For the last year or so, we’ve been fortunate enough to work with the pseudonymous, mysterious Hollywood Cog, who has been kind enough to offer us a lot of inside scuttlebutt on various Hollywood projects in development without getting territorial about that information. He’s allowed us to use it in any way we deem suitable. We’ve also managed to get this without brokering any deals for access with studios. But what we’ve gradually come to learn through the Hollywood Cog’s inside information, is that while hundreds of projects go into development every couple of months, and while one star can be simultaneously attached to 25 projects at one time, many — maybe most — of these projects never see a green light. It doesn’t mean they’re not in development — it just means that they may never advance past the pitch, the script, or the casting stage.
Through our relationship with the Cog, we’ve also unwittingly contributed to a small part of the movie blogger news cycle; movie blogs are reporting news earlier and earlier in the development stage in order to the first to break the news, and we have had opportunities to report things months in advance (for instance, today, it’s being reported that Dakota Fanning is negotiations to star in If I Stay, which we reported nine months ago.). We don’t really care about being first; the links that come with being first drive minimal traffic (how many source links do you click on?) and maximum hassle. We do it because it’s fun to fuck with the studios, who’d rather disseminate that information themselves via colorful, studio-friendly press releases. In other words, we’re busting chops because what most people who work on this side of the industry don’t understand is that the studios and filmmakers and their publicists — they’re our enemies. Or at least they should be. Sure, they smile a lot; they’re very friendly; and sometimes, they give you free stuff to give your readers or exclusive access to a movie poster or or trailer or they might even wink at you on Twitter, but make no mistake: They’re doing it for themselves. They’re not your fucking friends. Reciprocating that wink comes with a price, and that price is your opinion and your honesty, which is all that really matters in this game.
However, some of the more narcissistic, self-important movie bloggers — who think that what any of us is doing is somehow different than celebrity gossip for movies — have gotten a bug up their ass about the sanctity of casting news, as though reporting that Aronovsky may direct Wolverine 2 before it’s actually confirmed is somehow tantamount to announcing that peace has broken out in the Middle East based on the fact that a couple of Israelis and Palestinians had drinks and played a round of cards. We’re here to talk about movies: Movies that have been made, movies that are being made, and movies that may never be made. But they’re still movies. Perspective, folks. It’s opinions and commentary and decrying the downfall of our culture, and that news is usually about movies most of you will spend more time talking about than actually seeing. Please don’t take anything you read on a site that rhymes with a female body part too seriously (though, you’d better take that female body part seriously or we will cut you). And for the love of God, don’t take any of us too seriously (that also goes doubly for filmmakers who get their feelings hurt when one of our esteemed critics calls him a sanctimonious fuckknob). Except maybe Dan: He means fucking business. Besides, we’re not a news site. We’d much rather mock the process than be a part of it. The Hollywood Cog has given us the opportunity to see the real inside of that process, and discover what a farce it is, which allows us to mock it in a more educated way, and try our damndest to be transparent about it with our readers. And on our very best days, we might even use some of that movie gossip to challenge you, but not too often, because thinking is hard. AmIright, Beavis?
Which brings me to the list. Below are five stories that have been reported over the last two days, some of which we had varying levels of knowledge (thanks to the Cog) before they were announced. And with that knowledge, and from what we have learned over the past year — that maybe one out of five in-development projects gets to the actual production stage — we can safely say that at least four of these projects will probably never, ever happen.
However, that doesn’t make them any less fun to talk about.