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Why I Drink, Stone Angel Edition: Making a Doctor Who Film Unconnected to Series

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | November 15, 2011 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | November 15, 2011 |

Don’t blink? More like, don’t watch.

David Yates, director of the final four Harry Potter films and also with some credits on the fantastic “State of Play”, has decided that it’s time for “Doctor Who” to get the feature film treatment. This is wonderfully exciting, a director with the clout to actually make the project happen, and enough talent that it might actually work. Of course, he then spends the balance of his interview issuing statements that seem like they should be in an Onion article, if the Onion specialized not in humor but in hatefully jabbing at your soul.

He starts out with the good news: “We’re looking at writers now. We’re going to spend two to three years to get it right,”

And that’s a fair and encouraging statement. It’s always bad news when a director says “we need to get this to screen in the next six months before the investors demand their money back.”

Yates then drops this one:

“It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena.”

Well, no. I can’t agree with that, sir.

“We want a British sensibility, but having said that, Steve Kloves wrote the Potter films and captured that British sensibility perfectly, so we are looking at American writers too,”

I don’t want to be anti-American, because self-hating gives my immense ego hives, but I seem to recall there being a fair number of British writers from this British series that might make a contribution. I mean, what about getting Davies and Moffat involved?

“Russell T. Davies and then Steven Moffat have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch,”

Ah, the point in the movie where the record would scratch. Oh no, no, that successful series that is the justification for us being able to make a movie, oh we’re not going to use any of that material, we’re just going to use the name, the concept, and the fan base to make our own damned story.

Look, I came late to “Doctor Who,” having never seen an episode until the Davies series started up. But a massive part of what makes the series work is the recognition of the body of work that came before. The Doctor as a character is linked regeneration by regeneration through hundreds of stories. To just rip the character out of that stream, to invent him again on an island, is to demonstrate a complete misunderstanding of the core of the character.

If you want to do your own thing, call it “Inspector Spacetime,” I hear you can get the two leads for that in a couple of months.

(source: Variety)

Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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