Hey folks, Harry here.... I just got off the phone with Timothy Hines... the man directing this WAR OF THE WORLDS film. This movie is his EVERYTHING... Thus far he's made films on a shoestring and a bit of tape... A virtual one man everything on his films. Having to settle for single takes... Having to make do with little to no budget... Having to deal with shady distributors and hair-raising pressures... But through it all... he's had the dream of WAR OF THE WORLDS.
The first question I had for him had to do with the rights... His investors are willing to face not having the film distributed in Europe due to Jeff Wayne's refusal to sell or share rights on WAR OF THE WORLDS... Where did he get the money? Well, he wouldn't say out right, but he's in Seattle... This is a science fiction film.... There are incredibly rich people that dig science fiction in Seattle... Ahem...
Tim has a $42 million dollar budget to make WAR OF THE WORLDS. He has a script set in modern times, but with a premise of reducing modern society to a Victorian era... in terms of technology. The film will be set around the Seattle area. However, otherwise Tim says that the film will move step by step through the plotlines of Wells' original story... Computers will be used for wire removal and that sort of thing, but he prefers the look and feel of models (AGREED). Explosions and that sort of thing will be a mixture. He is quite proud of his script, which he's sending my way. As for the 'no-name' actors... He is in talks with a major distributor... he's in talks with SAG, but more than anything he's making this movie and doesn't want to be caught in the middle of a strike, if a SAG strike were to occur... but he's looking to avoid it.
When I talked with him about the questions one would have based on his past work... He talked about the zillion different problems with SUPER-LOW BUDGET filmmaking... But folks... Tim is going to be making WAR OF THE WORLDS... It seems that he's going to be busting his balls to make it the best film he can. This is his first time with the big toys... He's excited and ready to have a go at it. They are in the process of renting a 67,000 square foot warehouse in Seattle... and that is where they will begin to make his epic. He had an audition call in Seattle of 600 some odd wannabe actors... looks like he found one out of the group that he can use. He wants to use solid actors, not stars... He wants to make a serious non-campy dead on take of WAR OF THE WORLDS... and folks, if you heard the enthusiasm in his voice... the passion that he had to make this... Well... it is undeniable. And infectious...
I don't know how good this film will be, but I'll tell ya how the script is when I read it... and folks... he's giving it his all... But rest assured, we'll be letting you in on it.
OLD REPORT BELOW
While I was at Cannes last week, Garth over at Dark Horizons broke a story about an alleged WAR OF THE WORLDS project that:
Lensing in September is a new $42 million-budget movie based on the H.G. Wells sci-fi classic which, unlike previous attempts, will be more of a gritty hardcore sci-fi chiller than the slightly campy style of the 1953 film adaptation. One big new thing will be ten-storey tall fighting machines with tentacles and poison gas weapons mentioned in the book but not seen in previous adaptations. Pendragon Pictures will produce the film which isn't expected to star any major actors (thus saving a lot of the cost) whilst the premiere is set for Cannes 2003.
And today, Garth is running pictures of pre-production art from this alleged production. Well... my interest instantly shot through the roof... WAR OF THE WORLDS is one of the all time great science fiction books, radio shows and films..... PERIOD....
And the 1953 version was definitely not CAMP. Anyone that would say that doesn't know the meaning of the word. The original George Pal WAR OF THE WORLDS is nearly perfect in effects, design, story, score, cinematography... Though in the realm of 'accurate adaptation' even George's great film falters.
Many have dreamed of making an up to date, technologically speaking, WAR OF THE WORLDS. In late 1999, screenwriter Peter Briggs related the entire convoluted hell that surrounds WAR OF THE WORLDS. (CLICK HERE TO READ THAT ACCOUNT) Knowing that the film was in the midst of major 'rights' issues... any creation of a WAR OF THE WORLDS film will be highly unlikely... so long as Jeff Wayne is still alive and renewing his European rights.
So... Who is Pendragon Pictures and what the hell are they doing with WAR OF THE WORLDS?
I made a few quick stabs at trying to find out, and learned that Pendragon Pictures is apparently a company formed in 2001 based out of Seattle, Washington. The president is a Susan Goforth, whom I can't seem to find any established credits or history on. And the director listed with the company is Timothy Hines.
Now that's a name I know. You see... Timothy Hines directed a TROMA film called HOUSE OF THE RISING. This is where I began to sniff a rat. So I decided on a hunch to look up PendragonPictures.Com and sure enough.... there was the page on WAR OF THE WORLDS and the company.
On other movies, there was the listing for Timothy Hines' other work.... All grade z direct to video or less features made on the cheap.
I called and left messages on three different phones, but folks... If some how they managed to actually secure the rights for WAR OF THE WORLDS, when Paramount Pictures couldn't.... Let's pray that this film doesn't come about because... well... Timothy Hines might very well not be up to the task. Check out that Pendragon link above, you can see more storyboards and some pics from Hines' other.... work.