29 October 2003

What I'm reading this week: Shoot Out by Peter Bart and Peter Gruber, a juicy look behind the scenes at the modern movie industry. One of the highlights is their discussion of the movie Beyond Borders, which was originally conceived as a film about a daring volunteer doctor, written and directed by Oliver Stone and starring Kevin Costner, with Catherine Zeta-Jones (or possibly Julia Roberts) as the hero's love interest (in what was then a minor subplot). Unfortunately, Zeta-Jones passed, Costner, Stone, and Roberts dropped out, Gwyneth Paltrow and Meg Ryan took too long to decide, and so the studio was left with Angelina Jolie and no male star.

As a result, Beyond Borders was transformed from a politically-charged adventure movie about a heroic doctor (a movie that Oliver Stone certainly could have made interesting, or even phenomenal) to a love story about a woman who falls in love with the aforementioned heroic doctor. Obviously, nobody would want to see the latter movie, and nobody did: Beyond Borders opened last weeked with a pathetic $2 million dollars, not even enough to make the top ten. All in all, it's an interesting story, especially if you've ever seen the poster for a new movie and wondered, "Why did they think that anybody would want to see that?"

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