Friday, November 13, 2009

Martin Campbell's Edge of Darkness victim of studio tinkering?

Apparently not even Martin Campbell is safe from hands-on executives, even at Warner Bros. News broke last month that composer Howard Shore was replacing John Corigliano's original score to Martin Campbell's Heart of Darkness (itself a remake of Campbell's acclaimed 1985 BBC miniseries). Corigliano spoke out soon after, and the news is not good.

"They had a very different idea of what the film should be. With Mel Gibson starring, they wanted it to be more of an action film. So they filmed more violent scenes, and wanted a score to match the macho image they wanted to create for their star."

As a major Martin Campbell fan, this is very disappointing news. Couple this with Danny Elfman's old-school horror score being replaced on The Wolfman (and accompanying rumors of Universal wanting a more teen-friendly horror film), and it looks like my most anticipated 2010 films may be victims of death by studio micromanaging. Considering Campbell revived Zorro and Bond twice, you'd think he'd get some leeway provided he kept the budget in line. Doubly odd since Warner Bros. usually lets auteurs have their way for better or worse (Speed Racer, Where the Wild Things Are, Watchmen, etc). This being a Warner picture leaves me to wonder if Mel Gibson isn't panicking over the unconventional nature of his latest hard-boiled crime drama, just as he demanded and eventually got a more commercial audience-friendly cut of Brian Helgeland's Payback. This news, combined with the somewhat generic poster and trailer has me more than a bit worried for my favorite action director's followup to his most successful film. We'll see...

Scott Mendelson

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