Monday, September 28, 2009

More drama!

Just when the pseudo-flap over Creation and its distribution is dying down, news comes of two more creation/evolution-related film productions. The first is a two-hour NOVA special titled Darwin's Darkest Hour, which chronicles the writing of Origin of Species. Hmmmmm.... seems familiar. Playing Darwin is Henry Ian Cusick, known to most Americans as Desmond, the man who pushed the button in the Swan Station for years before Jack, Locke, and the rest of the Losties blew the hatch open with dynamite. The special airs October 6. Check your local listings for the exact time. I sincerely hope it's interesting and entertaining.

From Mlive.com comes a story about amateur screenwriter Fred Foote's production Alleged being filmed in Michigan. Alleged is about the Scopes Trial, or at least what Fred Foote thinks the Scopes Trial was about. According to the article, "... the trial was actually a tool of the progressive elite of the time, to promote Darwinism for its own darker purpose." That's sort of true, except it sounds silly and conspiratorial when you say it like that.

Foote wrote the screenplay himself, then got $4 million from his "family foundation" to finance the project. (Where the foundation got the $4 million is not specified.) The project has attracted real talent. Fred Thompson, Brian Dennehy, and Colm Meaney (Star Trek's Chief O'Brien) all star, but IMDB lists the director as Tom Hines, who previously acted in bit parts in a variety of productions and appears to have minimal directorial experience (according to his IMDB page). Foote is hoping to land a distribution deal in the spring when editing is completed, and if that fails, it'll go the festival route in order to attract a distributor. If it has a hard time getting distribution, I bet someone will blame the pro-Darwin, anti-creationist conspiracy of boogeymen for keeping it out of theaters.

I can't say I'm really excited about Alleged. As a rule, privately-financed Christian productions generally stink, but maybe I should give this one the benefit of the doubt? That would at least be courteous, right? Heaven knows it would be nice to have some dramatic portrayal of the trial other than the bigoted Inherit the Wind. It would be even better if the movie wasn't overly sensational. Avoiding melodrama while depicting the events of the Scopes Trial might be difficult, though, since the trial itself was mostly melodrama. At this stage, there's one thing I know for sure. The name of the film must be changed immediately. Look at the headline of that article, "Alleged" screenwriter Fred Foote discusses the story behind his story on the Scopes Monkey Trial. That's just begging to be parodied: Alleged movie, Alleged director, Alleged actors, Alleged storyline, etc. It's a publicist's nightmare.

So... four million dollars? For a movie that Foote admits might end up as "a $4 million DVD on my shelf." Oh, the things I could have accomplished with just a tithe of that money. Oh well. I guess I'll just have to plug along on my meager four thousand dollar research budget (It's actually a tad more than $4K, but not much).