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Dear Stephen Schwartz.
February 10, 2011 12:01 PM   Subscribe

“Is it possible to talk you out of doing a live action movie adaptation? Would you consider doing a traditionally animated adaptation? In my heart I think the musical needs the medium, and I think the medium needs your musical. I just love them both so much and hopefully that shows through in the story reel.”

Disney animator Heidi Jo Gilbert whipped up an animated storyboard in her spare time to illustrate her argument.
posted by kipmanley (50 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
The composer told the website that the movie will "probably be in 3-D, because that's where all [movies] are going.

Lemmings. Absolute fucking lemmings.
posted by cavalier at 12:03 PM on February 10, 2011 [11 favorites]


Can we vote for neither??
posted by spicynuts at 12:04 PM on February 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Isn't there actually a fair amount of evidence that most movie-goers don't actually even like 3D?
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:04 PM on February 10, 2011


Isn't there actually a fair amount of evidence that most movie-goers don't actually even like 3D?

No, Pixar films do quite well.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:08 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Frankly, I'm much more interested in the possible 8-part television mini-series that would actually be based on the book, not simply inspire by it.
posted by hippybear at 12:08 PM on February 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Plus, it's not like making a movie 3D doesn't mean it can't be watched in 2D either in the theater or at home. I mean, all 2D movies start as 3D and get flattened to 2D at _some_ point ;)

Looks like Universal took the storyboard down pretty fast (probably straightfoward music copyright claim).
posted by wildcrdj at 12:10 PM on February 10, 2011


Oh yeah, Pixar. Forgot about them.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:10 PM on February 10, 2011


The storyboard is still available at the second link in the FPP.
posted by hippybear at 12:11 PM on February 10, 2011


No, Pixar films do quite well.

And they did well before 3D, too. People aren't going to see the film because it's in 3D. They're going to see the fim because they believe and trust in Pixar the company.
posted by inturnaround at 12:12 PM on February 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


I have a hard time seeing Lea Michele as Elphaba. She's got the pipes but I don't know if she's got the acting chops.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:16 PM on February 10, 2011


People aren't going to see the film because it's in 3D.

Of course, but they're not going to avoid because it's 3D also. There's no real evidence, that I know of, that indicates American audiences hate 3D movies.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:18 PM on February 10, 2011


I thought Ebert was overstating his case that the upsell in ticket prices for 3D is being used to justify the production of gimicky B-movies.

Then I saw that the summer lineup includes Kung Fu Catholics vs. Vampires and Cowboys vs. Aliens, both of which support his point quite well.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:20 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd be interested in seeing a Disney Animation version of Wicked, a la Snow White, etc. I think that has the potential to be pretty great. But hey, I'm no entertainment executive, so what do I know?
posted by spacely_sprocket at 12:22 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've only read the book, but from reading a description of the musical, it certainly sounds like the ending is less of a confused, falling-apart disappointment after so much early promise. I thought the book pretty much fell apart when Dorothy showed up.

On the other hand, I've always been strangely disappointed that it wasn't a love-and-breakup story between Elphaba and Glinda, but that's probably just me.

Anyway. Yeah, I actually think animation would serve the story well.
posted by kyrademon at 12:25 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have a hard time seeing Lea Michele as Elphaba. She's got the pipes but I don't know if she's got the acting chops.

But, hey, think of all the money they'll save on makeup.

Zing!
posted by jabberjaw at 12:26 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


On Vimeo.
posted by zarq at 12:26 PM on February 10, 2011


Personally, I would hope that if they do make a movie of the musical, that it would be animated. I could see the live action being a horrible schlock-fest on par with that horrible Alice In Wonderland. Beautiful to look at, but utterly soulless. Moving the story into animation would allow for "special effects" to happen all the time without it feeling false. And there's a long history of animated musicals being huge successes.

The real pitfall of filming a live-action musical in 3D is the quickcut. It works okay for 2D movies, even if it is really all about cheating and hiding incapable dancers and out-of-synch choreography and building a false sense of excitement into musical numbers. (I much prefer the old-style lengthy take of production numbers, but who wants to refilm the same song 15 times until you get the perfect 5 minute shot? Oh that's right, real professionals.)

Anyway, the quickcut... it's going to kill this movie if it's in 3D. The human eye cannot refocus itself that many times in a minute without getting exhausted, and unless the plane of focus and the point on the screen which holds that plane of focus is very carefully planned during all those cuts, people simply won't go to see the film. There are enough complaints of 3D causing headaches as it is.
posted by hippybear at 12:30 PM on February 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


I thought Ebert was overstating his case that the upsell in ticket prices for 3D is being used to justify the production of gimicky B-movies.

Then I saw that the summer lineup includes Kung Fu Catholics vs. Vampires and Cowboys vs. Aliens, both of which support his point quite well.


