|English: Dubai Magyar: Dubaj (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Having landed a regular search or two every now and then for Adam Cozad Dubai since I posted it, I idly followed one of the backlinks to find this oldish but still fascinating post on ScriptShadow, a blog that reviews Hollywood scripts.
That post, in turn, links to this. It's the PDF of the script that Paramount bought from The William Morris Agency.
What amazes me is not that a respected literary and theatrical agency bought this awful crap, or that a respected actor backed it as producer. I am also resolutely un-amazed that Paramount signed up to produce the film.
No. What amazes me is that all this happened to a script whose author was widely reported as never actually having visited Dubai when he wrote it. And boy, does it show when you read the script itself. I do commend a read of it - if it doesn't make you angry, you're not human. You won't finish it, you'll close the window in disgust within a few pages. Betcha.
We are introduced to our hero in a shot where he is playing his regular game of tennis with his gorgeous wife. The camera pulls back to reveal that the game is taking place on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab. The whole thing goes downhill from that low point with such pace that it's like being on a theme park 'drop' ride.
It's got everything - lots of greedy Arabs, a drop dead gorgeous wife who walks out on our hero because he's been busy at the office for 10 days and thought so little of her as to forget their anniversary and then buy her a Tiffany necklace to say sorry. It's got rich, powerful sheikhs who are arrogant (the ruler of Dubai is called Massaud for some odd reason) but who our hero shows up because he's just, somehow, smarter than they are. It's got shopping malls and grinning Sikh crane drivers ('Over 60% of the world's skycranes are there'), chase scenes through malls and undersea hotels, palms and the dizzying islands of the world. It's got an evil Iranian terrorist and a plot to manipulate financial markets through terrorism. It's even got a car chase with a dumper truck for some reason.
It's a reminder of everything I have hated about the Lalaland phenomenon, everything that made Dubai a cliché and then provided such a convenient downturn target for the vicious schadenfreude of the British press. It's also an example of everything dumb and hateful in mainstream Hollywood's over-simplistic and wilfully racist view of the Middle East.
Two years after the news of the sale of the script, there hasn't been another word about the project, which was supposed to have started filming in September 2007. I do hope to God that means it will never be made and that 'Dubai' is truly DOA.
Did the recession mean the project no longer had that 'edge' to it? That Paramount assumed that DoBuy had all reverted to sand and black goat-hair tents and so there'd be no use filming perfect blondes shopping in its marble-paved megamalls??
If so, it's an ill wind that blows no good...