I'm surprised we don't have a thread for this yet; I know that I (and others?) have blogged about it before at our personal blogs over the past year. Anyhoo...
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Ridley Scott is rolling the dice on a 'Monopoly' movie and here's why
Frank Beddor, a pivotal figure in the project's odyssey, says doubters should remember that a film's core concept is merely a starting place, not the whole ride. "Everybody reacted the same way when they heard that there was going to be a 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movie -- and I did too." . . .
"I created a comedic, lovable loser who lives in Manhattan and works at a real estate company and he’s not very good at his job but he’s great at playing Monopoly. And the world record for playing is 70 straight days – over 1,600 hours – and he wanted to try to convince his friends to help him break that world record. They think he is crazy. They kid him about this girl and they're playing the game and there’s this big fight. And he’s holding a Chance card and after they’ve left he says, ‘Damn, I wanted to use that Chance card,’ and he throws it down. He falls asleep and then he wakes up in the morning and he’s holding the Chance card, and he thinks, ‘That’s odd.’"
Yes, this is all going where you think it is. Beddor continued:
"He’s all groggy and he goes down to buy some coffee and he reaches into his pocket and all he has is Monopoly money. All this Monopoly money pours out. He’s confused and embarrassed and the girl reaches across the counter and says, ‘That’s OK.’ And she gives him change in Monopoly money. He walks outside and he’s in this very vibrant place, Monopoly City, and he’s just come out of a Chance Shop. As it goes on, he takes on the evil Parker Brothers in the game of Monolopy. He has to defeat them. It tries to incorporate all the iconic imageries -- a sports car pulls up, there's someone on a horse, someone pushing a wheelbarrow -- and rich Uncle Pennybags, you're going to see him as the maître d' at the restaurant and he's the buggy driver and the local eccentric and the doorman at the opera. There's all these sight gags."
The idea of a human dropping down into the logic and universe of the board game (not unlike "Jumanji," I suppose) might work as a film, but how did Scott end up as an interested player? "Well it was that pitch, that's where Sir Ridely got excited. After I pitched it to him, he put out his hand and said, 'What do I have to be part of this movie?' "
Beddor still sounded surprised as he recounted this part. "So I said, 'Do you mean you want to direct it?' And he said, 'Yeah, and I will tell you why – it’s all the things you just said and the fact that I had these epic Monopoly battles with my family when I was young.'" . . .
I mentioned to Beddor that these days, with the economic turmoil and the populist venom toward Wall Street, it might be a an extra challenge to present a film ode to wheeler-dealer culture, renter gouging and fat cats in spats.
"Well it's not about that; it can't be just about the money. To me it's more a metaphor for life, the taking of chances and this character through this process learns that he can do a lot of things. He's completely brave and strategic and risk-taking while playing this game but in real life he's a mess. He won't roll the dice. That’s the character and journey he has to take." . . .
Geoff Boucher, Hero Complex, Los Angeles Times, November 11
Edited by Peter T Chattaway, 09 September 2011 - 09:07 AM.