McKenzie Crook as Gareth and
Ricky Gervais (with guitar) as David Brent
Tim finally got around to showing me the BBC faux documentary The Office, which he had been intending to for some time. Apparently there was an attempt to adapt this show for American television and I can only imagine how ludicrous it must have been. For one thing, the main theme of the show is that the people in the titular office are trapped in their social and occupational categories. This is an idea that American television refuses to confront as it runs counter to how the entertainment industry in this country works (soothe social unrest with images of a more glamorous life than the viewer's and by planting consumer culture desires which are translated into "needs" that would be a badge of status in said viewer's mind). For another, there would have to be an attempt to soften the pathetic nature of the characters. Gervais plays David Brent, the boss who wants to be everybody's friend. Over the course of the series, one realizes that it's not that he wants to be anybody's friend, its that he is unable to face the reality of his own limitations. MacKenzie Crook plays Gareth, who is that sycophant at work that everybody hates. Neither of them are ever made cuddly or acceptable, which would have to happen in order for the show to play on American TV.
The show also stars Martin Freeman and Lucy Davis, who both bring a welcome human touch, and the ups and downs (mostly downs) of their relationship to one another is a major attraction of the show. Freeman has been tapped to play Arthur Dent in the new movie version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, further confirming that if the movie sucks, it will be because this is not material ideally suited for a visual medium (I still believe its funniest incarnation to be the original radio series) and not because of the effort put into it. Freeman is an ideal Arthur Dent.
Lucy Davis and Martin Freeman as Dawn and Tim
Apparently, there's been some rustling about of discontent surrounding the casting of Mos Def as Ford Prefect. This is from what Dave calls the "Keep Betelgeuse White" faction, but Mos Def will make a great Ford, in my opinion. He already proven his dramatic chops as far as I'm concerned with his dignified performance in Something the Lord Made, and I think that the role of Ford is ripe for some re-interpretation.
suitboyskin and I have been doing some drastic re-writing of Ecology, based upon people's reactions to the second draft and our own revisiting of the material. We've been focusing the script on the main characters and delving deeper into them. This has the effect of changing some of the character dynamics, and therefore it means that changing one scene will have a ripple effect throughout the screenplay. It's a challenge, although this time it is less about trying to get the story together as it is about preserving what we like and jettisoning that which we don't, and can't use.*
This is not as hard a task as it originally seemed when suitboyskin and I began it. To be frank, I was actually afraid of the process by which the revision would be taking place, but that synchronicity that grew while originally putting the film together is still in effect, and I'm very pleased with the results. I expect the third draft of this screenplay to be much better than the second.
The biggest casualty of this stage, however, is the Ecology mix I put together a few months ago. While some of the tracks still apply to this new version we're putting together, some of the others are occupying a gray area, and some are just completely tonally wrong. Interestingly, I had included Nirvana's "You Know You're Right" in the first ever mix I made for this project, and while I knew that we would never be able to afford to license it, it remained on the two subsequent mixes I made simply for the mood that it creates (for those wondering who have read the script, it was intended for the scene in which Kari confronts Rollie at his dorm halfway through the film). I actually had a structure in mind for how the images would interact with the music, but that changed as the scene itself changed. Interestingly, that scene has now become more like what I originally thought it would be like, making "You Know You're Right" more appropriate for the scene than it was before, but, of course, it is an impossible dream.
* Apologies to fans of Rollie's dad, but it looks like he may not make the third draft.