My learned cohort Ian St John sent over "the slate details" from Scott Free, a film and television company founded by filmmakers Ridley and Tony Scott. They were after certain films for certain genres and the Male Trailing Spouse had to cook to order.
"Not sure if S******* fits," Saint wrote me via email, "that's no concern but have a read."
Great to speak to you just now! Below are some more details about the slate and comparable films. Happy to read anything you think might fit at whatever stage it’s at!
RIDLEY SCOTT PRESENTS
* Six micro budget contained genre films to be made over the next three years, in the region of $2m dollars each, shooting primarily in Northern Ireland (but films don’t need to be set there).
* The entire slate financed in advance, with a fast green-lighting process, avoiding traditional approvals and financing hurdles. We can be fleet of foot, working around director schedules.
* We can look at projects at any stage, from a two line concept to a screenplay. We do not want to reverse existing projects into the slate if the concept and execution will be compromised, and can't work with other producers.
- horror, at the suspense rather than the gore end of the spectrum (e.g. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, INSIDIOUS)
- action, in clever contained ways (THE RAID, ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13)
- science fiction (MOON, MONSTERS).
- suspense thrillers (BURIED, PHONE BOOTH)
* Films to be distinguished by their creative ambition. To conceive and execute concepts that can deliver something genuinely impressive and thrilling for the price.
* Genuine upside. We are not taking fees, and talent participation kicks in when we start getting paid.
USEFUL REFERENCE FILMS:
- THE RAID
- PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
- 28 DAYS LATER
- THE LAST EXORCISM
- THE DESCENT
- OPEN WATER
Additionally, a broader list of higher budget films that in terms of concept could potentially have been executed differently to make them feasible at our budget level.
- PHONE BOOTH
- ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13
- THE STRANGERS
- THE ORPHANAGE
- 30 DAYS OF NIGHT
- EVENT HORIZON
- LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
- THE OTHERS
- TELL NO ONE
- THE VILLAGE
- 12 MONKEYS
- BUTTERFLY EFFECT
- INSIDE MAN
All the best
CREATIVE EXECUTIVE, RIDLEY SCOTT PRESENTS
SCOTT FREE FILMS LIMITED
42-44 BEAK STREET, LONDON, W1F 9RH
My heart sank, but only a little. Scott Free were after stage bound thrillers of a highly derivative but (seemingly) commercial nature. No way could we palm off S******* on Scott Free. It was WAY too big for the slate. We had to recalibrate.
Not seen The Raid (but heard that the Silat is good).
"Everyone keeps going on and on about The Raid," said Saint, "can we come up with something like that?"
SNP leader Alex Salmond's fav thriller
Aye, you betcha. My proposal, "The Estate," was a mash up of 1970s BBC thriller series Scotch on the Rocks and Escape from New York. Set in Scotland in the near future an SAS troop infiltrate a nationalist council estate to rescue a kidnapped Margaret Thatcher style politician (and kill lots of scumbags).
Saint thought it was off the wall.
"What if the referendum went the way of England in 2014 and the Nationalists went loco? That's the premise."
IRA in the 1970s
"And what's funny is that we'd be shooting it in Northern Ireland!"
Saint pointed out that we could set it anywhere.
"If they want us to change it to, say Detroit, and have Yanks..."
Another story was "The Incomers" an unashamed rip off, ahem, homage, to Charles Beaumont's short story "The New People" -- American beefcake and hot Brit wife move into picturesque English village and fall foul of local Satanic swingers run by a Lord of the Manor type.
"Who do we get for the Yank?" He asked. "If we don't have a Yank as a hero, we might as well forget it!"
"Who you reckon?"
"I was hanging out with Scott Bakula and Robert Patrick the other night..."
"The budget is only $2M... how cheap does T2 and Quantum Leap come these days?"
"I could ask. Scott's a multimillionaire..."
"I would hope so. Does that mean he comes cheap?"
"And Robert's cool, he was giving Greavsie some shit the other day."
Jimmy Greaves was in the middle of shooting his web series (about modern day car thieves) for Paramount and Robert Patrick had joined the cast as a bad guy.
"What did Greavsie do to T2?"
"Nothing. Robert just decided to mindfuck him that day, that's all."
I pointed out to Saint that we were falling foul of the usual pattern of English filmmakers, getting a cheap American star (in the 1960s it would have been Macdonald Carey or John Saxon, and in the 1970s, paunchy, hungover, Doug McClure) and putting him in a barmy plot with the cream of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
"We got to have the Yank beating up Brits and Satanists," he said.
And finally "The Gatecrashers" -- Peter's Friends meets Straw Dogs. A university reunion at a remote mansion in the English countryside is gatecrashed by a group of convicts led by sawn off cockney villain "Mickey Whelks" and Afro-Caribbean date rapist "Hustle Man".
"We have got to make the protagonist an American," pleaded Saint.
"OK we change the Brit to an American and have him turn up late for the reunion to take down Mickey Whelks and Hustle Man the not too racially stereotyped Afro-Caribbean date rapist with an MBA from the Open University via prison.."
"Who do you want for Mickey Whelks?"
"Jesus, Alex, you love that guy more than his manager."
"What about Hustle Man?"
"I dunno... a black actor who won't be too pissed off about playing an escaped convict rapist albeit with an MBA from Open University..there is a love scene I got in mind for him, but not that kind of love scene, if you catch my drift..."
"I getcha, Straw Dogs?"
"Yeah, kinda. Minus the risque editing that makes it look like a gang buggering."
"What about the Yank? What's he called?"
Doug McClure (armed)
Saint pissed himself.
"But Doug McClure is dead!"
"No, the hero is called Doug McClure..."
Doug McClure (far right) saves the day
"OK and cast someone cheap like Doug McClure was for Amicus Productions back in the 1970s."
"And when he turns up to save the day, it goes a bit Die Hard and he is aided and abetted by the gamekeeper, the poacher and the comical local policeman on the bicycle..."
"It starts off as Peter's Friends with all these posh cunts having a university reunion and sniping at one another, then Mickey Whelks and Hustle Man turn up with how many escaped convicts?"
Bearing in mind, I was making it up as I went along, mashing and robbing as many ideas as possible to construct a workable plot. Working in the "film business" is like throwing mud at the wall, and seeing what sticks.
"Erm, about 35 escaped convicts," I said hesitantly.
"Yeah, there was a mass breakout at a prison in Sweden back in 2004, I will base it on that..."
"How come so many descend on the house?"
"Gives our man Doug McClure time to mop up the place, one by one, styley..."
"With the help of the poacher, gamekeeper and comical plod on the pushbike?"
"Oui, c'est exact."
"And this house is remote?"
I cleared my throat for the next part of the plot.
"The large country house is in a valley with no mobile phone signal and no internet, this is one of the reasons why Whelks has chosen this spot, as he once took a holiday nearby and scouted the area, the house also has vast acreage and is part of Whelks' escape plan, as he plans to have a pilot land a plane on the estate and fly him out of the country..."
Et voila. Kinda
McClure vs Dinosaur (bottle or what?)