Friday, April 12, 2013

FANTASY FILMMAKING: JAMES CAMERON'S "AQUAMAN" with "A FAN'S CUT" BLOGGER DAVID WASHINGTON! (WARNING!: We're experimenting a bit here with this blog, so we're hoping it works out.)



Okay, this is going to be, one of the more unique and unusual blogs. We're experimenting a bit here, and we're shooting a bit here, a little more, unscripted and off-the-cuff than normal and hopefully this'll be fun. It's the first time, I'm doing this, hopefully this'll be something fun to do, and we'll do more of these things sporadically.

First off, fellow blogger, David Washington of "A Fan's Cut", is here, metaphysically at least. We've been corresponding on this through comments on "A Fan's Cut" for a bit. Here's his website by the way:

The whole title is "A Fan's Cut: How Great Films Can Be Made Differently"
http://afanscut.blogspot.com/

And his whole thing, is to reimagine, how we would've made or re-shot or re-written famous films. I'm not gonna lie, I'm not too sure what I think about that, but, I thought this would be fun. Some of you might remember my reviews for "Mission: Impossible III", and "Mission: Impossible--Ghost Protocol", and that I reviewed them, as though I was talking to the director of those films, and we we're talking about a hypothetical film that he would be making.

This is a concept, I'm creating, or at least, I'm calling it, "Fantasy Filmmaking". I've equated this to Fan Fiction, or Fantasy Booking, in Pro Wrestling even. The idea being, that, we're gonna give some interesting people, a filmmaking scenario, either in a producer/writer/director or all of them or part of them, anyway, and we're just asking them, what they would do, in this situation, or what they imagine they would do. No, we're not asking, for complete scripts, or for them to shoot things, but essentially, trying to come up with a good film, under certain parameters.

So, like I said, we're gonna see how this goes. I asked Mr. Washington, to participate, and be the guinea pig for this, he's been very gracious, he took the time, he did some research of his own, and expressed some cool ideas. I gave him a couple choices of filmmaking scenarios, and he picked the "James Cameron's "Aquaman" one.





Now, let me explain this one a bit. Some of you may or may not be "Entourage" fans. On "Entourage," a major part of the show, in fact, it was the whole second season, if I remember correctly, involved Vincent Chase, the Adrien Grenier character, trying to get the lead role, in this fictional "Aquaman" film, that James Cameron's was making, and Cameron played himself for a few episodes even, in the show. This was, in between that 12-year span between "Titanic" and "Avatar" for Cameron, so he had some time to kill. Hypothetically, he could've made "Aquaman", if he absolutely wanted to. So, Mr. Washington, he's gonna be James Cameron, and he's gonna make the "Aquaman" movie that he never made. He's got the choice of whether Cameron will direct and/or write it, or he could hire a director and/or writer, but Cameron is definitely producing this film, so his name's on it. "James Cameron presents 'Aquaman'", essentially. He's coming up with a basic story, a perspective on the material, in a James Cameron style, plus he's gonna cast.

So, David Washington, it's all yours here, and haven't seen the "Entourage" episodes.

DAVID WASHINGTON: First of all, I'm happy to do this. No, I haven't seen the episodes, but it really fascinates me-how Cameron will interpret the world of the ocean and a super hero film. You know, to think how he is going to combine his usual theme, science destroying man, with a superhero, it's realliy interesting, because isn't it contradicting? He had always show the destructive side of superpowers. Terminator.

ME: Oh, right yeah, "Terminator."

DAVID WASHINGTON: Eventhough Arnold's character is good, he is a less powerful machine than the bad terminator. Space travel in "Avatar", but now he has to show, the creative side of a superpower, Aquaman.

ME: Okay, that sounds good. Now, I'm gonna admit here, that I-eh, do not have much knowledge of Aquaman, before this, or now even. I gave you a couple scenarios to pick from, do you know Aquaman? Are you a fan?

DAVID WASHINGTON: I've not read the comics-

ME: Really?

DAVID WASHINGTON: I took three days to do some research on the comic.

ME: Wow! Very generous of you, thanks.

