Rum Diary Question #26 ~ Why Not Yeamom?

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Re: Rum Diary Question #26 ~ Why Not Yeamom?

Unread postby Liz » Fri May 14, 2010 11:00 pm

Buster wrote:Seems to me that Yeamon is an archetype - I agree that leaving him out seems very odd. Distributing his characteristics among the other roles seems like a recipe for confusion. Yeamon's place in Hunter's book is very specific and well defined, and I think I'll miss his character in the movie.
That said, it is a movie, and I suspect I'll like it for what it is, rather than being too concerned about how it strayed from the book. When I read, I read; when I watch a movie, I take it for the art form it is...

I wish I could. I take the changes way too personally, I think. I think that there is a tendency for that to happen when one discusses the book.....in a class, in a book club. It goes beyond just reading the book for enjoyment. Of course, I wouldn't have it any other way. I find books more enjoyable if I can discuss them.
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Re: Rum Diary Question #26 ~ Why Not Yeamom?

Unread postby nebraska » Fri May 14, 2010 11:06 pm

And then there was Finding Neverland...........pity the people who take the movie for fact! Yes, it is hard to slice a line between books/truth and movies. The unfortunate fact is that when I watch a movie that Johnny is in, and that usually involves multiple viewings cementing the version, it is the visual exciting movie that is easiest to remember. :-/

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Re: Rum Diary Question #26 ~ Why Not Yeamom?

Unread postby Liz » Fri May 14, 2010 11:17 pm

Oh boy, nebraska, that brings back memories. I was so disappointed in my first viewing of FN. And that was the freakin premiere.

I have learned since then that I need to get over my issues with veering from the story (or in the case of Barrie, the reality). Actually, that was a lovely movie. And Johnny did a lovely job, and it made so many people happy. How can one not accept it?

At least Tim was much more true to "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" than that other movie from the 70's. :shhh:

And Sweeney Todd.....the best version ever!!!!

I could go on....

Sometimes it just works to change things.
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Re: Rum Diary Question #26 ~ Why Not Yeamom?

Unread postby nebraska » Fri May 14, 2010 11:22 pm

Buster wrote:Seems to me that Yeamon is an archetype - I agree that leaving him out seems very odd. Distributing his characteristics among the other roles seems like a recipe for confusion. Yeamon's place in Hunter's book is very specific and well defined, and I think I'll miss his character in the movie.
That said, it is a movie, and I suspect I'll like it for what it is, rather than being too concerned about how it strayed from the book. When I read, I read; when I watch a movie, I take it for the art form it is...


A movie is a movie and yes, it is a totally different art form from a book.

Having watched The Brave and having read the book upon which it was based, I know a huge amount of change was necessary to transform the book story from one form to the other. The vision of poverty stricken people sitting in an abandoned gas station eating a turkey would never have the same impact on screen as an extravagant carnival............it would have been so dismal as to be fatal to the film. (I really recommend you read the book!) In the book Raphael's children were very very young; in the book, they were old enough to be active part of the story. A literal portrayal of the book would have been a disaster.

But totally eliminating a key pivotal character seems extreme.

I don't know enough about the film industry. If a production company has the rights to a book, how much do they have to do with making the movie? Because a company Johnny owns is involved in making the movie happen, does it mean Johnny even has any idea how the movie is being made, or is it investment people just writing checks? In other words, does the presence of Johnny's production company really have anything to do with the integrity of the final product? Johnny, Hunter's friend, might see the film one way, but his production company that is providing money for filming might have a different set of goals/standards.

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Re: Rum Diary Question #26 ~ Why Not Yeamom?

Unread postby Liz » Fri May 14, 2010 11:58 pm

nebraska wrote: I don't know enough about the film industry. If a production company has the rights to a book, how much do they have to do with making the movie? Because a company Johnny owns is involved in making the movie happen, does it mean Johnny even has any idea how the movie is being made, or is it investment people just writing checks? In other words, does the presence of Johnny's production company really have anything to do with the integrity of the final product? Johnny, Hunter's friend, might see the film one way, but his production company that is providing money for filming might have a different set of goals/standards.

