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Thread: MOTU Movie – a ‘Troubled Project.’

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    MOTU Movie – a ‘Troubled Project.’

    Since people seem to want to know, I thought that I’d share with you all some second-hand information I had from a buddy who’s with a subsidiary of Sony, and attached to this project. I stress that this is rumor and hearsay, not hard fact – I can only state as factual my own miniscule part in it – but it’s certainly pretty interesting.

    I work for a production subsidiary of the corporation that held the rights to this project for a while. One of many, as it turns out. I was thrilled to be working on a MOTU movie – been a fan from a kid upwards. Trouble was that right from the start the ‘fit’ wasn’t right; there was a whole lot of arguing over direction (and director) and script – the whole shebang. Changes kept being sent down from up on high, most of them self-contradictory, and there was talk of trouble at the top – and ongoing friction with Mattel ‘Creative.’ We plugged on, but as time went by more and more of the team got seconded elsewhere onto other projects and it became clear that the impetus was spent; the heart had gone out of it. I wasn’t surprised when we were told that it was being shifted to another company and we’d have no more input – but I was kind of sorry.

    One of my former workmates on the same team at an earlier company is now with this Sony subsid. – and working on MOTU. We spoke last weekend – and he reports that the exact same thing is happening over. Sounded pretty ****** about it. Seems the new man at the helm wants some pretty sweeping changes to the direction, plot, script and the rest of it. Trouble is that he’s now at odds with Mattel Creative (I know, I know… how d’you spell oxymoron??) who have their own vision of how they want it to be. Yeah – I remember that one. Result: a big stall while they try to find common ground. But, so far, he says, it’s not happening and tempers are getting frayed. It sure sounds as if history is repeating itself.

    I asked him about the Barbie movie. His reply was short, “Barbie’s a cert – and some prod. staff are already being redeployed. They reckon the franchise will run and run.”

    It’s no real wonder that the MOTU movie now has an industry-wide name as a ‘Troubled Project.’ Guess you don’t need me to tell you what THAT means. Now, I’m not saying that it won’t happen for definite – and I’ll say over again that this is just scuttlebutt, so put your own value on it.
    Speaking personally, I’m not all that hopeful – but I could still be wrong. And I’d like to be in spite of all.

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    Heroic Warrior Krueger's Avatar
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    You make mention of a new man at the helm, is it Jeff Wadlow as of now? Also, can you elaborate any further? Anything particular about the proposed story changes?

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    Loco Motu Vato ehenyo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. Good thing is that it seems like a lot of people are passionate about this... Except they can't agree on a direction. Hopefully the end result isn't that of a Supes film that tries to make everyone happy, but it instead upsets a lot of others.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehenyo View Post
    Thanks for the info. Good thing is that it seems like a lot of people are passionate about this... Except they can't agree on a direction. Hopefully the end result isn't that of a Supes film that tries to make everyone happy, but it instead upsets a lot of others.
    Yeah, no lack of passion, that's for sure. What's lacking is agreement, and I have to say that the business of Mattel Creative not being very flexible sounds kinda familiar......

    Can't guess how it'll end up - or if it even gets made at all. It's sure gone through a whole heap of iterations by now! I agree that the 'all things to all' approach doesn't often work out well - but the ongoing tussles over creative control and direction that I'm hearing of don't bode well.

    I do wonder what'll come of it all - or not.

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    Film-making by committee always results in C and D grade movies. Too bad.
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    Heroic Warrior Krueger's Avatar
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    So Mattel is not willing to compromise, by the looks of it. I guess that explains why the script, under Sony, has already gone through five writers (including Jeff Wadlow). However, Sony has definitely been trying longer than anyone else.

    I know, I know, Bayformers and all that guff, but I think Mattel really need to take a leaf out of Hasbro’s book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lich Leech View Post
    Film-making by committee always results in C and D grade movies. Too bad.
    Well, Issigonis - who knew a thing or two about design - once said that a camel was a racehorse designed by a committee......