DAVID WASHINGTON: Your welcome, but even before I did much research, my first idea on "Aquaman", the film begin with a Tsunami sequence which is interlaced with the scenes of a flashback of a father teaching his son to swim. We know it's a flash back and not something that's happening simultaneously, or on the other side of the coast, because the tone of the visuals are old fashion. I want to use (Christopher) Nolan's style, the natural suddenness of his style, will be amplified from the Tsunami, to the other other scene, at the end of the sequence where the little son confronts his fear of the water and begins to enjoy and play in it, then we see the Aquaman waking up from the dream (He was sleeping in the sea), now he opens his eyes-, well, he's probably have the open all the time if he was underwater...- anyway, it is understood that it is a memory dream from Aquaman's childhood- the he rushes to save the people from the Tsumani.

ME: I like the idea of starting with a tsunami. So, do you have Nolan, directing the film?

DAVID WASHINGTON: No, it's James Cameron directing, he's just using Christopher Nolan's cross-cutting style for this sequence.



ME: Okay, gotcha.

DAVID WASHINGTON: Now, this will be the first and last Aquaman film. He's ranked by Wizard magazine as the 147th Greatest Comic Book character, according to Wizard magazine, and 53rd greatest Comic Book Hero, according to IGN, so we need to create some sensation, but also the plot requires it. So I set a set of guidelines for the story, and here are those:

1.) He will not die.

2.) Nor he will bestow his powers to some other, as how Batman gave his mantle.

3.) He will not have a son, who also has the powers, hence he retires.

4.) The Ocean won't get polluted, so he has no home anymore.

5.) And He won't be hated by the public, therefore leading to his retirement.

ME: Basically, avoiding, every other superhero film cliche.

DAVID WASHINGTON: Yes. None of these things happen, and this will be the last film. However, what we will have, are mermaids, floatation tanks, and the Olympics!

ME: Okay, mermaids, and floatation tanks I get...-, eh we're talking the sporting Olympics, right.

DAVID WASHINGTON: Right, the Olympic Games. So here's the story:

Arthur Curry grows with the ambition to use his great swimming abilities to set new records in Olympic Games, but once he sets an unbreakable and unbelievable record, by a lot, impossibly so almost, everyone begins to doubt him for doping. So the IOC ask him for testing.

The Scientist, who conducts the tests, finds out his extraordinary abilities, but instead of revealing them, he tells Arthur to quit, and admit to doping, even thought he hasn't, because once he's clarified as clean, eventually the council, will call him again for an advanced test, and eventually, if he keeps winning, they'll discover his abilities, then the government and secret agencies will use him as a test sample, and his life will be ruined.

Arthur asks him why he's helping him?-, He says that this is an opportunity to correct a mistake, with a similar athlete in the past  and the line is "Even his abilities were human, but yours-they are not!"

2) Arthur is very disappointed in this, he's always dreamed of fame, and right now, it looks like that dream is gonna vanish. It is at this point he decides to becomes a superhero, because it is the only way he could gain fame.

ME: Oh, so he's a bit vain, this Arthur Curry character.

DAVID WASHINGTON: Well, that's one part of him, we're getting to this.

3.) So, there will be a usual superhero problem, some major villain, I'm thinking Pirates, maybe in a warship, something like that. A main Pirate of course, being the Captain Hook, if you will. Not literally him, but...-

ME: I got ya, a Pirate Antagonist, suitable for combat against Aquaman.

DAVID WASHINGTON: Correct. But, in a parallel plot, I'd like to create the real problem that once he becomes the superhero, he spends almost all his day under the sea, the longest hours, like in a floatation tank all the day, and because of this, he'll start getting hallucinations and become paranoid. He's gone from life on land, to life in the sea, and he's becoming Sensory Deprived, because he's in the Ocean, so now, we have a PARANOID SCHIZOPHRENIC SUPER HERO. This is also, were the images of the Mermaid, will come up, they'll be hallucination. However, at the same time, there's gonna be the possibility that he has an elevation of consciousness, a hyperawareness about him. So he explores these hallucinations, and the Mermaids, and this eventually bring us to Atlantis. Once in Atlantis, he begins to doubt his origins, and begins to believe that he's the last kind of the civilizaion, who lived under ATLANTIS. He confronts his parents about it, again and again, and finally decides to go searching for it, and this is gonna feel a little like a "National Treasure" type film.

ME: "National Treasure"- So, Cameron, mixed with Nolan, mixed with, who directed "National Treasure," part Jon Turtletaub.