I'm not clear. Is this a complaint?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:30 PM on February 10, 2011


The human eye cannot refocus itself that many times in a minute without getting exhausted,

A myth.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:31 PM on February 10, 2011


Then I saw that the summer lineup includes Kung Fu Catholics vs. Vampires and Cowboys vs. Aliens, both of which support his point quite well.

Why did you taunt us with Kung Fu Catholics vs. Vampires? That was just mean.
posted by ferociouskitty at 12:39 PM on February 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hrm. That's really not what I'm talking about. I'm talking specifically about quickcutting in film editing, and the toll that takes on the eye in 3D movies.

It's not like real life, where your eye and brain are working together when you refocus. In a 3D movie, it's being forced upon you with no warning and often with little rhyme or reason. And in movie musicals, as they are edited these days, these cuts come MUCH faster than in a lot of other kinds of movie sequences.

I'm not talking about evolution or anything. I'm just talking about the complete visual confusion that will occur if this movie is made using the style of editing used in, say, the movie version of Chicago.

I don't dislike 3D movies. I just haven't really seen many which are filmed in a way which makes sense for the medium. All the filmmakers are still stuck doing things which they learned for 2D movies, and it isn't necessarily true that you can use those same tricks in 3D and have the movie be watchable.

Case in point: Step Out 3D. Some of the sequences in that film are such a mess of quickcut focal depths that unless you're sitting in the very back row of the theater, it's unwatchable.
posted by hippybear at 12:42 PM on February 10, 2011


. I'm just talking about the complete visual confusion that will occur if this movie is made using the style of editing used in, say, the movie version of Chicago.

I'm curious to hear if there is anything backing this up. Because I've never had any trouble with 3D, and it sound suspiciously like Emperor Joseph II telling Mozart that there are only so many notes the human ear can hear.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:44 PM on February 10, 2011


Sorry, I meant Step Up 3D.
posted by hippybear at 12:45 PM on February 10, 2011


I didn't see anything particularly compelling in that story board, it looks exactly like every other Disney cartoon. I wish they'd break out of the Disney look every once in a while, it's getting stale.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:45 PM on February 10, 2011


I don't have any problems with 3D, personally. There aren't many movies that I want to pay the extra money to see in 3D because I know it's not going to enhance the storytelling much. And I've seen enough bad 3D movies to know that I should pick and choose which are worth more money.

Example of 3D done right -- U23D. That movie is awesome with how it uses the 3rd dimension.
posted by hippybear at 12:46 PM on February 10, 2011


Moving the story into animation would allow for "special effects" to happen all the time without it feeling false.

It would also allow you to use Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth (who originated the roles in the musical on Broadway); they'd be too old for a live-action feature.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:47 PM on February 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm curious to hear if there is anything backing this up. Because I've never had any trouble with 3D, and it sound suspiciously like Emperor Joseph II telling Mozart that there are only so many notes the human ear can hear.

There is only one way to settle this argument... Quick, someone convert Moulin Rouge to 3D.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:47 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Frankly, I'm much more interested in the possible 8-part television mini-series

I read that as the possible 8-bit television miniseries and got unreasonably excited.
posted by saturday_morning at 12:48 PM on February 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


Quick, someone convert Moulin Rouge to 3D.

Or don't do it quick. Take your time with it, and do it right. There aren't many of those 3D conversion rush jobs that turn out well. (Example: Clash Of The Titans) But there are some which are exquisite. The 3D conversion of A Nightmare Before Christmas is stunning. You can actually look inside Jack Skellington's mouth while he's talking, etc.
posted by hippybear at 12:52 PM on February 10, 2011


I've bitched about this before, but seeing 3-D movies will aways be a chore until theaters and/or RealD realize one-size-fits-all glasses are anything but. I wear prescription glasses. I don't wear contacts. The 3-D glasses on top of my glasses is just a horrifying mess.

U23D was awesome. The only other 3D movie that I feel was enhanced at all was My Bloody Valentine, and that's just because blood and guts flying at you is schlocky fun.
posted by kmz at 12:58 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


hippybear: The storyboard is still available at the second link in the FPP.

Here's a Direct link to the Vimeo video, if the embedded version doesn't work for you.

posted by filthy light thief at 1:23 PM on February 10, 2011


I would also like a flat, animated Wicked, please.

Also, Kung Fu Catholics vs. Vampires. Script by Neil Gaiman, directed by Stephen Chow, starring Tony Jaa, with fight choreography by Jackie Chan. Is that so much to ask?
posted by Zed at 1:51 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh. now I get it.
posted by Zed at 1:59 PM on February 10, 2011


I could be wrong, but wouldn't an animated musical have a lot more reach than a live action movie? Whole families could go to see it, and kids might watch the DVD (or Blu-ray) over and over, until they'd memorized all the songs for the rest of their lives. It just seems like live action musicals don't last that long these days.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:14 PM on February 10, 2011


I like 3d movies.

