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Withnail & I-- In the Theatre?
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mango



Joined: 31 Jan 2006
Posts: 43
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland

PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Bruce Robinson, who wrote and directed the 1987 film, also hit out at rumours that Jude Law would play the leading role saying: "He just could not do it justice."

Robinson, who helped Grant soar to stardom when he gave him the part of Withnail, said: "Nobody could play that part like Richard. When I read about the rumours that the film was being considered for the theatre in my morning newspaper I almost spewed in my Shreddies.

"I would never even consider selling the rights to it. It's an absurd suggestion. It just is not possible and it is not going to happen if I have any say over it."


Quote:
Actor Paul McGann, who starred alongside Richard E Grant in the comedy, also hit out at the claims. He said: "The idea of putting the film on stage is ludicrous. It's utter bollocks. What more is there to say?"



YES! Mr. Green Straight from the guys themselves - I doubt it would be as successful with Jude as Withnail, no one could top Richard E. Grant and doubt that many people would actually go and see it but what the guys have said seems to have put a full halt on this. I also agree with Paul on this; would it really work as a theatre show? Confused


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emay
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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's some more from Bruce Robinson (Go, Bruce!!) about the proposed stage version from the online edition of The Independent (see http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/theatre/news/article622759.ece):

Film director fights to keep 'Withnail & I' off the stage

By Ciar Byrne, Media Correspondent
Published: 01 June 2006

For years, student union bars have resounded to such memorable lines as "I demand to have some booze" and "Officer, I've only had a few ales", as generations of students attempt to match the characters' prolific alcohol intake drink for drink.

But if the film's creator has its way, Withnail & I will never appear on the West End stage.

Bruce Robinson, the writer and director of the classic 1987 movie, starring Richard E Grant and Paul McGann as two "resting" actors in 1969 London who take an alcohol-fuelled trip to the country, has described plans for a stage version, potentially starring Jude Law, as "scandalous".

He insists that Hand Made Films, the production company that made Withnail & I, needs his permission to go ahead with a theatrical production, which he refuses to grant. Hand Made Films, set up by George Harrison in the 1970s, maintains it owns the necessary rights to turn the film into a play.

"It's scandalous," said Robinson, who says he has still not received his full director's fee nearly 20 years after the film was made. "The film of Withnail & I that I wrote and directed is what I wanted to say. Anything ancillary to that seems to be an attempt to wring it out like an old teabag for more money."

A spokeswoman for Hand Made Films said: "Hand Made own the copyright and the rights to Withnail & I. Bruce Robinson, who was one of the writers, does not own the rights or the copyright. However, it is normal to seek creative approval from one of the writers, and that process is under way. Everything is on track."

Robinson said that at a meeting with his agent and lawyer in Los Angeles last week, Hand Made's chairman, Patrick Meehan, accepted that a stage production could not go ahead without the writer's agreement.

"He does not have the contractual rights to put Withnail & I on in the West End or the Outer Hebrides. He would have the right to put on the play in the West End providing he had my agreement, in the same way as I could put it on if I had his agreement."

Hand Made said nothing was settled at the meeting, adding that "lawyers and agents are working on it".

However, Robinson denied saying that Jude Law would not be able to do justice to the part of Withnail. "Whatever my feelings are about Jude Law, it's completely hypothetical, because this isn't going to happen. This chap Patrick Meehan can't put Withnail & I on the stage, period."

In contrast, Grant, who plays the film's louche hero Withnail, believes a stage production is a good idea. He said: "Good luck to them. I think the idea would transfer to the stage very well, and of course Bruce's original was such a brilliantly written script that I'm sure the part would be a success for anybody who tries it." In the movie, Withnail and his friend Peter Marwood, played by McGann, visits his lascivious Uncle Monty's country cottage with hilarious results. It is probably Grant's most memorable performance.

