Saturday, September 23, 2006

Blackbird at Buster's... Busted

A bit of bad news, I'm afraid.

A few of you might remember my shameless pitch for Blackbird at Buster's, an independent film written by a friend of mine, from a couple of months ago (June 1, actually). Well, the film's two producing partners had a vicious (even by Hollywood standards) falling out, and it appears that the film is in serious jeopardy.

There is, however, a chance that it will still get made, but without the assistance from the screenwriter and slated director, Rich Leder. To me, without Rich, you have no movie. Blackbird at Buster's has a very specific sense of humor. So specific, it's fairly apparent that one would need Rich involved to make it work properly. Sure, it'd still be funny without him, but much of the nuance would be lost.

At any rate, Rich is scheduled to regain the rights to Blackbird at Buster's sometime in late 2007. So, if you get any calls pertaining to working on Blackbird at Buster's, simply, as Nancy Reagan would say, "just say no."

Slam-time: Several of you are familiar with my long-running concern that Rich partnered with the wrong man when deciding to raise money for his film. This man, well call him "Hal," was not a film producer; he merely had a lot of "money" experience. I must admit, I have a degree in business, have a level of familiarity with the film industry, and was... taken aback... by the way with which the money was to be raised. Innovative, yes. Industry standard? Hell, no. Hal, to me, seemed a risk from the get-go.

Still, there's no reason it shouldn't have worked. But a wannabe producer's greed and dreams of grandeur turned into spite, and Rich was basically forced out of the production. Hal's career in Hollywood, as such, is likely going to be short-lived. I'll certainly never work with him, and I'm sure Rich, an established writer, wouldn't piss on Hal were Hal on fire.

But... some positives came out of all of this. No fewer than six of Rich's screenplays have been produced in one form or another this year. And he's got two more feature scripts in the pipe (one's finished, one's almost finished). He even has a lead actress in mind for the two scripts (Sunny Mabrey of Snakes on a Plane and Species III... check her out... she's a looker). Basically, the debacle didn't bring him down and he's still writing with a fury (something I need to do).

Here's to hoping that Blackbird at Buster's comes back to its rightful owner next year. In the meantime, keep an eye out for Rich Leder films.

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