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krueger View Post
    So Mattel is not willing to compromise, by the looks of it. I guess that explains why the script, under Sony, has already gone through five writers (including Jeff Wadlow). However, Sony has definitely been trying longer than anyone else.

    I know, I know, Bayformers and all that guff, but I think Mattel really need to take a leaf out of Hasbro’s book.

    It sure looks that way - and they've got 'form' in holding out for their own viewpoint on this - that was chunk of the problem when we were working on it. But I don't know what particular aspects are being debated over - and what's causing the hold-up specifically.

    Usually, if a studio has faith in its choice of director he tends to get most of his way (but not all - hence the design by committee comment.) But a franchise can always be a problem - competing visions don't tend to gel much. Can't say I was impressed by what Mattel wanted us to use. But it may be a different matter this time, four more years on.

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    Heroic Warrior Eternian-King Paul's Avatar
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    I, am sure a movie can be made.
    It would just take more money than I have in my pocket.

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    Do you know what the changes the new director wants to bring in are? And how thats causing conflict with Mattel? It would be real interesting to find that out.

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    So Barbie's 'a cert' and MOTU isn't - and already has production staff being redeployed? And Sony and Mattel are engaged in argument about the overall direction, just like before?

    Doesn't sound too good, does it? But perhaps not altogether surprising, either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krueger View Post
    So Mattel is not willing to compromise, by the looks of it. I guess that explains why the script, under Sony, has already gone through five writers (including Jeff Wadlow). However, Sony has definitely been trying longer than anyone else.

    I know, I know, Bayformers and all that guff, but I think Mattel really need to take a leaf out of Hasbro’s book.
    Sounds likely, doesn't it? That 's a heck of a lot of rewrites. But I'm not sure what you mean by 'taking a leaf out of Hasbro's book'. Did Hasbro agree to a compromise with their franchise property?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Projector View Post
    Well, Issigonis - who knew a thing or two about design - once said that a camel was a racehorse designed by a committee......

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    It sure looks that way - and they've got 'form' in holding out for their own viewpoint on this - that was chunk of the problem when we were working on it. But I don't know what particular aspects are being debated over - and what's causing the hold-up specifically.

    Usually, if a studio has faith in its choice of director he tends to get most of his way (but not all - hence the design by committee comment.) But a franchise can always be a problem - competing visions don't tend to gel much. Can't say I was impressed by what Mattel wanted us to use. But it may be a different matter this time, four more years on.
    So you think that Mattel are the obstacle to progress here - again?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Projector View Post
    Seems the new man at the helm wants some pretty sweeping changes to the direction, plot, script and the rest of it. Trouble is that he’s now at odds with Mattel Creative (I know, I know… how d’you spell oxymoron??) who have their own vision of how they want it to be. Yeah – I remember that one. Result: a big stall while they try to find common ground. But, so far, he says, it’s not happening and tempers are getting frayed. It sure sounds as if history is repeating itself.
    This 'new man at the helm'. I presume that you mean Wadlow? Or is there yet another director in the offing?

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    Master of Physics VZX's Avatar
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    Projector:

    Can you give any hints as to what "Mattel Creative" wanted exactly? If you are off the project, you should be ok with sharing, right?

    My guess is that Mattel wanted a gritty, dark, realistic version of the Filmation cartoon, but kept as PG or a mild PG-13.
    "Everything comes to he who waits."

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    Heroic Warrior Orko's Magic Hat's Avatar
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    What's Devon Franklin said on this? Has anyone heard anything on FB or Twitter?
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    Loco Motu Vato ehenyo's Avatar
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    Well, I would give credit to Mattel. They let go of the reigns before... And we got the '87 MOTU movie and NA He-Man. Outside if Hektor, Mattel has a good sense of what works in MOTU.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tigra View Post
    Do you know what the changes the new director wants to bring in are? And how thats causing conflict with Mattel? It would be real interesting to find that out.
    Not with any degree of certainty, no. But, given past experience of the argument, I can sure hazard a guess. I doubt they've changed their tune much at Mattel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forester View Post
    So Barbie's 'a cert' and MOTU isn't - and already has production staff being redeployed? And Sony and Mattel are engaged in argument about the overall direction, just like before?