Details of the stage project, which were revealed in financial papers released by Hand Made Films as part of a reverse takeover bid, were revealed by The Independent last month. The "offer document" said Laurence Myers, the producer behind the acclaimed production of Keith Waterhouse's Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell, would bring Withnail & I to the stage. It stated: "A UK theatrical show of Withnail has been agreed with the London producer Laurence Myers. Production is anticipated for 2007."

Robinson was originally offered 70,000 to direct the comedy he had written. But this upfront payment was cut to 40,000 in order to pay for one of the movie's classic scenes, in which Withnail and Marwood drive back from the country to London and are stopped by the police after partaking of "a few ales".

Where are they now?

Richard E Grant Withnail

Two years after Withnail & I, Grant starred as a stressed-out advertising executive in Bruce Robinson's How To Get Ahead In Advertising. Numerous television and film roles followed, and Grant's autobiographical film, Wah-Wah, which tells the story of his childhood in Swaziland, premiered in London this week.

Paul McGann Peter Marwood

McGann now lives in Bristol with his wife and two children. He appeared in a 1996 television movie revival of Doctor Who and was originally cast as Sharpe in the ITV series, but replaced by Sean Bean after breaking a leg. His latest film, the forthcoming Poppies, is about a man coming to terms with loss.

Richard Griffiths Monty

As Uncle Monty, Griffiths made a pass at a terrified Marwood, saying: "I mean to have you even if it must be burglary". More recently, he has played mean Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter films, and is currently starring on Broadway as an eccentric teacher in the award-winning Alan Bennett play, The History Boys.

Ralph Brown Danny

As the drug-dealer Danny, Brown created the world's largest spliff, the Camberwell Carrot: "I invented it in Camberwell and it looks like a carrot." Since then, he has played the gangster Miami Vice in the television series based on Guy Ritchie's film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and has appeared in Coronation Street, Spooks and Nighty Night. In the forthcoming Straightheads, he appears alongside Gillian Anderson in a twisted tale of revenge.

I like the reference to Poppies.

Estelle
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Visitor



Joined: 24 May 2006
Posts: 333

PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that info Estelle. I personally hope it doesn't make the West End - or the Outer Hebrides!

Some things should be left alone. I don't believe putting this on the stage will add anything to the original - I wouldn't even be interested in a sequel I don't think. The film still has the same impact on me as the first time I saw it, and I think seeing a stage production would take the edge off that.

If it was put on stage, would I go and see it? I don't think so. If Paul and Richard agreed to do a sequel? Hope that doesn't come about either, but I would go and see it if it did - purely in the interests of research and so I could let you guys know what happens! (Why else?!!)

Michelle
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emay
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michelle wrote:
If it was put on stage, would I go and see it? I don't think so. If Paul and Richard agreed to do a sequel? Hope that doesn't come about either, but I would go and see it if it did - purely in the interests of research and so I could let you guys know what happens! (Why else?!!)

Michelle


I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel with the same actors. I guess there's precedent of a play turning into a movie and then into a play again. F'rinstance The Rocky Horror Picture show started off as a play and then was made into the film (which I adore btw). And now it's back in play form. Back in April 2001 I saw Rocky Horror Live in New York, and I've read about Richard O'Brien starring in a current stage version. Though I guess he's the common denominator in all these ventures.

Estelle
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Down East



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Estelle.
I was wondering what Bruce Robinson thought about their making it into a play. It didn't really sound like he had much input from the start, that it was someone else's idea. I'm glad to know he's not for it.

The other thing is....W&I is his creation, his baby, not theirs. But I suppose Handmade Films holds "some" rights to it, and thank goodness they need Bruce's permission first. I hope he can fight them off about it.

I wouldn't mind seeing a film update to W&I with the same actors. I'd like to see how the characters fared over time. I wouldn't want to see a remake of the same movie, as if it was a formula to just repeat and repeat. No sir. But I would like to see a film that explored what happened to these fellows in the present time, or the 90's while the actors are at a good age for it. There's lots of material to work with just with the times we're in and the characters being so colorful. It doesn't have to be a comedy either. Maybe Withnail didn't make it to 40! But if Bruce didn't think it worth checking up on them "in the now" I'd go with his wishes. But I'd love to see what Withnail and Marwood and Danny, Uncle Monty were up to in today's world.
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Teri



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say I disagree with you both on that one. For some reason I just don't want to see middle-aged Marwood and Withnail. Confused To me W&I was a moment frozen in time, and I think continuing the story beyond that would defeat it's purpose somehow. Knowing what eventually happened to them years later would be too 'class reunion', I think--it would sort of minimize the impact their characters had in the original, like seeing your high-school's ex football star all fat and balding years later.

