I went to the movies tonight to see Adjustment Bureau.. which was fine by the way. But something happened during the previews that made me sick in that way you get when you lose so profoundly that your stomach feels like it drops into your knees.
This is what happened...
We were watching previews when suddenly they decided to show a little behind-the-scenes piece for the upcoming film "Sucker Punch". Now, I should point out that when I first saw the trailer for that film I remember thinking, "Oh my God! That looks and feels so much the way I imagine the Chi-Chian feature film looking!" And I probably had a little moment then too.. the kind of moment you have when you feel you are blue in the face trying to convince people of something (you know, something along the lines of "Chi-Chian would make for a great live action feature film" and "I don't know what you mean, I think it TOTALLY Works with a female protagonist" and "No, I don't think it's too much... I think the fact that there are giant insects and giant samurai robots and zombies and mecha all over the place just makes it that much more awesome!" and "It's SUPPOSED to be tongue in cheek! I don't agree with you that it has to be 100% serious in order for it to work!" and "Have you NEVER seen Hell Boy?" and "OH JUST FUCKIN' FORGET IT!" and "Hello? Hello?.... are you still on the line?" )
...in any case, I looked forward to seeing Sucker Punch. I thought that MAYBE after it was released and if it did well, I just might have an easier time pitching the Chi-chian film and having Hollywood execs actually be able to understand what I was saying...
and then the moment came.... they revealed something I didn't previously know about the film....apparently the lead in Sucker Punch is EMILY BROWNING!!!!
I felt completely punched in the stomach. I actually screamed when I saw her name. (well, it was more like a primordial death groan) Why, you ask?
Well, for those of you who don't know who she is, she was the female lead in A Series of Unfortunate Events. More recently she was in a horror film called The Uninvited. My comic book series, Chi-chian has been optioned to be developed into a live action feature twice. The first time, there was no one in Hollywood (save Bai Ling perhaps) that I could imagine playing Chi-chian. It was a moot point anyway, since after three years, that option went no where and a film was never made. When I got the rights back, I naively thought that maybe I could pitch it myself. I was wrong. But something cool did happen in that time. I saw Emily Browning on the big screen for the first time and I fell in love with her (in the artistic sense, of course). I had finally found the one actor in Hollywood that I could see as my baby, Chi-chian. Except, that everyone I told just looked at me blankly. They either didn't know who she was or just flat out disagreed. I naively emailed her management and told them that I had a graphic novel that had been optioned to be developed into a live action feature and that I felt she would be perfect for her. She had not yet starred in a film, certainly not an action film, and I expressed that it could be a great vehicle for her.
.... I got no response, of course. That should come as no surprise, I supposed since I'm neither a big Hollywood agent nor am I repped by one and if I've learned ANYTHING about Hollywood it's that agents only talk to other agents. But it was sad to me nonetheless that they didn't reply.
Two years ago or so, Chi-Chian got optioned AGAIN to be developed into a live action feature film. I thought that at least this time, I had a production company behind me that could make that connection with her management. But seeing as in 12 months of them holding the option, they called me exactly ONE TIME, I'm pretty sure that all of my emails saying "EMILY BROWNING WOULD BE PERFECT TO PLAY CHI-CHIAN" elicited nothing more than a raised eyebrow before getting deleted.
I really feel like I've been the crazy, local drunk screaming and yelling at the top of my lungs into the wind about something no one ever could see or could believe..... usually it's something like "Aliens are coming!" In this case it was that Emily Browning could be a GREAT female lead in an action/sci fi film... namely one about Chi-chian.
Well, I guess now she is. It just isn't in my film.
I guess I should tip my hat to the creators of Sucker Punch for having vision and to director Zack Snyder for getting to work with her on an amazing show that I'm sure will be awesome.
But that isn't going to stop me for feeling like a schmuck for lacking the Hollywood connections to get things done.
And that's what rum is for, my friends. Now I go swim in some.
(Chi-Chian, Emily Browning and Sucker Punch Poster)
On another note, I should really make a little visual essay of all of the things film executives have told me were "stupid" about Chi-chian's world or "would never work" that ended up being key elements in major Hollywood films! Immediately coming to mind are the GIANT WORM TRAIN in Men in Black 2, the army of Anubis warriors in The Mummy Returns, the flying cars that dock directly into the apartments in skyscrapers in some Tom Cruise movie... there are a dozen more.