A trailer that pitches the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince film as a screwball teen comedy.
Not much else to be done but watch it repeatedly and roll around laughing…
Our friends and colleagues at Tandem Communications in Germany have just announced that they’re ready to go to principal photography on Ken Follett’s World Without End.
Tandem (predictably) did a spectacular job on Pillars of the Earth: their commitment to long-form event-TV storytelling (and their success at it) would certainly have been one of the factors assisting other newer long-form productions like Game of Thrones in getting off the ground.
Can’t wait to see how the sequel unfolds! In particular, John Pielmeier’s scripts are always a pleasure to read… looking forward to seeing how he handles the adaptation.
Now let’s all sit back and watch Rola invade Hungary again… 🙂
(Disclosure: yes, of course these are the people for whom I wrote The Lost Future. (The SyFy page is here.) On which I had a great time, and besides, who wouldn’t be proud to be associated with anything that gets Sean Bean running around the landscape in leather?…)
Was watching the BBC program last night on the Arabian Nights, featuring Richard Grant. When they started dealing with the issue of translations, it surprised me a little that not a single word was said about Sir Richard Burton, though a fair amount of air time was spent on Edward William Lane, whose version of the Thousand Nights and a Night was extremely sanitized.
I find myself wondering whether some scholar involved with the program had a bug up the butt about Burton’s fairly explicit translation. Granted, it’s not as if the man isn’t a source for continuing controversy: you run into scholarly opinion suggesting that Burton had committed that most heinous of offenses, “getting too close to the material” — the literary version of “going native”. Stilll, it’s odd to see an analysis of the Nights that doesn’t even mention his name. I wonder what was going on…
It’s interesting also to note in passing that Burton discusses Lane in his introduction to his own translation. “That amiable and devoted Arabist,” Burton calls him, and then gently takes him to task for “converting the Arabian Nights to the Arabian Chapters. Worse still, he converts some chapters into notes. He renders poetry by prose and apologizes for not omitting it altogether; … he is at once too Oriental and not Oriental enough. …Worst of all, these handsome volumes are rendered unreadable …by the stuff and stilted style of half a century ago when our prose was perhaps the worst in Europe.” (Well, don’t mince words, Sir Richard, tell us what you really think…)
I forgot to call, earlier.
You forgot something, too.
She stares, uncomprehending.
I don’t even get to die in a clean shirt!
And Joy finally GETS IT.
The pentagram BRIGHTENS and the HUM increases. Erickson and his Senior Tech are occupied with one of the control consoles. Joy starts hurriedly going through all her skirt pockets. [/scriippet]
[scrippet]INT. ERICKSON CLEAN ROOM — DAY
As the four ENTER. Doris, seeing Harry and Joy, hurries to them. Elizabeth moves out into the situation as if she runs it. She looks at the pentagram and nods in recognition.
‘Tis much as my court magician drew it. But when it had served its purpose, he destroyed it, for fear what merely frightened away the dead might then be used to bind them.
(to the dead around)
Swiftly! Use what you have brought!
The dead THROW the pieces of steel they’ve brought onto the pentagram, one piece after another.
But every piece FALLS onto the pentacle WITHOUT EFFECT. The attack team, living and dead, STARE in horror.
There must not be enough! More —
More of the dead THROW what they have. No effect!
Then SECURITY GUARDS APPEAR and GRAB Joy, Harry and Doris.
A wall of RAINBOW LIGHT springs up around the outer walls, floor to ceiling. A separate light-wall, the FORCE FIELD seen earlier, APPEARS around the pentagram. Some of the Dead run for the outer wall, but the outer force field BLAZES with power and they’re FROZEN in place. The living Erickson staff BREAK FREE.
Throw everything you’ve got. It won’t work.
Erickson walks out among the Dead, accompanied by a group of armed SECURITY GUARDS.
(to the Dead)
By holding the metal long enough to make it solid-permeable, you’ve also made it non-conductive. It takes a minute and forty seconds. After that, you might as well throw tomatoes.
(to one of his people)
Clean that hardware up before the effect wears off.
(to the Senior Technician, by the main power console)
Contract the outer barrier when they’re clear.[/scrippet]
(back to pp 90-95)
[scrippet]INT. ERICKSON COMPUTERS — DAY
Through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls, several cabs DRIVE PAST and out of sight. Then Joy and Elizabeth WALK IN through the front door, into the lobby (past the entry to a SECURITY ROOM) and up to the RECEPTION DESK. As they talk to the guards there, Joy NOTES that one has a large set of keys sitting in front of him.
Hi, we’re from City Temps, we’re for the data manager’s office on the fourth floor.
GUY AT THE DESK
What name, please?
GUY AT THE DESK
I mean, who called you?
Sorry, it was just someone on the fourth floor.
GUY AT THE DESK
I’ll check for you.
Thanks. Is there a ladies’ room down here?
GUY AT THE DESK
Over there, right-hand door.
He picks up the phone as Joy and Elizabeth head that way.[/scrippet]
And after just one episode. As we say in this neck of the woods: Not Too Shabby. 🙂
I haven’t seen the US numbers, but here are the UK ones:
“A Sky Atlantic spokesperson has confirmed that the UK and Irish premiere of ‘Game of Thrones’ on Monday, April 18th brought in an average of 743,000 viewers, peaking at 823,000 audience members. As such the show enjoyed the biggest opener since the channel’s launch trumping the channel’s previous highest overnight audience, ‘Boardwalk Empire’, the premiere of which brought in 438,000 viewers.