Even if the two of them actually turned out for the better, that in itself would be disappointing, because the whole romance of Marwood and Withnail is in their youthful squalor, and future uncertainty. To me the two of them are really just symbols of the time, and they should remain there, always. I guess that's why a remake seems more appealing to me, although there is a sort of unnecessariness about it. It would be like doing a remake of Casablanca or something--why bother? Maybe the original is a gem, simply because it is the original.
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Down East



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teri wrote:
I have to say I disagree with you both on that one. For some reason I just don't want to see middle-aged Marwood and Withnail. Confused To me W&I was a moment frozen in time, and I think continuing the story beyond that would defeat it's purpose somehow. Knowing what eventually happened to them years later would be too 'class reunion', I think--it would sort of minimize the impact their characters had in the original, like seeing your high-school's ex football star all fat and balding years later.

Even if the two of them actually turned out for the better, that in itself would be disappointing, because the whole romance of Marwood and Withnail is in their youthful squalor, and future uncertainty. To me the two of them are really just symbols of the time, and they should remain there, always. I guess that's why a remake seems more appealing to me, although there is a sort of unnecessariness about it. It would be like doing a remake of Casablanca or something--why bother? Maybe the original is a gem, simply because it is the original.


I can't really disagree with that except with "remakes" themselves.

If I were to make a film or story based on previously created characters (exactly what people do in the fan fiction world) it would have to be something original, conceived as an original creation except for the charactersand perhaps some of their backstory.

And yes, a revist to W&I, they'd probably have middle age wrinkles, ailments, balding and so forth. That doesn't bother me. I don't have any romantic ideals with this film, I just liked it and thought the characters worthy of more stories. Not the same stories and situations, but more stories.

I almost always wind up disliking remakes. 95% of the time. Probably for all the reasons you stated, in addition to my biggest complaint, that they almost never visualize the new film they make as an original. To me, that's the reason it almost never works.

Most of the approaches for remakes is to "copy" the original with the same gags, formula and similar dialogue, or spiffed up CGI if it was sci fi, and what's the point of all that? They usually stink and everyone's left disappointed...because...you can't "go back"....and expect the same feelings and responses etc...besides spoiling that "moment in time" buried in one's memory--like Casablanca or Gone with the Wind or something. Although I've heard from several young people who have seen some remakes of films, that they liked them better than the older original ones...which they then saw after the fact.

Although I didn't mind some of the changes they made in the new Time Machine, the old Time Machine--George Pal version, will always be my favorite and I'll love that to pieces, while merely ho-humming the new one, for all it's snazzy special effects.

The problem with revisiting the same characters in a film or even a book, is that the filmmakers never RE-visualize the "new" film they plan to make...as an original unto itself. They just do the same thing in a snazzier package. And since Bruce so far hasn't made any attempts at revisiting these guys, you have to assume he's not re-visualizing those characters in the now, that's all right with me. It's his baby.
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Teri



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Down East wrote:
And since Bruce so far hasn't made any attempts at revisiting these guys, you have to assume he's not re-visualizing those characters in the now, that's all right with me. It's his baby.

Same here. To me Marwood and Withnail can't exist in the now, because they embodied much of what Bruce Robinson remembered about coming of age in the sixties, and that was their sole purpose. They were his memories of life during that decade, so they have no part of now. Theoretically, Bruce Robinson is Marwood now, and Vivian MacKerrell (the model for Withnail) is no longer living, so in a way, we already do know what happened to them, which makes Withnail & I a prequel to Bruce's life, more or less.
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