Monopoly story revealed?
We've been wondering what Ridley Scott is going to do with the Monopoly film for some time, after all since it was announced it's fair to say most people were confused if not shocked. Monopoly the film from Ridley Scott?
Well surely there's going to be some form of amazing twist on the idea? Surely they're going to create something magical and amazing with this almost blank canvas? Surely they're not just going to bring the board game to life a-la Jumanji and the identical Zathura: A Space Adventure?
The last answer was correct, that's just what they're going to do and that, apparently, is what has Ridley Scott so excited about the project, a world where Monopoly is real. Oh come on guys, take a chance.
Frank Beddor is a producer behind There's Something About Mary and Wicked, he even did stunts on Better off Dead..., and he's been talking about what brought Scott on board to the project and the concept, if you ask me he's been talking too much about it and it sounds terrible.
Here's the high level of it through the article in L.A. Times:
”They have this big world and this game -- it’s the most famous board game in the world -- and it just really came out of the whole 'Alice' thing. I took the approach of thinking of the main character falling down a rabbit hole and into a real place called Monopoly City...”
Okay, so you're getting where this is going. Well Beddor didn't stop there and he decided to spill all the beans about the project all over the floor.
”I created a comedic, lovable loser who lives in Manhattan and works at a real estate company and he’s not very good at his job but he’s great at playing Monopoly. And the world record for playing is 70 straight days – over 1,600 hours – and he wanted to try to convince his friends to help him break that world record. They think he is crazy. They kid him about this girl and they're playing the game and there’s this big fight. And he’s holding a Chance card and after they’ve left he says, ‘Damn, I wanted to use that Chance card,’ and he throws it down. He falls asleep and then he wakes up in the morning and he’s holding the Chance card, and he thinks, ‘That’s odd.’...
...He’s all groggy and he goes down to buy some coffee and he reaches into his pocket and all he has is Monopoly money. All this Monopoly money pours out. He’s confused and embarrassed and the girl reaches across the counter and says, ‘That’s OK.’ And she gives him change in Monopoly money. He walks outside and he’s in this very vibrant place, Monopoly City, and he’s just come out of a Chance Shop. As it goes on, he takes on the evil Parker Brothers in the game of Monolopy. He has to defeat them. It tries to incorporate all the iconic imageries -- a sports car pulls up, there's someone on a horse, someone pushing a wheelbarrow -- and rich Uncle Pennybags, you're going to see him as the maître d' at the restaurant and he's the buggy driver and the local eccentric and the doorman at the opera. There's all these sight gags.”
First up, just before I go on. Have a read of the article over at the L.A. Times, it's an interesting one and they also have an article on Beddor talking about his project The Looking Glass Wars, an Alice rework that sounds much more interesting. I have to give them a good mention since I've quoted so much of Beddor's comments!
Now, looking back on what he's saying about the film I have to wonder what the real attraction here is. I mean the story sounds pretty weak, and the “sight gags” seem as subtle as a brick, and probably as interesting. What, someone drives up in a sports car? Wow.
He does go on to defend it stating that it's all about the execution, and if Ridley Scott is the man doing the film then we're going to end up with something very special. Well, perhaps we will, then again perhaps not. Then he comes out with the killer reason why this is going to work so well:
”...you have all of the world editions to deal with -- there are different editions of the game so the city won't be limited to the Atlantic City edition that we know in America. Ridley grew up with the British version...”
Okay, so there will be world-wide locations and perhaps different worded Chance and Community Chest cards. I'm still not getting it. Wait a moment though, he comes back again with another reason.
”Well it's not about that; it can't be just about the money. To me it's more a metaphor for life, the taking of chances and this character through this process learns that he can do a lot of things. He's completely brave and strategic and risk-taking while playing this game but in real life he's a mess. He won't roll the dice. That’s the character and journey he has to take.”
Nope, still lost me. It sounds a terrible project and I struggle to see how Scott is going to make this exciting without a complete rethink and walking away from the Jumanji concept. Seen it, done it with different cards and counters.