Friday, August 18, 2006

That movie

TPO reached 1995 and the Judge Dredd film today. Happily, I can reveal that I recently conducted an email interview with Danny Cannon, director of the movie and now a producer, director and writer for the TV series CSI. Today's extract features an extract from that exclusive interivew, probably the first time Cannon has talked about the Dredd movie in at least a decade...
More writers and directors came and went in the early 1990s. Finding someone who could capture the future lawman’s essence was problematic, as scribes were either too reverential or dismissed Dredd as a fascist bully. Trying to decide which Dredd story to tell from the character’s long history was another issue. Pressman preferred the supernatural foe Judge Death, but Lippincott and Nicoletti felt it would be impossible to make the alien superfiend work on screen with technology available at the time. Matters were complicated further in 1992 when an action movie mega-star got interested in 2000 AD’s anti-hero.

‘Arnold Schwarzenegger came to us, out of blue, and told us he wanted to be Judge Dredd,’ Pressman told Killick. This unintentionally created a contractual squabble with another producer that stalled progress for nine months. Schwarzenegger ultimately chose to star in The Last Action Hero instead, but his brief interest did raise the profile of the Dredd project. Even more important was a decision to hire Terminator 2 co-writer William Wisher to write a draft of Dredd. ‘Once we had that script it was like night and day,’ Pressman said. ‘Suddenly there were lots of possibilities.’ It was Wisher who opted to give Dredd an origin story, basing it upon The Return of Rico one-off by Mills and McMahon first published fifteen years earlier in Prog 30. The Wisher screenplay attracted executive producer Andy Vajna, who drew up a partnership deal and swiftly got the movie into preproduction. He showed the script to Sylvester Stallone, who also committed himself to the project. In 1993 Stallone was still a box office superstar around the world, although his appeal had been waning in the US. Now the project needed was a director with the passion and persistence to bring the elements together.

Enter Danny Cannon, a young British filmmaker who had grown up reading 2000 AD. ‘I liked Flesh a lot,’ he recalls. ‘ABC Warriors, Future Shocks, Strontium Dog and Nemesis, these were the stories I looked forward to reading – and Dredd, of course. Cam Kennedy, Ron Smith and Dave Gibbons were super talents. I used to send a lot of illustrations to 2000 AD when I was a teenager.’ One of these appeared in Prog 534, published in August 1987. Cannon had sent in his concept for a Dredd movie poster. The image so impressed the editorial team they devoted a whole page to it and launched a competition for other readers to design a Dredd film poster. Cannon’s effort revealed a fondness for the 1982 science fiction classic Blade Runner. He suggested Ridley Scott should direct the Dredd movie, with Harrison Ford as the future lawman and Daryl Hannah appearing as Psi Judge Cassandra Anderson. Twenty years on, Cannon views his teenage effort with wryness. ‘I think I used a Bic ballpoint pen. It’s unfortunate the illustration that got published looked like such a rush job on bad paper.’

Target workcount: 120,000. Current wordcount: 86,910.


Post a Comment

<< Home