“The premiere broadcast of the Northern Ireland epic series brought in an average of 743,000 viewers and a peak of 823,000 across its broadcast from 9:00pm to 10:10pm on Monday, April 18th. This figure does not include those who saw the premiere through other media platforms such as Sky+. The UK and Ireland premiere broadcast of the series took place a day after the show’s US premiere, the audience figures of which will be available later this week.”
Can’t wait to see those.
(You go, George!!)
[scrippet]INT. COMPUTER SHOW — DAY
The sales stand. Harry looks frazzled, scribbles in a notebook: a POCKET P.A. sits nearby. Boyce stops by.
You okay, Harry? Looking stressed.
Nothing worth mentioning. How’re we doing today?
Three hundred so far.
Good. You see what’s his face around here this morning? Carlyle?
No, I think he went back up country.
Okay. Just curious.
Boyce pats him on the shoulder and goes off.
POCKET P.A. “VOICE”
I’ve got a message for you.
Yeah. I know.
Well, it’s gorgeous.
Everything’s very handsomely art-directed and designed; the money (as they say) is on the screen where you can see it. Always a good sign. Though there’s no point in overstating the importance of the size of the budget. Our Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King, for example, hour for hour, cost more ($24 million for four hours). What matters is what you do with the money.
The point here is that the producers have plainly spent their budget carefully, and gotten good value for it — spending time and care on design, and in taking the cameras to places not so often used for shooting fantasy film. (P. and I immediately started analyzing what we saw to try to work out which scenes might have been shot in Northern Ireland.)
As for the story, my main interest is in experiencing it without having any other background info except what’s been apparent from the months-long hype that’s preceded the first episode over here via Sky. (No, I haven’t read the books, even though George is an old buddy from way-back-when East Coast SF fandom. Much as I might like to have read all the books of all the writers I know, if I tried it I’d never get anything done around here. …But I’ll probably start reading George’s series after the miniseries is finished).
So far it looks like fun. I think I’m seeing signs of things that are going to start happening: we’ll see if I’m right. This is where not having read the books pays off. Now I can just kick back and have fun watching the plot unfold, while amusing myself with the eternally fascinating game of trying to second-guess a fellow writer and the people who adapted his books.
[scrippet]INT. ORMONDE HOTEL BREAKFAST ROOM — MORNING
The aftermath of breakfast. Tables are pulled together. Joy and Harry sit over cups of tea with Gunter, Lorna and Pario. Joy’s cellphone and room key lie on the table. Doris moves by in b.g., carrying breakfast things, looking distressed. Joy looks after her sympathetically.
Still no George.
We must assume they have him.
This is so horrible. Think of it — our people being snatched off the streets and stuffed into the chips that go into these.
No wonder we manage to pack so much processing power into the things. We’re stuffing whole human minds into the electronics.
I for one do not want to spend eternity running somebody’s apps!
Or in a landfill when the rest of the hardware wears out.
No landfills. The chip’s recyclable.
But what can we do?[/scrippet]
[scrippet]EXT. LONDON STREETS — NIGHT
Chase scene. Gunter veers along like the worst kind of student driver, narrowly avoiding crashing into things and people… sometimes very narrowly.
INT. LONDON BUS — NIGHT
Gunter is scared, but also laughing, as exhilarated as a young hotshot pilot who’s been given a new and difficult plane in which he can’t possibly get killed. Sarah hangs on with an excited look on her face. Joy, though, is actively afraid for her life as Gunter just misses another car.
Oh, look out!
It’s all right! It handles just like a J U Eighty-eight!
No wonder we won the war.
They have a close scrape with another bus, SHOOT PAST. In a cross street, a POLICE CAR notices, swings into PURSUIT.
Oh God, we’re all going to be thrown in jail forever. Not that you care!
Another NEAR MISS in the traffic as Gunter CORNERS insanely.
Will you take it easy?! Some of us here aren’t dead yet and we like it that way!
[scrippet]INT. ERICKSON COMPUTERS — NIGHT
Gunter makes his way THROUGH THE BUILDING cautiously. Before entering a given space, he puts just enough of his FACE THROUGH A WALL to see in without being seen himself — a humorous but spooky effect. In this way he PASSES THROUGH several dark and unoccupied OFFICES: then PUTS HIS FACE THROUGH A GIRLIE CALENDAR on the wall of the downstairs security office and sees that it’s OCCUPIED. Gunter PULLS BACK quickly. NB: These through-matter passages make a tiny soft SOUND like an intake of breath, which can alert someone to them in a quiet place.
The GUARD in the office HEARS this little sound, GLANCES UP, sees nothing: goes back to his work. Note that most of the people working in this building have no knowledge of their company’s traffic in “residuals”, and so will be as frightened by ghosts as anyone normally would.
Gunter BACKS OFF and tries another way, heading toward the side of the building where the vans were entering. He passes through more OFFICES, a CLOSET full of janitorial equipment, a LADIES’ ROOM (with slight embarrassment): comes into a stairwell: listens — hears nothing in the stairwell itself, but downstairs, the sound of VOICES, faint.
Gunter goes down the stairs, then has to throw himself hastily through a wall to avoid being seen/run into by two TECHS throwing the “basement level” stairwell door open and going up the stairs.
Nah, it doesn’t bother me, it’s just the shapes they had when they were alive. They’re just sort of an ectoplasmic tape recording that plays itself over and over where they used to hang out. They can’t think, or feel anything.
I guess you’re right. It’s just the way they look, sometimes. That little girl…
I know…you hear them yelling, you feel bad at first. But it’s like lobsters when you drop ’em in boiling water, they can’t really feel pain as such…
Gunter’s head appears from the wall on hearing the line about the “little girl”. He looks angry. His face vanishes again.[/scrippet]