I think that there are a lot of factors involved, to which we are not privy, unfortunately. :-/
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Re: Rum Diary Question #26 ~ Why Not Yeamom?

Unread postby dharma_bum » Sat May 15, 2010 2:09 am

As a producer, you are king (or queen). You can do what you like... change actors, directors, ask for a re-write of the screenplay. You have control. You do however, have to answer to investors (most times that means studios) and protect their investment. When a film runs up costs that aren't directly reflected on screen, it's unlikely those costs will be recouped when the public pays to see it or own it on DVD... resulting in less profit for investors. People like Graham King stake their reputation on making investors' happy.

JD hand-picked Bruce Robinson and he completed his first draft of TRD in 2006. I'm quite sure JD has been there every step of the way.

My take on why Yeamon's character was eliminated is more structural. I don’t have an inside track to Bruce Robinson’s thought processes, but people have act their age, otherwise you end up telling a different story. Johnny was already 43 when the first draft of the screenplay was written, so that changed the narrative already.

You can believe an “older” Kemp would drop out after a few life failures and land in Puerto Rico behaving as he does. Sala and Moberg were already written ageless.

I think Yeamon was a tough character to leave 20-something and have the same conflicts work with an older Kemp the way they did in the book.

In the book, Yeamon was souless and cruel, as only someone raised to believe the world was his for the taking could be... but he was young, poor and powerless. Age Yeamon, and some version of Sanderson emerges. All of those values, or lack of them, coalesce into different, but no less destructive, behavior. (I never saw Yeamon and Kemp as two sides of the same coin.)

The film Sanderson is his own cold-blooded animal and to imagine Yeamon rolled into him does a disservice to the narrative. He and Kemp clash over much more than the girl.

I didn't miss Yeamon one bit.
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Re: Rum Diary Question #26 ~ Why Not Yeamom?

Unread postby nebraska » Sat May 15, 2010 10:08 am

Thanks for that explanation. Although Johnny doesn't really look 40-something to me ...... :smiliewithhearts: and the Kemp character was early 30s. But what you say about the necessary changes in the characters due to being a different age makes sense to me.

With Johnny appearing in the movie, I would imagine he kept a sharp eye on what was going on, but I still wonder if the owner of the company would have as much power as we might hope.

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Re: Rum Diary Question #26 ~ Why Not Yeamom?

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat May 15, 2010 11:02 am

Thanks, dharma for your take on the film. The aging of the characters makes sense. (By the way for some reason your answer posted twice so I deleted the second post.)

I just don't believe Johnny would ever make this film if he didn't feel it was going to be true to the spirit of the book and something that would please his long time friend. Hunter trusted him with the project so that says something. Maybe it took a while to get the movie made because he waited until he could be in a place to have as much control as possible over the film? I guess we wait and see...
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Re: Rum Diary Question #26 ~ Why Not Yeamom?

Unread postby dharma_bum » Sat May 15, 2010 2:05 pm

nebraska wrote:With Johnny appearing in the movie, I would imagine he kept a sharp eye on what was going on, but I still wonder if the owner of the company would have as much power as we might hope.

Power fluctuates with the money. Shantaram is a good example of producers limited power relative to the primary investor. In that situation, IN and Initial Entertainment (precursor to GK Films) had almost no power because they were unproven, minority stakeholders beholden to the studio, Warners. Yet, by all accounts, Pete Weir was removed as director after creative clashes with JD. Still, money rules. When Warners removed their financial support and allowed the film to put on the auction block at "cost," no new investor wanted (or could afford) a film that had $10 million in mostly unrecoverable debt. Unrecoverable because the script and all of the pre-production work was in support of a $100 million dollar film shot on location in India. No one wanted to make that film or pay the penalty for the former "owners" that did.