    Doesn't sound too good, does it? But perhaps not altogether surprising, either.

    Like I said; history tends to repeat itself.
    But, to be fair, I can't say that I know the exact details of the debate - only that rumor suggests that there's yet another one going on.

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    Heroic Warrior Krueger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz View Post
    But I'm not sure what you mean by 'taking a leaf out of Hasbro's book'. Did Hasbro agree to a compromise with their franchise property?
    I’m almost positive that if MOTU was a Hasbro-owned brand we probably would have a trilogy by now. They would have seen the potential and capitalised on it straight away, striking whilst the iron was still at boiling point. They clearly know how to work with Hollywood studios, whereas Mattel clearly don’t. The studios want their own thing, and the toy company obviously want theirs, too. Mattel seem to want everything. It’s alright for some to congratulate Mattel for “sticking to their guns”, but if anything it just shows a lack of vision and foresight on their part, IMO. They are things that Hasbro doesn’t seem to lack at all. It is basically what I’ve thought for years (ten years now, since Fox were the first to develop a film): the main obstacle here, believe it or not, seems to be Mattel. Remarkable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forester View Post
    This 'new man at the helm'. I presume that you mean Wadlow? Or is there yet another director in the offing?
    I was deliberately not naming names - given that this is all rumor and conjecture. But let's say that I'm not aware of anyone else being appointed to fill that role. And at the moment he's meant to be redrafting the screenplay since there's nothing as yet to direct.

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    Loco Motu Vato ehenyo's Avatar
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    Yes, but we could have also ended up with Masters of the Bayuniverse.
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    Heroic Warrior Krueger's Avatar
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    If Jeff Wadlow delivers revisions that Mattel and Sony are satisfied with do you think he will get the directing job? I just find it odd that they would hire a known writer and director to rewrite the screenplay, if they weren't planning on letting him direct it down the line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krueger View Post
    If Jeff Wadlow delivers revisions that Mattel and Sony are satisfied with do you think he will get the directing job? I just find it odd that they would hire a known writer and director to rewrite the screenplay, if they weren't planning on letting him direct it down the line.
    Well, that's a very interesting thought, isn't it? He's known as a writer and director, just like you say - and the dit-on seems to be that he's up for it. And, of course, if these rumors of clashes are well-founded, then it would make sense that his vision for the movie is causing friction with that of the owners of the franchise, especially if he's to direct.

    BUT: whether the guy can deliver a new draft that satisfies both the studio and the toymaker - well - just like Hamlet says; 'that is the question.'

    Short answer: don't know. In some ways I hope so (I'd like a MOTU movie made) Other ways I'm wary of too much compromise and its effect on the outcome (racehorses designed by committees....)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Projector View Post
    Not with any degree of certainty, no. But, given past experience of the argument, I can sure hazard a guess. I doubt they've changed their tune much at Mattel.




    So what was it they wanted the movie to be when you guys were handling it?

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    Loco Motu Vato ehenyo's Avatar
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    Wadlow seems enthused and influenced by pre-200x He-Man.img20140507_193140.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehenyo View Post
    Wadlow seems enthused and influenced by pre-200x He-Man.img20140507_193140.jpg

    And that may well be why he's said to be falling out with Mattel.......

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    Could it be that the clash is caused by Wadlow wanting to change things back towards a more PG-13 friendly vision, while Mattel want something darker and more overtly 'adult' in tone? That's their general thrust with what they're producing and licencing at present, as if trying to cover over the more innocent MOTU of the past.

    Might that be it?

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