Saturday, December 1, 2012

How It Got Burned I: The Making of Catwoman (2004)

 So December is upon is, and Turkey month is at an end. How sad, for I only made four posts, one of them being scans of a good comic.
 Do not feel remorseful though, my friends, for that still does not mean we cannot delve into all things shitty in comic book land! It is with great pride that I introduce a new series for this blog, called How It Got Burned: When Comics go up in Flames, named after a line spoken by Man-God and fellow fan of comics, Saint Nicolas Coppola of the Cage. With this series we shall uncover the great mysteries of how and why various comic book movies sizzled and fizzled. Today, we will be looking at a transcript of the sordid meeting from which the 2004 eidolon of filmic fecal matter known as Catwoman sprang:

 Sometime in 2002: The WB board meeting room:
 Goddamn it, it’s been three months of marriage and my wife already wants to divorce me! I’m just not feeling it any more. We need a new chick flick.
 Sir! You will not use language like “chick” here, you misogynist basta---
 Oh fuck off, Chief.
 Hee. The reason you’re not feeling it any more is because you’re too fat.
 Sir! The politically correct term is “softer-bodied”--
 Ah lay offa' him, one minute you’re cussing me out then defendin' me. I’m fat and I know it. I don’t delude myself.
 Anyway, it’s not that. It’s my jokes that need to improve. I use’ta be great at makin’ her laugh. That’s why she married me, not because she’s financially unstable because a cosmetics company bought out her dad’s company and she needed to marry a rich Hollywood executive.
 Heh. You don’t like to delude yourself?
 Fuck you.
 Hey, easy now. You have a point, when was the last time we had a chick’s flick that was a bread-winner? My girlfriend loves to go to those, and always gets mad that none of them were produced by me.
 Your motives are so mercenary and juvenile. We do need to make more women-oriented films, or people will think we’re misogynistic….
 Eh, I could live with it.
…or they could think we’re gay.
 As the chief of Hollywood’s political correctness police who believes in equality for everyone, I must say that there is nothing wrong with being gay. You two are acting very immature and---DAMN IT! I DON’T WANT PEOPLE TO THINK I’M GAY!!!!!
 (Not that there’s anything wrong with that).
 It’s settled then. In order to keep people from thinking that we’re gay or misogynistic, we must make a movie featuring a scantily clad actress who spends the whole movie contorted in suggestive poses,
with dozens of ass shots…

  *Knock* *Knock*
  Goddammit, it’s Mr. Common Sense again.
  I hate that guy, he's always pointing out the flaws in my arguments.
 Excuse me gentlemen, I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation, but you started this whole discussion saying you wanted to make a film that would appeal to a female audience and also be empowering.
 Do you really think women are going to want to go a film filled with the kind of things you just mentioned? It’s highly--
 Aww shaddap. Hurry, someone find me an unmade script from our inventory pile!
Hours later:

 The abandoned Catwoman spin-off project from the early 90s that was supposed to star either Michelle Pfeiffer or Ashley Judd? I dunno…
  I am outraged by this. This script is sexist. Catwoman is supposed to wear pants that have rips in them that clearly expose her ass to the audience.
 Yeah, I figgered that that might not fly with you. It does sound kinda sexist.
 Huh? Oh, that’s not what I was saying was sexist. I’m fine with that, leave it in. This movie is sexist because it references the Batman movies, thus implying that a film about a woman can’t exist independently of a film about a man.
 That is very faulty logic.
 Quiet you! As I was saying, suggesting that a woman can’t live independently about a man would be sexist (which I totally am not). So let’s get rid of the character’s backstory, setting, etc.
 Also, it needs to be more ethnically diverse, because not being ethnically diverse would be racist (which I totally am not). We must transcend racial boundaries.
  Mmmm. Let’s get Halle Berry. She can transcend my racial boundaries any day if you know what I mean…
 Hmmm, casting a black woman as a man-hungry character (usually portrayed as a villain) who wears revealing, slutty clothing, commits robberies, is supernaturally adept at basketball,
 , and is constantly compared to an animal rather than a human by eating cat food and playing with fuzzy balls?

 I say go with it. I’m the head of the PC police, and since I don’t personally see anything racist about it, it’s not racist, because being the head of the PC police, I could never be racist.
 Oh, and best of all, if people complain about the film featuring a black actress, we can accuse them of racism! We can’t lose!
 Let’s also change the name too. “Selina Kyle” is too cartoony. We need a name people wouldn’t expect a comic book character to have like…Patience Phillips. There aren’t any comic book characters with alliterative names, right?
 Quiet you! I say we go with the Patience Phillips name. We can’t lose!
 We’ll also pay pathetically obvious sock-puppets to post positive reviews of the film on opening day on IMDb,
 We'll even have one guy review the same film twice, which is actually illegal on IMDb!
 We’ll also come up with silly, half-assed explanations for how the film fits into the DC Universe that aren’t suggested anywhere in the movie,
 and if a problem should arise, we’ll blame it on Marvel...somehow.

  Let’s hire a French director too, so that way, we can use our paid shills to make nonsensical accusations that the people who bash the film are anti-French Bush-supporting rednecks!
 Oh, and let’s make the villains a cosmetics firm. That’d make my wife very happy.
  Call up the boss.
 Hmmmm? A film based on a supporting character from a film franchise whose last entry was in 1997 and a total critical and financial failure? And that has nothing to do with the supporting character in question at all, and features an attempt at being politically correct that is actually horrifically racist when you think about it? And that features a bunch of stupid crap (like an evil cold cream company) that will totally alienate both established and potential fans? And that defends itself as a feminist film despite featuring scenes of the titular character, an Oscar Winner at that, wearing revealing leather, eating cat food and licking herself? This totally doesn’t sound like the project of a bunch of aging, sexually frustrated morons pulling a dud project out of development hell and trying to push an obvious TnA flick while also trying in vain to look politically correct.
 Gentlemen, I love it. Consider it greenlit.
 Months later…
  So how did the test audience react?
 Huh? Oh, I assume it went over well, judging from their facial expressions:
 Trust me. There’s no way this film will bomb.
July 23, 2004:
 You’re all fired LOL.

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