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March 27, 2008 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | March 27, 2008 |

It’s been a long road for Kyle Newman. The director’s Fanboys has had a torturous road from concept to production ever since its origin in 2003. In 2005, Kevin Spacey’s Trigger Street Productions came on board the film that followed the exploits of a group of geeks who travel cross-country to George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch so they can break in and screen it before it’s too late for one of the kids, who’s been diagnosed with cancer. The Weinstein Co. picked up the film later that year, which is when the wheels came off the wagon. Harvey Weinstein hired director Steven Brill to reshoot a few scenes, and he also excised the cancer angle and decided to play it as more of a teen comedy at the expense of the geeks instead of a dramedy aimed at them. However, the fanboys were not exactly pleased at this, and in a weird instance of PR maneuvering, the Weinstein Co. has decided to release both version of the film on DVD, and are even throwing out hints of possible giving a theatrical release to both versions (yeah, right), just because the geeks formed online to organize a boycott of Weinstein’s Superhero Movie. I mention all this because it’s a perfect example of just how proprietary Star Wars fans feel when it comes to films involving/concerning them; for the first time, George Lucas and Harvey Weinstein could probably share a beer and commiserate. Plus the Weinstein Co. reported getting 300,000 emails about the film, which is downright terrifying. And yet I also can’t help but admire the fans’ tenacity; sure, the film is probably gonna land somewhere south of good, but the story’s heart seems to be in the right place. I think the company should just pull the trigger and put it out on DVD already. There’s no way a theatrical release could do as well as it needs to do to justify either version.

Changing gears radically: Elizabeth Banks is going to play Laura Bush in W, a biopic about George W. Bush being directed by Oliver Stone. Aside from tarnishing Banks for me forever, Stone is just guaranteeing that he’ll make a wingnut movie about Bush that comes out as screamingly slanted, which isn’t really necessary to do since the facts of the mismanaged war tend to speak for themselves. Hell, PBS’ “Frontline” did it just a couple nights ago. In other news involving actresses going slumming: Julie Benz (“Dexter”) has joined the cast for Saw V. It was inevitable the film would be made, but I’d still held out foolish hope that we’d make it a year without one of these stupid things. Honestly, isn’t everyone beyond tired of torture porn? And I don’t just mean the normal people out there; aren’t the hardcore horror kids over it, too?

Also this week, it was announced that Warner Bros. has won the bidding war for I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want To Be Your Class President, a book proposal by Josh Lieb, whose credits include “The Simpsons” and “The Daily Show.” Lieb is also on board to adapt his book, which deals with a chubby boy in the 7th grade who’s actually an evil genius running an operation out of a lair underneath his parents’ house. There’s no telling yet when the film will materialize — the book proposal just sold to Penguin — but I have to admit, it’s a promising set-up. And Lieb also wrote for “News Radio,” which sure doesn’t hurt.

The first trailer this week is for something so damn off-the-wall that any attempt to describe it would be met with scoffs of disbelief. David Mamer? Chiwetel Ejiofor? Mixed martial arts? It’s all real:

And just because I like going out on a downer, here’s the clip for Standard Operating Procedure, a documentary from Errol Morris (The Fog of War) about the prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib:

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a low-level employee at a Hollywood industry magazine. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.

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