Don't Blame 11 Screenwriters For The A-Team's Faults; Blame A Fox Exec
It shouldn't surprise you to learn that the new A-Team movie is a bit of a mess. I saw it last night, and while embargo prevents me from talking about what kind of mess it is and how much fun it might be despite that, you've probably guessed by now that a movie based on a deeply silly and repetitive TV show would have some narrative hurdles to overcome. In a blistering new post at Deadline Hollywood, Nikki Finke reveals some of those very hurdles, and that Fox created most of them for themselves during the torturous ten-year process of getting The A-Team made.
In classic Finke style, she's happy to lay the entire imbroglio at the feet of one disliked exec, Alex Young, who bears a producer credit on the film and became co-president of 20th Century Fox at one point during the development, only to be demoted back to producer last October. Under Young's stewardship The A-Team movie took on no fewer than 11 writers, only three of whom-- Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom and Skip Woods--are credited on the final product. The surplus of writers apparently isn't just because the film's development took so long, but because Young was constantly firing them, giving insane notes like asking the movie to be "gritty like Bourne" or instructing writers to remove all the humor, and kicking writers off the project without any advance notice. At several points he apparently resorted to writing pages himself, using what one writer called "the latest cliches from the movie he saw last weekend."
The entire piece is full of zingers like that, and whether it's actually fair to blame everything on Young-- who seems like a slimy easy target-- it's incredibly fun reading. You can judge for yourself whether the behind-the-scenes struggles hurt the final product when The A-Team hits theaters this weekend.
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