Monday, March 31, 2003
Michael Jennings on Phone Booth.
This has for some years been one of those scripts with a reputation for being "the best script in Hollywood that hasn't actually been made into a movie", and I have been following its saga for a few years, as a variety of directors and stars have looked like making it. (It eventually ended up being made with Colin Farrell starring and Joel Schumacher directing, and is being released this week). What I did not know was that the film, which is set entirely in a phonebooth, was originally pitched to Alfred Hitchcock, but that Hitchcock had died before Cohen was anywhere near completing the script. (Hitchcock was apparently very keen on the idea, however).
One story that I had heard, but which I had thought was apocryphal, turns out to be true. Action director Michael Bay (Bad Boys, The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbour) was at one point hired to direct the movie, and soon after this happened he called for a rewrite of the script, asking "How do we get this thing out of the phone booth?". He apparently wasn't attached to the movie for long after this.
HA! I've seen the trailer once or twice and it looks like an interesting film, although the trailer did seem to tell you most of the story. Damn but I hate when that happens.
UPDATE: Here's another article on Phone Booth, this one mostly about how the New York-set film had to be shot in Los Angeles:
"I think the art director did a great job," Schumacher said. "It really does feel like one of the streets in that area."
Local nitpickers may not agree - even if, as a movie, "Phone Booth" is vastly better than "Two Weeks' Notice" or "Maid in Manhattan," two flicks that actually were shot around town.
According to no less an authority than Martin Scorsese, it's virtually impossible to fake New York's distinctive look almost anywhere else in the world.
"Even people who have just visited here can spot it in an instant," said Scorsese - who shot his "Gangs of New York" on soundstages in Rome.
Not to mention Mean Streets, which was set in New York but actually largely shot on the mean streets of Los Angeles much like Phone Booth...