Watchmen producer Lloyd Levin took it upon himself to speak out about the lawsuit between Warner Bros. and Fox that now seems to threaten the film's release on March 6th. In an "open letter" on HitFix, Levin discussed the troubled history of the production as well as its current legal troubles…
From my point of view, the flashpoint of this dispute, came in late spring of 2005. Both Fox and Warner Brothers were offered the chance to make Watchmen. They were submitted the same package, at the same time. It included a cover letter describing the project and its history, budget information, a screenplay, the graphic novel, and it made mention that a top director was involved.
He also spells out how both studios reacted to their offer to make a Watchmen movie…
The response we got from Fox was a flat "pass." That's it. An internal Fox email documents that executives there felt the script was one of the most unintelligible pieces of shit they had read in years. Conversely, Warner Brothers called us after having read the script and said they were interested in the movie - yes, they were unsure of the screenplay, and had many questions, but wanted to set a meeting to discuss the project, which they promptly did. Did anyone at Fox ask to meet on the movie? No. Did anyone at Fox express any interest in the movie? No. Express even the slightest interest in the movie? Or the graphic novel? No.
So what is Levin getting at? Well, one very valid fucking point.
Does a film studio have the right to stand in the way of an artistic endeavor and determine that it shouldn't exist? If the project had been sequestered at Fox, if Fox had any say in the matter, Watchmen simply wouldn't exist today, and there would be no film for Fox to lay claim on. It seems beyond cynical for the studio to claim ownership at this point.
Unfortunately there's the messy world of judges, contracts and lawyers to work around before this whole thing can be settled. Levin understands that, but, I guess, felt he needed to have his say. Here's how he summed his letter up…
For the sake of the artists involved, for the hundreds of people, executives and filmmakers, actors and crew, who invested their time, their money, and dedicated a good portion of their lives in order to bring this extraordinary project to life, the question of what is right is clear and unambiguous - Fox should stand down with its claim.
For what it's worth, I second that, Mr. Levin. Bravo and well said.
1.8.08 Source: HitFix
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