Independent filmmakers dipping their toes and/or being lured by the bigger budgets and better catering tables of studio productions is nothing new. But if there is any director out there who we could never see navigating those waters (without seriously compromising their vision) would be Todd Solodnz, but it seems the bait was dangled at one point.
Speaking about his career at the American Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland, Solondz made quite an interesting revelation. He was once called to talk to Drew Barrymore about “Charlie’s Angels.” This would have been right around the time the director was still riding high off the heat of “Happiness” but he candidly admits his idea would never have worked. “My idea would make $300,000 — they made $300 million,” he said. “My idea would not be popular but it would be fun to play with ‘Charlie’s Angels.’ ”
We would have loved to be a fly on the wall of that conversation and while it’s probably for the best things likely didn’t develop further than that (and we can’t imagine studio gatekeepers rolling with whatever perverse take he had in mind for the franchise), the idea of Solodnz and Bill Murray working on the same movie is one we’ll have to leave for our imagination. Anyway, as things panned out McG went on to direct the movie while Solondz moved on to “Storytelling.” But taking stock of his career now, Solondz candidly admits he has no idea how he can keep doing this.
“All of my movies, they make less and less money. I’m down at the very bottom. It’s a very consistent trajectory, my career. ‘Happiness’ made half the money of ‘Welcome To The Dollhouse‘ and then ‘Storytelling’ made half the money of ‘Happiness’…[For ‘Dark Horse‘], I thought, ‘What can I make for very little money,’ and I thought of boy meets girl. And it expanded from there,” he explained to the audience at the festival, also stressing that for any budding moviemakers he is “not a role model.”
As for “Dark Horse,” which hit Venice and Toronto this year, it looks like it will unfortunately follow the Solondz model of earning less money than its predecessor “Life During Wartime.” The movie is still without distribution. [ScreenDaily]