Monday, December 1, 2008

Ok, so...

I'm an indie film producer based in L.A. with only one feature film to my credit and a few short films. I didn't go to film school, but I have worked in the studio film industry for the last fifteen years.

What I am is a movie lover. I don't watch sports and I don't really get into anything else. Film has been my life since I was seven years-old. That's it. My one true love. (Well, after my wife, anyway).

So several years back, I was sitting in a movie theater when a trailer for the latest Eddie Murphy attrocity, er, um, film came up. I turned to my friend and after I muttered something like, "Ugh," I said, "What the hell is he doing? This is awful!" To which my friend agreed. I then said that despite all of the cinematic crap he's put out ("Dreamgirls" excluded), I believe he still has it in him to be great. You can't sustain a career in film and in comedy for as long as he has without still having that spark in you somewhere... At least, I hope not.

So my friend and I started spitballing what Eddie could do to repair his career in the minds of all of those people who don't have 6 kids to take to "Doctor Doolittle 37," or whatever he was making next. Being a huge fan of 80's Eddie (as I think we all are), I settled instantly on the "Beverly Hills Cop" franchise.

Granted, the third film (or, III'd?) was a utter mess - a capper so insulting it nearly sinks the two prior films - no easy task. Now, wherever you fall on the topic of the first two films can vary widely. I happen to have really enjoyed Tony Scott's film and felt that it did what sequels are supposed to do - amped up the comedy and the action to great effect. I could go on and on about both films and can out-quote the next guy or girl at the drop of a hat. So, what do you do? Well, of course, you ignore the Landis film entirely. That's move number one. Next, you need to follow a few ground rules that I'm sure we'll all agree on:

1. The film brings Axel back to Beverly Hills in some fashion. Either he lives there now, or he's required to come back again. My feeling was that the "fish out of water" schtick won't work anymore, so he lives there now.

2. The film sticks Axel back with his buddies. They all have to be there. John Ashton (Taggart), Judge Reinhold (Rosewood), and despite the fact he's getting on in years, Ronny Cox (Bogomil).

So, with those things in mind, my friend and I worked through the entire plot. Then our movie started and we promptly let it go. It came up only once later when we were working on a set with Eddie and mentioned the loose idea to his personal costumer - a guy who's worked with Eddie for the last decade, at least. That was the end of it, or so we thought.

Cut to early this year. My friend is again working on an Eddie Murphy film. The costumer see's him and approaches him to ask if we still had a good take on a "Cop" film. My friend told him we'd never put pen to paper on it (or, finger to keyboard) but that we could probably come up with something. He called me right away and we went to work on a synopsis - the idea was to give them enough that the powers that be would get a feel for what we had in mind without actually spending time (unpaid) to write a screenplay for it. We give them the major points and leave the end a bit ambiguous ("always leave 'em wanting more!").

So I got in touch with Eddie's family member (and co-producer) Ray Murphy who I had met years earlier. We emailed everyone. When we heard Ratner got involved, and after I again sighed "ugh," we tried to get it into his company. We got it, via Eddie's costumer, to Eddie's agent. We told them that if they were interested, we'd do a full on first draft. We were told to shorten our synopsis to a page - apparently, people at Ratner's company can't read more than that (which isn't really surprising, somehow). It went around and around and then? Nothing. Correspondence stopped. Emails stopped. Not even so much as a "thanks, guys but we're going to go another way."

So now that I ave read the synopsis of what Brandt and Haas have come up with, I feel like... Well, ours would work better. So now, kind reader, I leave it to you. I am going to copy and paste our synopsis (WGA registered, of course) here for you all to read. Please feel free to tell us what you think works or doesn't. I know I don't have to tell you to be brutal - the internet is nothing but... just bear in mind that this is only a first draft treatment. In writing this, we also knew that once Eddie got involved, it would change dramatically. Also, I'm not a comedian. Neither is my partner, so... We were hopeful that Eddie could still bring the funny.

Oh, and one more thing... A last rule I had forgotten. "Beverly Hills Cop IV" would get a 'R' rating.

Read it in the next post and... hopefully, enjoy.

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