Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Dubai DOA?

English: Dubai Magyar: Dubaj
English: Dubai Magyar: Dubaj (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Remember this post back in 2007 about Paramount having bought a script for a film called Dubai from 'tyro writer' Adam Cozad? The film was to be produced by, and star, Eric Bana, according to breathless reports in our local media and an almost unreadable Variety story, written in Variety's own strange 'Hollywoodese' dialect.

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...
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Mother Inferior. said...

I am actually too angry from raeding your kind 'synopsis' to actually read the script, yet. Will do later over a cup of something calming... Nice work clouseau.

the real nick said...

Alexander, isn't it people like you who tell their clients that there is no such thing as 'bad' publicity? (Ok, sorry, mabye not YOU personally but your profession)

Besides, since when are film scripts meant, or even believed, to be realistic? Since when are locations, people and historical occurrences portrayed accurately on film? Is New Zealand populated by hobbits? Was Enigma actually invented by the Americans? Did Bruce Willis really blow up that meteorite and save the world?

Seabee said...

Nick, "since when are film scripts meant, or even believed, to be realistic?"

Very many people do indeed believe that what they see on the screen is true.

Dubai Jazz said...

My kind of movie. Oh how I'd love to write a review.

Oussama said...

I suppose that is the price that Dubai has to pay for being a successful global player that does not conform to some idiot's perception of what we the desert dwellers should be

nzm said...

Is New Zealand populated by hobbits?

Yes - the tall people left the land and now live in other countries. ;.)

What differs though, Nick, is that although LOTR was filmed in NZ, there is no mention of NZ in the trilogy. Movies have to be filmed somewhere.

The Dubai movie, with the city's/emirate's name in the title, would forever link the fantasy world of the movie to the reality of the place in the minds of anyone who hadn't been there. The fantasy would become the reality.

For instance, I now know for sure that on Nail Island in Thailand, there is a fabulous house in which lives a villain called Scaramanga. I haven't been there, but I saw it in The Man with the Golden Gun. ;.)

Hopefully the Dubai movie is DOA. Some people have enough trouble perceiving the reality of the place as it is, without adding a bad Hollywood adaptation to the mix.

Best to get Modhesh's film career off the ground first.

Bush Mechanic said...

Are you sure it wasn't made into a movie? I think I saw something like that on MBC 2.

Now really admit it. There are good/indifferent and bad movies. A really bad movie can be as entertaining as a good movies if the environment is right (beer and mates). Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Plan 9 from Outer Space or heading back to Kiwi-land "Bad Taste" made by a then unknown director called Peter Jackson.

Is New Zealand populated by hobbits?
Dunno, I'll check when I can find the light switch. Please don't mention Australia the Movie or I'll start judging the UK by Little Britain.

The Ego said...

I just read the synopsis and I think I'm too tired to read the actual script right now. This line, however, hit me hard.

"Construction workers live like doctors"

I'm sorry, what???

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

ugh. I've never been to Dubai and have no idea what Dubai is like, but from reading your synopsis, I can tell that that idiotic screenwriter is a racist, ignorant piece of shit who knows nothing about the Middle East.

fucking CUNT !!!

Robb said...

What? Hollywood doing a film that isn't realistic and accurate? Tell me it ain't so. I mean, history teachers in the USA actually showed the Oliver Stone movie JFK to their classes. So now American students finally know the truth about his assassination: it was the FBI, CIA, KGB, Mafia, and homosexuals all working together to get rid of the president, and they managed to keep it all a secret under Stone unearthed the truth in his film. Bwahahaha.

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