Germans with moustaches? Box office poison

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The Independent Online

"Thomas Schuhly, working with Oliver Stone and another German producer, Moritz Borman, is managing to bring his movie Alexander to the screen before competing Alexander the Great projects from an army of screen conquerors: Steven Spielberg, Dino De Laurentiis, Martin Scorsese and Baz Luhrmann."

"Thomas Schuhly, working with Oliver Stone and another German producer, Moritz Borman, is managing to bring his movie Alexander to the screen before competing Alexander the Great projects from an army of screen conquerors: Steven Spielberg, Dino De Laurentiis, Martin Scorsese and Baz Luhrmann."

(The New York Times)

The scene is the boardroom of the mighty Megamyth Movie Corporation. The boss is holding an emergency meeting with underlings, writers and other people who are going to get fired soon.

Boss: I called you here today because we are in an Alexander-the-Great crisis. By which I mean, how come everyone else has got Alexander projects on the go and we haven't?

Underling: He's right. How come?

Writer: I hear that even Michael Moore has got one on the go.

Boss: You're kidding!

Writer: He's calling it Fahrenheit 335 BC.

Boss: What's his angle?

Writer: He aims to prove that all these lands that Alexander conquered, he did so illegally, and that he had secret business dealings with his so-called enemy, the Persian Emperor.

Boss: You're kidding!

Writer: I'm kidding.

Boss: Writers... Still, it's too late to get cracking on an Alexander the Great film now. We must look ahead.

Underling: He's right. We must look ahead.

Boss: Anyone got any ideas?

Writer: Well, I'm only a writer, but I have an idea.

Boss: Shoot.

Writer: Find someone else great.

Boss: I'm not with you.

Writer: Everyone's doing Alexander the Great. But there are lots of other great people. Let's find someone great that nobody's doing.

Boss: That's a good idea. So, who else is great?

Writer: Well, off-hand I can think of Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Frederick the Great...

Boss: Where are all these guys from?

Writer: Russia and Germany.

Boss: Russians? Germans? Box office poison.

A director: And another thing - if they're Russians and Germans, we can't have battles in the desert, and you know that battles in the desert are always best.

Boss: Why's that?

Director: Continuity. One bit of sand looks the same as another bit of sand.

Boss: Right. Got any great people who lived near sand?

Writer: Suleiman the Magnificent?

Boss: Why was he magnificent and not great?

Writer: I don't know. He was a Muslim who nearly conquered Europe. And I think he had a great moustache.

Boss: No moustaches. Box office poison.

Underling: What about Hereward the Great? I remember reading about him at school.

Writer: He wasn't the great. He was the Wake. Hereward the Wake.

Boss: What in hell is a Wake?

Writer: I don't know.

Director: Hey - haven't we forgotten the greatest great of all? Charlemagne!

Boss: Charlemagne the Great?

Director: No - "magne" means "great" already. It comes from Latin magnus. I think he was the French emperor who pushed the Muslims out of Europe.

Boss: Hey, I've got it! Why don't we have a story of Charlemagne fighting against Suleiman the Magnificent! The Christian champ against the Muslim champ!

Writer: Because they lived seven hundred years apart.

Boss: You're a writer. It's your job to fix things like that...

Etc etc etc. Makes you glad you're not working in the film industry, doesn't it?

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