DAVID WASHINGTON: On top of this, he believe he's becoming enlightened, so he begins to do his experiments with the sex tantra- so that brings a Human Woman, into the film, to support this, and this also, is apart of Arthur Curry's personality, that he's a Playboy.

Now, how this ends the film, it will, if he is enlightened, that is, he'll then begin to believe that life is an illusion, then he will not stop that villain from destroying the sea, because that was the attitude of the enlighten, they don't even worry about their death-, because death is an illusion for them. Or if he was just paranoid, then too he will quit being a super hero, because his hallucinations are the, he is an enlightened man, so at least, for him, being a superhero it's as much about proving his transcendalism, to himself, and other.

So, he believes, and hence, proceeds to become a Spiritual Teacher, and claims that he was the Aquaman, from Atlantis, but no one believe him, and they think his abilities are just black magic. He's makes some outlandish statements, becomes heavily criticized for them, and somebody actually shoots him, a regular critic guy, and, well I guess I was wrong, Aquaman does die.

ME: Oh, so he does die.

DAVID WASHINGTON: Yeah, he ends up getting killed. I guess I was wrong on that, but the reason I decided that, well, first of all, the Pirate is now free to destroy the sea, and he does. So, Aquaman becomes the first hero, not to have saved the people, when they needed him most, because he was to stuck in his own head.

It also leaves us, with the  eternal doubt about Aquaman. Was a Paranoid Schizophrenic, or was this Spiritual Being, who approached this Super Consciousness.

ME: Where are you getting this Enlightenment, and Super Consciousness stuff from by the way?

DAVID WASHINGTON: Oh all this I evolved from someone's statement of Osho's Face, he commented as "The Face of Madness and Superconsciousness living together. From this meditation link. Christopher Calder's work.
http://meditation-handbook.50webs.com/osho2.html

ME: I'll have to look into that someday.

DAVID WASHINGTON: So yeah, A very powerful, superhuman Man's search, to know whether life is an illusion or not, than tries to make a better one. That's your logline. That's your film. It's Got Tsunamis, Olympics, Atlantis, Mermaids, Paranoid Schizophrenia, Sex Tantra, Enlightenment, all produced, directed, and written by James Cameron!

ME: This feels like Aquaman has as much inner conflict as Travis Bickle. Jesus! It's certainly interesting. I like how you're changing tones and styles and how that represents, the confusion within the Aquaman character himself. They're so vast, and yet, this still seems conceivable to me, as a James Cameron world.

DAVID WASHINGTON: Thank you, that's what I was going for.

ME: Good themes, basis of a good story here, but we gotta cast this film now. I know this is unusual for you, you don't usually cast on your posts, so this'll be interesting. So, let's start at the top, who's your Aquaman?

DAVID WASHINGTON: As for Aquaman, I'm thinking Will Smith.



ME: Really! Right to the top of the A-list!

DAVID WASHINGTON: We need a swimmer/playboy/ and a superhero, who-eh, also, he's gonna be a little eccentric, and live in a boat, that's anchored in the middle of the sea, so that too,  plus a character actor. I loved him in "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Seven Pounds"; I also like "I, Robot" and "I Am Legend". Didn't care for "Hancock", but still.

ME: I didn't care for "Hancock" either, I think he's a good actor though, although I didn't like "I, Robot", or "The Pursuit of Happyness" though. Great performance in "...Happyness", not a good film to me, but-eh, a Black Aquaman, is interesting as is. Actually, I would've thought you'd pick someone, far younger, especially since you made him an Olympic swimmer, maybe someone in his twenties, or even his teens.

DAVID WASHINGTON: I think a grown up, suits the internal spiritual conflict better. It would be absurd to make a 20-year seeking enlightenment, to some extent. Although I'm only 19, so who knows.

ME: 19, you're making me feel old. Let's the cast the rest of the main parts, who's the Scientist?

DAVID WASHINGTON: Christopher Plummer.



ME: Well, talk about old now. No, no, I'm kidding. I like that choice, I like him a lot. Okay, who's the Mermaid?

DAVID WASHINGTON: The main mermaid, is gonna be Jessica Alba.



ME: Okay. Alright, who's the Human Woman, and you gotta name these characters eventually btw, but who's she?

