some better than others, obviously, just like him). If not even the visuals in his films are original, what does Tarsem have left? I mean, I'm not as deranged as some here; I don't loathe him now. I still enjoy The Fall as an effort from an outre director groping toward maturity, but my enthusiasm has definitely cooled. He may make entertainment beautiful but a visionary he isn't. I mean, so many of the shots in The Cell are pulled straight out of Fellini Satyricon, blocking intact--that's either super lazy or super ballsy, probably the former. Man, now I'm thinking about what shit taste I had at 13, when the Cell came out. I was also gaga for The Phantom Menace. I would like to think it's gotten better since, probably only broader and more nuanced. That's selection bias for you.

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 9:49 p.m. CST

    He should team up with a real director...

    by jimmy_009

    ...his visuals with some good storytelling would be gangbusters.

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 10:10 p.m. CST

    Well... I guess it will *look* good

    by D.Vader

  • Nov. 17, 2011, 10:11 p.m. CST

    Beacham wrote the first drafts of CLASH

    by D.Vader

    But it was heavily rewritten, from what I had read. Which probably makes sense, considering how mind-numbingly bad much of the movie was at the script level.

  • Nov. 18, 2011, 1:36 a.m. CST

    I think the green gargantua is excited about PACIFIC RIM

    by lv_426

    I don't know, just a wild guess.

  • The Cell was a while ago, and really, holds up pretty good compared to stuff these days. The Fall, I haven't seen all of it, but everyone seems to rave about it, so what's the problem? Immortals looks really good, and seems to be doing well. I've been hearing random people in public say how great it was. That doesn't happen much nowadays (maybe with an Avatar or something once in a while). Mirror Mirror doesn't look that great to me, but it is obviously aimed at a younger audience. Also, all we've had to go on for that one is the trailer. I wouldn't lump Tarsem in with Tim Burton yet, although, that is something that Tarsem will have to watch out for. Basically, his style could get overexposed after a few more films unless he varies it up or changes up his style. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

  • Nov. 18, 2011, 2:21 a.m. CST

    Pacific Rim One-Sheet...

    by Darth_Kong

  • Nov. 18, 2011, 2:43 a.m. CST

    darth_kong, very nice

    by lv_426

    I can already feel the epic old school mecha anime vibe. the green gargantua is going to blow his load when he sees the image from your link.

  • Nov. 18, 2011, 2:57 a.m. CST

    I thought the story of The Fall was rather moving.

    by Dennis_Moore

    And he co-wrote that one. The other scripts, he had no hand in. Would be more interested in stuff he wrote as well as directed. No reason to blame him for unworkable scripts.

  • As well as the greats you mentioned he also cribs heavily from Jodorowsky and the art world (Damien Hirst etc). Standard practice for commercial/music video directors, but a great film-maker should be bringing something new, fully realised and coherent to the table.

  • Nov. 18, 2011, 5:45 a.m. CST

    The Cell is not incoherent

    by Autodidact

    It's just a piece of shit on a stick.

  • Nov. 18, 2011, 5:46 a.m. CST

    Posted this clip in the other Tarsem thread too late

    by Autodidact

    I am a fan, but check out this clip: Look familiar?

  • Nov. 18, 2011, 6:57 a.m. CST

    autodidact: yeah, it's so fucking blatant it makes ya sick

    by melonman

    And yet the "visionary" bandwagon lumbers onwards…

  • Nov. 18, 2011, 7:35 a.m. CST

    Maybe he should just rename himself McT...

    by kells

  • Nov. 18, 2011, 7:36 a.m. CST

    Paul Verhoeven could be McV...

    by kells

    He's so fucking brilliant.

  • Nov. 18, 2011, 1:08 p.m. CST

    autodidact and soma

    by D o o d

    you know whenever I think of Tarsem, all I ever think of is "copycat" "thief" plagiarizing other peoples art! It's one thing doing that in Pop Videos and Commercials, but I feel it's downright dishonest to do it in a movie. It's ok to be inspired, but to simply rip-off someone elses art is just lazy, rude and wrong! Luckily he sucks at making movies so with all plagiarizing visual flair that he has, he still is a rubbish director!

  • Nov. 18, 2011, 3:47 p.m. CST


    by The Aquarian 1

    Why would you say that Beaks? He's made three very fine films. The Cell and The Fall are both masterpieces and I was pleasantly surprised by Immortals. Mirror, Mirror looks strange, I'll grant that. But Tarsem Singh is a true artist and your comment doesn't do justice to his accomplishments. In fact it lends credence to the mediocre majority that infests Hollywood. Tarsem Singh is top notch filmmaker.

  • Nov. 18, 2011, 10:47 p.m. CST

    How do u guys feel about tarsem directing DR STRANGE?

    by TheAwareness

  • Nov. 20, 2011, 2:46 p.m. CST

    Tarsem's THE CELL and THE FALL are visionary masterpieces

    by GhostofLesterBangs

    Only the first scene in IMMORTALS even seems like it was directed by Tarsem. (Spoiler) I'm talking about the Oracle's original vision of the freeing of the Titans. But I was severely disappoined by IMMORTALS. It just seemed like a cross between 300 and Clash of the Titans. There is NO ONE doing the daring imagery that Tarsem exhibited in The Cell and The Fall in contemporary mainstream cinema like he was doing. IMMORTALS seemed like his attempt at pandering. Just awful.

  • Nov. 20, 2011, 11:17 p.m. CST

    I'm confused by people who like Immortals but hate The Cell

    by Bass Ackwards

    They're both shitty stories, but The Cell was a shitty story with some fantastic imagery, that was sometimes grand, sometimes tense, actors worth watching, and at least a little tension with a story that put things at stake. Immortals was a shitty story with bland acting, bland, washed out visuals, and a bare shoe string of a story put out to hang together bland action scenes (and the climax of the movie seemed to make the whole ordeal meaningless anyways).