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Wednesday
Aug072013

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO...?: HOLLYWOOD'S MISSING MOVIES

On October 11, 2013, Jonathan Levine’s moody teen horror film All The Boys Love Mandy Lane will premiere in US cinemas – seven years after it was first screened. Starring Amber Heard (pictured, below), the film earned late-night slots and solid reviews at leading festivals such as South by SouthWest, Sitges, Toronto and Frightfest, before becoming mired in distributor chaos. It was one of the most well-known of the many unreleased films that clog studio vaults, bolster lawyer bank accounts and frustrate the talent involved. With …Mandy Lane finally finding multiplex love, SCREEN-SPACE looks at four other unreleased film projects now vying for her crown…

THE KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM
At Comic-Con 2011, nerd-buzz soared when director Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2: Dead End) introduced footage from his LARP-inspired fantasy comedy. Featuring a cast of geek-friendly names (Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage, True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten, Community’s Danny Pudi, Firefly’s Summer Glau) and some top-tier effects work, the independent film was being produced North by Northwest Pictures, though no distribution pact was in place. The Knights of Badassdom fell of everyone’s radar until March 2013, when a principal at an operation called IndieVest by the name of Wade Bradley announced that a recut version would screen in Hollywood for potential investors. Lynch distanced himself from Bradley’s version which, reported website Dread Central, allegedly ran 70 minutes and differed greatly from the 2011 version. Adding further insult, it was revealed that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority was pursuing disciplinary action against Bradley for monies sought to help finance post-production on …Badassdom, funds that were never presented to the producers or Lynch.
WILL WE EVER SEE IT? Appears unlikely that Joe Lynch’s version that wowed Comic-Con audiences will ever be re-assembled; Wade Bradley has stated the film will get a theatrical run, though no release date has been confirmed.

5-25-77
It was late in 2006 when filmmaker Patrick Read Johnson, with the cult item Spaced Invaders and the Home Alone clone Baby’s Day Out to his credit, grasped the opportunity to make his pet project - an autobiographical tale of a mid-West teenager whose life is changed when he attends the very first screening of Star Wars (the project’s numerical title reflects the day George Lucas’ space saga ‘went wide’). As shooting neared completion, and with the weight of the William Morris Agency and uber-producer Cassian Elwes attached, the global economy collapsed and hundreds of ‘little films’ like 5-25-77 were jettisoned. In the five years since that fateful time, Johnson has been striving to get his lovechild into the marketplace by any means necessary. He recently travelled the length and breadth of the US, screening the work-in-progress as part of his ‘Hearts of Dorkness’ tour (accompanied by a documentary crew); Toronto International Film Festival 2012 welcomed the director and his film into their ‘Next Wave’ strand.
WILL WE EVER SEE IT? The film has attained its own mythology over the years and a smart indie production/distribution outfit would be wise to play on that; Johnson seems to be in for the long haul.

TEMPTATION:
Back in 2004, before she became Star Trek’s Uhuru or Avatar’s Neytiri, 25 year-old starlet Zoe Saldana was making a name for herself with support roles in Centre Stage, Crossroads and Drumline. This was all set to change when she was cast in the ambitious musical Temptation, a modern rock-opera interpretation of the Faust legend set against the nightclub culture of a new millennium New York City. Nearly a decade before Les Miserables producers boasted of their on-set cast recordings, director Mark Tarlov miked his actors and recorded the entire score live; amongst an ensemble of Broadway veterans, Saldana (pictured, right; with co-star Orfeh) proved a revelation. Said Tarlov, “We set about to create a piece featuring people setting out in life, this age group I'm talking about, all striving and all trying to decide what they want and how to get it.” But the dreams of all involved were soon dashed. Following a single screening at the 2005 New York Musical Festival, Temptation all but vanished, never to see the inside of a theatre or DVD case to this day.
WILL WE EVER SEE IT? No.

SPRING BREAK ’83:
Writer Mars Callahan set out to craft a loving homage to the bawdy teen comedies of the 80’s when he began shooting Spring Break ‘83 (alongside co-director Scott Spiegel) in Louisiana in late 2007. With then-bankable stars Jamie Kennedy (as Ballzack) and John Goodman (as Dick Bender) toplining, Callahan and Spielgel filled their cast with such forgotten 80s icons as Lee Majors, Morgan Fairchild, Adrien Zmed, Joe Piscopo, Erik Estrada and MTV V-jay ‘Downtown’ Julie Brown (as well as then It-girl, Aussie bombshell Sophie Monk). But as filming neared completion, Callahan’s production outfit Big Sky Motion Pictures began to bounce payday cheques; cast and crew complained to Union officials who investigated and soon detailed grievances were filed with the courts. Shooting was shut down. Then, in January 2009, Mars Callahan and his Big Sky team hosted a party in Park City, Utah (pictured, below; the events online invitation), as the Sundance Film Festival was in full swing, during which they premiered a teaser trailer for Spring Break ’83.

This led to a schedule of pick-up shots in Los Angeles in March of that year and an online announcement in December which promised that “the directors edit of Spring Break '83 is now locked and the completion of the post production phase is coming soon” and “an official release…is targeted for early Spring 2010.”
WILL WE EVER SEE IT? Not theatrically. If there is a finished product, it will most likely be spruiked in the back rooms of the American Film Market and bundled into a home vid/cable package for unsuspecting international buyers. 

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