The Case For Henry Cavill Being The Next ‘James Bond’

by Shelt Garner

I’m sure Eon Productions is scanning the Web for posts like this, so let me throw my 2 cents in — Henry Cavill should be James Bond.

I’m well aware that Tom Hardy has allegedly been chosen for the role, but that’s just a rumor at this point. He’s a great pick, but when I think of the modern James Bond, I think of Cavill.

But there are a few obvious problems with Cavill. One, he’s a little too young. Bond is a bit older and grizzled. Also, he doesn’t have the hyper-masculine looks of Hardy, which seems to be what the producers of the modern Bond films are looking for.

And, yet, given Cavill’s stand-out role in Mission: Impossible — Fallout, I think he’s perfect. He’s a big guy and if the producers of the modern Bond films continue to have Christopher Nolan envy, then I think he’s just the guy for the role.

Movie Pitch: Margot Robbie Should Produce A Reboot Of ‘Picnic At Hanging Rock’ Staring Millie Bobby Brown

by Shelt Garner

Hollywood is completely devoid of new ideas. Why not at least reboot interesting concepts instead of, say, “Car 54, Where Are You?” Accordingly, one of the best Australian movies of the last 50 years is “Picnic At Hanging Rock.” It has a mysterious, ethereal quality to it. Given what it deals with — the mysterious disappearance of a bunch of young Commonwealth girls, it seems a perfect fit for Margot Robbie to do something with in conjunction with Millie Bobby Brown.

It would be a perfect chance for Miss Brown, Ms. Robbie and a bunch of other Commonwealth actors to gnaw on the scenery for about two hours. It’s a much beloved movie Down Under and so it seems a logical choice for Ms. Robbie.

But what do I know.

A Heads Up To Hollywood — You Never Can Tell…..

by Shelt Garner

I’m working on the assumption that Trump is going to “win” the 2020 Election. The novel I’m working on right now is set in the “before times,” before the pandemic, but it’s meant to be (in a sense) an allegorical thriller about the Trump Era.

As such, while I’m sure plenty, PLENTY of other people are doing exactly the same type of thing I’m doing — there’s a decent chance that when I try to query my novel(s) I’m going to hit the zeitgeist just right because a lot of liberal (readers) are going to be fucking FURIOUS that Trump is consolidating power and turning us into nothing more than an American interpretation of Putin’s Russia.

Yeah, I’m being cocky. And maybe rather delusional.

But given the absolute certainty that Trump is going to lie, cheat and steal to win the 2020 Election, when I finally wrap up this novel early 2021, it’s at least possible it might strike the zeitgeist in just the right way to be a huge success.

Or not.

We may just have a civil war and so, lulz.

#Novel First Draft Deadline: Election Day

by Shelt Garner

Things are going reasonably well with the first draft of the novel right now. My goal is to finish a first draft by Election Day. This is so encase all hell breaks loose, at least I’ll have a finished first draft under my belt.

I really need to map out, in real terms, how may chapters I’m going to finish each week. If I don’t do that, I could simply continue my current practice of moving in a general direction without any hard set metrics to gauge my progress on.

But I definitely am moving forward now. Because of the way I’m developing and writing, I honestly don’t know my word count right now. In a way, however, that’s rather liberating. This is just a first draft and the point is to get something, anything, down so I can turn around and rewrite the whole thing with a far clearer eye as to what the story’s strengths and weaknesses are.

I continue to have a linger uneasy as to what the world will look like when I try to query it. My fear is that I’m writing something that, in hindsight, will be like writing a mystery thriller set in late 1930s America. By 1942, of course, it will be seen as rather quaint.

I think that’s more about a general sense of uneasy about the nation’s future, however. It’s far more likely that Trump is going to “win” and continue to consolidate power in fits and starts. That should give me something of a window of opportunity to finish this first book in the series and try to sell it.

At least, that’s the dream right now.

One issue that I continue to struggle with is the actual investigation show in teh story. I’m not exactly the world’s greatest investigative journalist and so it’s a real struggle to think about how my characters might do such a thing. But I’ve made great strides in just the last few days, so there’s hope I can figure something, anything out on that front.

If anything, I now know I need to leave a lot more clues in the first act so I can draw upon them in the first part of the second act.

You can’t edit a blank page, as they say.

Things Are Moving Really Fast With The #Novel

by Shelt Garner

After about two years of development, things are finally being to lurch forward dramatically with the actual writing of a serious first draft. In large part, this is due to how well I know the general plot of the story as well as a crucial suggestion by a “script consultant” who I paid to help me out a few months ago.

I really hope to have a finished first draft no later than Thanksgiving and hopefully by Election Day. I would prefer it be Election Day because I’m notorious for being completely immobilized when major clusterfucks happen in the Trump Era.

One of the interesting things about writing an allegorical thriller about the Trump Era is I just don’t know what the world will look like when I try to query it. Biden being president would put a significantly different spin on its context than Trump still being president. But I keep thinking about how Apocalypse Now was produced AFTER the Vietnam War was over, so it makes sense that people might want to read something like my novel to help them make sense of what just happened.

But only time will tell.