GK Films is the primary stakeholder for TRD. Graham King likely assembled most of his investors after the artistic core of the film was already in place: Johnny, Bruce Robinson and BR's script.
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Re: Rum Diary Question #26 ~ Why Not Yeamom?

Unread postby Liz » Sat May 15, 2010 3:12 pm

dharma_bum wrote: Power fluctuates with the money. Shantaram is a good example of producers limited power relative to the primary investor. In that situation, IN and Initial Entertainment (precursor to GK Films) had almost no power because they were unproven, minority stakeholders beholden to the studio, Warners. Yet, by all accounts, Pete Weir was removed as director after creative clashes with JD. Still, money rules. When Warners removed their financial support and allowed the film to put on the auction block at "cost," no new investor wanted (or could afford) a film that had $10 million in mostly unrecoverable debt. Unrecoverable because the script and all of the pre-production work was in support of a $100 million dollar film shot on location in India. No one wanted to make that film or pay the penalty for the former "owners" that did.

:bawl:
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Re: Rum Diary Question #26 ~ Why Not Yeamom?

Unread postby gemini » Sat May 15, 2010 7:13 pm

Yes I was browsing infinitum nihill and agree with darma. I think producers have a lot of control, but Johnny has partners, his sister and Sam Sarker, as well as an agreement to work with Graham King . He must let Bruce Robinson do his job as director and screenwriter. I do think he will try to do right by Hunter but I don't know if that means do right by the story.

I am sure he, as the producer, is now aware of the cost aspects of combining characters. I know Johnny will want to keep the point of the story intact but will he think Hunters under-story of the interplay between two young characters is important enough to keep?

If Hunter ever discussed with Johnny splitting himself into two characters instead of one, maybe Johnny will try to combine both characters into his persona of Kemp. It would be something for those of us who read the book to watch for in the film. If anyone could do it, it would be Johnny.

Unfortunately, like some of you have said, watching films after reading the book is usually not enjoyable because you have an expectation that you would not have if you just view the film on its own merits.
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Re: Rum Diary Question #26 ~ Why Not Yeamom?

Unread postby deppaura » Sat May 15, 2010 10:04 pm

Liz wrote:And Sweeney Todd.....the best version ever!!!!

.



Hear! Hear!

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Re: Rum Diary Question #26 ~ Why Not Yeamom?

Unread postby deppaura » Sat May 15, 2010 10:16 pm

It's funny about artistic expression and creation. Sometimes you're so close to the work you lose some sort of perspective. How often people are miscast, story lines muddled, direction goes awry. I say this thinking of Johnny and his personal view of TRD. I think he believes in Bruce Robinson and trusts in his writing, directing decisions. It is probably very important to Johnny to bring TRD to the screen in honor of Hunter. Some version better than none. But, I do think that the "money" people have too much power and little or no creative, artistic instinct. How often some of these low budget, indie films hit the mark! That encourages me regarding truthful artistic expression. It STILL lives! I wish IN could invest in some of these real art projects. But, maybe it is more complicated than I realize. Like Sundance? An Infinitum Nihil festival !

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Re: Rum Diary Question #26 ~ Why Not Yeamom?

Unread postby Liz » Sat May 15, 2010 11:46 pm

gemini wrote: If Hunter ever discussed with Johnny splitting himself into two characters instead of one, maybe Johnny will try to combine both characters into his persona of Kemp. It would be something for those of us who read the book to watch for in the film. If anyone could do it, it would be Johnny.

Now this is a possibility that we have not discussed. We have been so focused on Yeamon being intermingled with Sanderson that we did not consider (at least I didn't) the possibility that the other part of Yeamon would be mixed with Kemp. Thanks for proposing that idea, gemini. :cool:
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Re: Rum Diary Question #26 ~ Why Not Yeamom?

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun May 16, 2010 1:33 pm

And don't forget The Libertine. Even though it wasn't an IN production it was a brave and independent film that probably wasn't going to have mass market appeal.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!


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