DAVID WASHINGTON:  She'll be played by Angelina Jolie. Also, she'll be playing the role of  a prostitute, since tantra requires the man to not fall in love with the girl he's having sex with. This can further complicate the plot, as either, he's falling in love with her, or the reverse, I would prefer the latter, 'cause we're already a little chaotic here. And she'll be called "The Butterfly", that's her, hooker name anyway.



ME: Hmm. Well, just in general, I like the idea of Angelina Jolie playing a prostitute named Butterfly, little surprised that turns up in "Aquaman," but it sounds good. Alright, who's his parents"

DAVID WASHINGTON: Morgan Freeman, is the father, Maggie Smith is the mother. They have to be elderly, as they had their son after years of marriage, a fact that makes Arthur disbelieve that they're his parents, and helps lead him to believe that he was adopted and originally belonged to an extinct species.

  

ME:  Morgan Freeman, and Maggie Smith. That is a pair, I would absolutely love to see in a film together, those are very cool choices. Alright, big one, who's the Pirate?

DAVID WASHINGTON: Okay, first of all, they're Pirates or our time, like Somalian, like that, 'cause Aquaman's greatest power is that he can talk to the sea creatures, so we can't have the Green Goblin as a villain, we need a realistic character. So, our pirate, is Denzel Washington. Oh, and I also, want to have Aquaman, attack the Pirates by using sharks, to attack the pirates, saving a bunch of lives. Not like, "Piranha II" Cameron. And there's not gonna be talking sharks either, just using telekinesis or hypnotism, so that's how he controls them.



ME: Okay, I think we've got a good core. Let's recap it here, in shorthand I've been taking some notes:

JAMES CAMERON'S "AQUAMAN"
TSUNAMI-Opening                                          ]  Nolan-esque style.
Intercut with-FATHER/SON flashback sequence]

STORY (2nd Act)
ARTHUR CURRY-OLYMPIAN- Doping Allegation

SCIENTIST- Convinces him to confess, to protect him.

ARTHUR BECOMES AQUAMAN- For the fame.

AQUAMAN vs. PIRATES CONFLICT

AQUAMAN gets HALLUCINATIONS, (MERMAIDS) becomes PARANOID
also gains HYPER-AWARE CONSCIOUSNESS- Can't tell them apart.

MERMAID takes AQUAMAN to ATLANTIS

AQUAMAN begins to doubt his ORIGINS, and begins SEARCH. -"National Treasure" tone.

GETS with HUMAN WOMAN BUTTERFLY

SUPERHERO to SPIRITUAL LEADER-With Critics.

AQUAMAN gets SHOT, and DIES.

PIRATE destroys OCEANS

ENDING
DOUBT for AQUAMAN'S TRUE VISION, SCHIZOPHRENIC or SPIRITUAL SUPERCONSCIOUS


CREW
Director: CHRISTOPHER NOLAN James Cameron
Writer: James Cameron

CAST
Arthur Curry/Aquaman-WILL SMITH
Scientist-CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER
Pirate Villain- DENZEL WASHINGTON
Mermaid- JESSICA ALBA
Parents-MORGAN FREEMAN and MAGGIE SMITH
Butterfly-ANGELINA JOLIE

Thanks, for doing this again, David.

DAVID WASHINGTON: My pleasure, it was fun, exciting.

ME: You actually, also, were a little more elaborate, on the suit, you were picturing for Aquaman, that you were designing, and I-eh, I probably missed a few other points or two.

If anybody's wants to go see, the entire discussion we had about this, I reedited it and shaped it for this blog, it's in the comment section of David's website, "A Fan's Cut", under his "Bruce Wayne", where he comes with a scenario, for a fourth Batman movie, I believe. Here's the site for that blog:

http://afanscut.blogspot.com/2013/04/bruce-wayne.html

Go down to the comments on this page, you'll see our entire exchange, and how we formulated this, or how David's I should say formulated this. David thanks for being our guinea pig, here.

So, I hope you all enjoyed this. This was a little fun, detour, from my normal film blogging, so, let me know what you thought, of David Washington's scenario for a James Cameron-directed "Aquaman", and let me know what you think of this whole idea, of Fantasy Filmmaking in general. Maybe come up with a new scenario or two in mind, you can suggest one. Hopefully we can do, every-so-often, not everyday  or every week or something like that, but once in a long while, as something fun, and hopefully we'll find some other cool people willing to try this out. Thanks everyone.







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