I really, really need to keep writing as fast as I can. This novel has no literary aspirations. It’s just meant to be a fun read that in hindsight you might realize has some deeper meaning to it.

Review: Exposition, Thy Name Is ‘Tenet’

by Shelt Garner

I am a very harsh critic of movies. I am known to walk out of movies the moment I feel they’re not working. So, in a sense, Tenet got the ultimate honor from me — I stuck around to see how it ended.

The issue for me about Tenet was it was an excellent premise with a piss-poor implementation. I say this specifically because virtually all the dialog is exposition. And there’s very little character development. I struggled to care about these characters. In fact, the only reason why I cared about anything that took place was the premise was so intriguing that I wanted to see how it ultimately was wrapped up.

I did love the movie’s cinematography. It was Oscar-worthy it was so good. That was another thing the movie had going for it during the otherwise interminable exposition — I loved how the movie looked.

It was interesting that the inciting incident happened in the first scene. Why this is important is if Christopher Nolan had gone with a more traditional structure for the movie, then maybe there could have been more character development. Then when the action started, I would have had some sense of the characters and cared one way or another what happened to them.

I understand Nolan’s vision — he wanted to make a really thought provoking movie. And he did. The movie IS really thought provoking. The only problem is, at least for me, is the movie would have been far more grounded if it was a bit more traditional. I think, maybe, the problem was a screenplay. Not only is much of the screenplay consumed by exposition, but what exposition there is is extremely confusing to the point of being unintelligible.

As a person writing a novel, I found myself thinking up a way not only to explain what was going on better, but to do so in a way that gave me time to have actual dialog. This problem of dialog-as-exposition was so bad that the movie went from really interesting, innovative action set pieces to going to a stand still so people could explain the movie to us. It was just really dull. And not in a 2001-dull-but-brilliant way, either. It was just dull. There were so many other ways that exposition could have been presented that would have made the movie far more engaging and accessible.

It’s as if Nolan studied Inception and decided what made that movie popular was audiences enjoying trying to figuring what was going on. There are plenty of ways the movie could have been more straightforward and still have been just as intriguing AND would have entertained audiences. Just because you jumbled up a movie’s conceit, doesn’t mean it’s “smart.” It’s just really irritating because you’re making the audience think far more than is necessary.

I think I’m being a little too snobbish because I’m writing a novel and I want it to be really, really, really accessible, so when someone like Nolan goes out of his way to do the opposite it grates on my nerves.

I have to give a shout out to Elizabeth Debick’s “pins” as the Brits would say. It was amusing that the producers went WAAAAY out of their way to feature those sky high legs of hers. She’s a real stunner.

In general, Tenet was a good movie and I recommend it. I just feel as though it was something of a miss opportunity. It could have been a whole lot better if they had simply followed traditional storytelling conventions.

Mulling Two Prequels

by Shelt Garner

I am nervous that I’m going to put all my creative eggs in one basket with these two novels I’m working on, so of course I decide that I want to write two prequels. I am still very interested in writing a screenplay, but the universe I’ve come up with for this novel is so expansive that two prequels would work very well.

The reason why I want to write two prequels is I have really thought out two major events that took place before the beginning of the story I’m currently working on. I love these characters so much that I’m willing to write two prequels to explain exactly how they got where they are when things open in the two novels I’m working on right now.

As it grows more and more certain that Trump is going to “not lose” the 2020 election, the universe I’ve come up with grows more and more appealing. I think a lot of very angry people are going to be interested in the conceit of this universe.

Anyway, I’m still on track to wrap up a first draft of the first book of this two book story by around Election Day. I’m nervous that I’m going to be so upset by Trump “not losing” the election that I’ll be zonked out for three months like I was in 2016.

I just hope I have a window of opportunity with artistic expression before the boom falls and even a novel such as mine won’t be able to get published — or even considered — because it goes against Der Fuhrer.

High Concept: ‘Chernobyl’ Meets ‘Arrival’

by Shelt Garner

I have had this idea for a movie or novel rolling around in my mind for a least a decade. It probably would be done best as a high concept film because to do it as a novel would simply way, way, way too long because of all research required.

The idea is this: what if aliens arrived and gave us a pretty astonishing opportunity, but with a catch: humanity would have to work together.

Now, it’s a well-worn trope that the world, given such an opportunity would unite. But, lulz, that’s bullshit. (I think the movie “Arrival” actually uses this concept some.)

Anyway, I love the HBO series “Chernobyl” and it seems like that time of life-or-death tone would be perfect for such a movie. I like the idea that the audience would know the aliens are asking all of humanity an existential question and the drama comes with how badly we fail at this particular test every step of the way. (Though, hopefully, in the end we would get or shit together.)

This movie would be very deep and fill the audience with dread, just like Chernobyl. I would write the screenplay myself, but not only am I working on a novel, I have a different concept for my first screenplay, should I ever get around to writing one.

Mulling The State Of Star Wars

by Shelt Garner

As I have said before, I’m not really much of a fan of Star Wars. But the franchise is such a cultural powerhouse, that it is interesting to try to understand where it stands.