*ducks*
posted by dobie at 2:24 PM on February 10, 2011


Kung Fu Catholics, demonstrating all the gimick shots that are already cliches in 2D, although it certainly deserves points for production design lifted from Heavy Metal. Rather like Tron, we've probably seen the best parts in the trailer.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:38 PM on February 10, 2011



There is only one way to settle this argument... Quick, someone convert Moulin Rouge to 3D.


I'll be needing the dramamine for that one.
posted by thivaia at 2:39 PM on February 10, 2011


I read that as the possible 8-bit television miniseries and got unreasonably excited.

Don't get excited, Code Monkeys was fucking terrible.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:43 PM on February 10, 2011


I dunno. I think the musical would work either live action or animated. Although I think I'd prefer it live. (The stage version worked that way, after all.)

However:

I have a hard time seeing Lea Michele as Elphaba. She's got the pipes but I don't know if she's got the acting chops.

I have a hard time seeing her as Elphaba too but for opposite reasons - I think she totally has the acting chops, but I think her voice is a little too high and thin. I feel like she lacks some of the lower notes and power that Idina Menzel or Stephanie Block have had in the role.
posted by dnash at 2:46 PM on February 10, 2011


I think 3D can be a nice enhancement, when it's done well. Pixar does it better than pretty much anyone... they don't go for any special 3D effects, they just make their movie, and then render it for both eyes. Voila, depth, no bullshit. I prefer a subtle 3D movie to a regular flat screen, myself.
posted by Malor at 2:58 PM on February 10, 2011


I could be wrong, but wouldn't an animated musical have a lot more reach than a live action movie? Whole families could go to see it, and kids might watch the DVD (or Blu-ray) over and over, until they'd memorized all the songs for the rest of their lives. It just seems like live action musicals don't last that long these days.

Live-action adaptations of hit musicals lately have had reasonably good performance with relatively low production costs. Mamma Mia made $500 million worldwide with a $60 million budget. Hairspray made $200 million on a $75 million budget. Tangled's made $500 million so far, but burned $250 million in production.

Has Disney done an animated musical in recent years?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:15 PM on February 10, 2011


Mamma Mia made $500 million worldwide

This makes me weep tears of despair. I mean, it's probably a great musical, but wow. I've tried 4 times to get through that movie, and haven't made it yet. And I've been an ABBA fan since I was 8.
posted by hippybear at 3:21 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Plus, it's not like making a movie 3D doesn't mean it can't be watched in 2D either in the theater or at home.

My eyesight is terrible, and I'd much rather see a movie in 2D in a theatre. But if it's been released in 3D, my only opportunity to see it in 2D is at home. Finding a theatre that plays 3D releases in 2D can be impossible, even in major markets like mine.

So I've missed a lot of movies over the last couple of years.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:24 PM on February 10, 2011


Finding a theatre that plays 3D releases in 2D can be impossible, even in major markets like mine.

Wow, seriously? I can't think of a single 3D release which hasn't been playing, at the exact same time, in 2D theaters, often in the same theater metroplex. And I live in Spokane, WA. Hardly one of the huge markets overall.

The only 3D movie I can think of that I know about which had an exclusively 3D release was U23D.
posted by hippybear at 3:45 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Live-action adaptations of hit musicals lately have had reasonably good performance with relatively low production costs. Mamma Mia made $500 million worldwide with a $60 million budget. Hairspray made $200 million on a $75 million budget. Tangled's made $500 million so far, but burned $250 million in production."

Ah, I didn't know that. So there is a pretty strong case to do a live Tangled.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:46 PM on February 10, 2011


Has Disney done an animated musical in recent years?

Have they done an non-musical animated film in recent years? Tangled and the Princess and the Frog are musicals.
posted by Zed at 4:26 PM on February 10, 2011


to be fair, Kung Fu Anglicans has already been done...
posted by ennui.bz at 5:59 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, we usually get 2D releases right alongside the 3D releases in Seattle, as well. A lot of multiplexes here only have one 3D theater (the largest one, at our local multiplex), so they run the 2D version in at least one other auditorium. At a discount.
posted by lhauser at 7:56 PM on February 10, 2011


I can't see 3D and trying to watch the double image gives me a headache (as does trying to keep one eye closed. I'm going to have to get a pair of these glasses that convert 3D to 2D.
posted by eviltwin at 8:10 PM on February 10, 2011


There certainly is a case for going animated for Wicked (smaller SFX budget, possibility of using original cast as voice actors, etc), but it risks being shoved into the "kid's movie" category. Lord knows if somewhere like Disney got ahold of it, Elphaba would be given a comical talking bat for a sidekick.
posted by Gordafarin at 5:39 AM on February 11, 2011


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