To me, the existential crisis of Star Wars has nothing to do with the franchise itself. It has everything to do with how the bolts are popping off civil society in the United States. Throw in the quirks of the modern Hollywood economy and you have a recipe for the entire edifice to collapse in on itself.

The reason why what’s “wrong” with Star Wars is so difficult to understand is there’s a lot going on with the franchise. The convention wisdom on YouTube, often advocated by angry young men, is Star Wars where it is because of the malfeasance of Kathleen Kennedy. She’s a very convenient scapegoat for some legitimate problems with Star Wars.

I’m of the opinion that things just aren’t that simple. Disney paid something like $2 billion for LucasFilm and, as such, they decided to use it as a money tree. It seems to me that what all the complains are about has more to do with modern Hollywood in general than Ms. Kennedy.

Three major things are warping Star Wars so as to cause a major rift between the studio and the fanbase.

  1. MAGA-Qanon is consuming America
    A lot of unhappiness in the Star Wars fanbase likely comes from how the United States, in general, is extremely divided. This is out of the control of anyone involved. Everything — EVERYTHING — is seen through the prism of politics, and, as such, given that the Star Wars fanbase is made up of young men, it’s inevitable that they will be unhappy if there’s a whiff of “liberal bias” in the storytelling.
  2. Disney wants to sell toys
    Next, Disney really, really, REALLY wants that sweet, sweet toy money. So that bends the storytelling associated with Star Wars to such an extent that they throw in an entire subplot that’s devoted exclusively to featuring creatures that are to be sold as toys.
  3. “Woke” Hollywood
    This is probably the most conspicuous problem with the franchise and, in a sense, the most intractable. Woke Hollywood screws with some basic tenants of storytelling to such an extent that even the average casual Star Wars audience member can be left a little annoyed.
  4. Disney isn’t a fan of Star Wars
    I think this is the real problem with Star Wars. They just don’t “get” Star Wars and where the magic comes from. It’s like a bookworm trying to be a basketball coach when they don’t even know the rules of the game. They know how to make money, but they have lost sight on how to tell a Star Wars story the way the fans will really like.

I honestly don’t have a solution to any of these problems. Disney does run a real risk, however, of driving the franchise into the ground to such an extent that they can’t make any more money off of it. I have suggested before than someone like Kevin Smith (who is a huge fan of Star Wars) should be given a three picture deal and a lot of creative control.

One thing that is really staring Disney in the face and they’re ignoring it is how huge the Star Wars universe is. It makes you start to think whomever is in charge of Star Wars (Ms. Kennedy?) is either not very creative or too timid to do what is needed.

Why not just find a minor fan favorite character and think completely out of the box with them. No Skywalker. No Darth Vader. Nothing from the known canon of the franchise. They’ve got a whole galaxy mapped out in various ways in “Lore” and so forth, why not just pick a direction, any direction and run with it? Why be so absolutely tied down to the major aspects of the canon?

But I guess all that would require money and risk that Disney isn’t prepare to get into. Though there may come a day when they grow so desperate that they don’t have any choice.

Jesus Christ Is Hollywood A Mess

by Shelt Garner

Hollywood is currently so out of fumes that it makes you wonder if we’re finally at the end of the post-9/11 Era, at least when it comes to the arts. Hollywood has squeezed ever penny it could possibly get out of the MCU and all of the major franchises are in various stages of clusteruckery.

It’s possible that the last big Avengers movie might be it. That might mark the end of about 20 years of Hollywood history. The question, of course, is what happens next.

As I’ve said before, I think the 2020 election is going to decide what happens. Given that something truly astonishing would have to happen for House Trump not to end the Republic by winning the election, I would lean on the side of Hollywood entering its late Weimar Republic stage. As House Trump strangles freedom after freedom in quick succession, it seems as though it is only a matter of time before it comes after Hollywood.

Hollywood is going to face an existentialist choice.

Does it allow itself to be enveloped by House Trump or does it bounce? Given the fast majority of major Hollywood producers are “Germany Industrialists” in their politics, I think we all know the answer to that question. But I guess it’s somewhat possible that some of Hollywood might decamp to somewhere like Australia…maybe Perth? because of the weather and land requirements it needs. Though, honestly, given how much is done on a soundstage with CGI, some of the coming Hollywood diaspora might endup in Great Britain.

But, on a broader level, it makes you wonder if we do manage to have some semblance of normal life in the next four years, what will it look like? I can’t think of a single major Hollywood franchise that has not either been played out or driven into the ground. Right now, both Star Wars AND Star Trek are dead in the water for various reasons.

As such, it would seem to make sense that given how art abhors a vacuum, that something completely new might pop out pretty soon. Or, if you really wanted to be depressing — given how everything sucks — you could say that the economics of Hollywood has changed so drastically that we just going to tread water until AR / VR (MX) finally matures enough that mainstream storytelling goes in that direction, with some sort of fusion with the video game industry occurring.

Given how dark things are right now, I don’t have much hope. And, yet, history has shown that someone, somewhere may very well do SOMETHING original that is both a creative and financial success for Hollywood. But it could be that “woke” Hollywood is the future of things and we’ll have to wait, like, 40 years until the founding of a Second Republic for everything to get sorted out.