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Feb 16th
09:32 am
Jonny Quest, a little bit more analysis  
This guy has a really interesting viewpoint on the Jonny Quest thing.

For one thing, he reminds us that Jonny Quest was on the 2008 Black List, which means it is a really hot script. This fact alone gives me a little bit more faith in the project on its own. But apparently, that version of the script featured a 12 year old Jonny, which makes me question how or even if modifying the script to allow for an 18 year old Jonny would work. This is what this gentleman addresses and his conclusion is that Jonny has to be a 12 year old.

Last December, the annual "Black List" was released through unofficial channels in Los Angeles. It's a fairly recent tradition, a list of scripts that have been circulated in Hollywood, where a shadowy group of agents and managers and development executives vote for their favorite unproduced scripts. Unsurprisingly, many of those scripts end up being produced soon after each year's list is released.

I guess I thought the list was all about spec scripts, original work, but this year, there were a number of assignments that ended up on the list as well. One that I found particularly surprising was "Jonny Quest," not because I think it's going to be bad or because I have some issue with the film... I just was startled to see that many people had that strong a reaction to it. Definitely made it one to keep an eye out for.

And now it looks like IESB.net has the scoop on who's going to be making the film, and who might be stepping in to star.

I spent a decent amount of time on the set of this spring's "Race To Witch Mountain," and the first thing I noticed was the chemistry between director Andy Fickman and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. "Race" is their second film together, following "The Game Plan," and I suspect we're going to see a number of films from the two of them. If "Jonny Quest" is one of them, that might be a good thing. Fickman is a cartoon, so he's definitely qualified to bring a cartoon to life, and Johnson would make a great Race Bannon. Hell, what kid wouldn't want a bodyguard/best friend like Johnson?

There are a couple of things that bear mentioning, though. First, in a post-"Venture Brothers" world, the only way to make "Jonny Quest" is 100% camp-free, and the script by Dan Mazeau is a huge step in the right direction. It's a serious action film, but it's fun without making fun of itself. And the thing they get most right... they thing they HAVE to get right... is the relationship between Race and Jonny.

And, yes... Jonny is 12 years old in the script. As he should be.

I had a conversation with the producers on the film, Daniel Alter and Adrian Askerieh, a few months ago, and they posed the question then about the age. Obviously, "Speed Racer" is a huge concern right now, because no matter what you feel about the film (personally, I dig it a lot), its failure has got to have executives closely eyeing any project that's even remotely similar. And the question that seemed to be giving them the shits when we spoke was "What age do you make Jonny?"

I think the IESB.net interview has a great point from Dwayne Johnson, though, when they're talking about that exact point:

IESB: He has to be a kid who needs to be taken care of, and if he's 17, 18 years old who's taking care of him? He's a dude.

Dwayne Johnson: [laughing] Right, right, a dude taking care of another dude. Then it becomes creepy.

Exactly right. The whole point of the script is that Race is hired to be Jonny's bodyguard after a whole string of failed bodyguards who can't keep up with him. Their relationship is the thing the entire movie hinges on. Yes, the action set pieces are great, but the human side of the script is what pushes it over the top and is, I would argue, the reason it made The Black List.

I'm not some rabid Jonny Quest fanboy, and I'm not speaking out of some rampant nostalgia for the property. Honestly, I'm not going to lose sleep about it either way. But if Warner Bros. is actively chewing on this issue right now, and if Fickman and Johnson are working to help the producers solve the problem, then maybe one more voice in the mix can help, and as much as Zac Efron is a rising star with a fanbase that Warner would no doubt love to tap, the best thing for the film would be to cast younger. Find the right kid. Find a real Jonny Quest. Let Dwayne Johnson sell the tickets. Let the kid carry the movie.

Besides... isn't Zac Efron supposed to be making "Footloose" at the exact same time they're talking about making this one?

It's intriguing, and we'll keep you posted as the film moves forward in development.

ETA: OMFG...this blog from about a year and half ago is now suddenly so ironic.
Mood: quixoticquixotic
4 4 comments Comment
Bee: Zac – Rolling Stone Outtakejeezbee on February 17th, 2009 05:45 am (UTC)
Have you seen this article about Jonny Quest in the LA Times?

I've just run into it... interesting. It's a few days old and doesn't have Zac's name as casting rumor but it not a bad read.

Considering that they "coincidentally" also wrote an article about this movie a few days ago, I can't help wonder if the studio is testing waters about aging the character because they also talk about the older version of Jonny (without getting as explicit as the new articles though).

Btw, I think all the comments about 'who is interested in a Jonny Quest movie,' 'it's a nice product' etc are BS because imo if it's a good movie it doesn't really matter what the source material is. Sure, a well known source material makes it easier but if a movie had only a chance if the source has a huge following we wouldn't have a single movie based on an original script ever.

If the studio is indeed testing waters - about the movie and the aging of the character (and potentially about the casting options), I think the uproar I've seen so far is not big enough to make them reconsider if they wanted to go with the older version. If you make such a significant change to the original material, resistance is expected and the protests about it are rather mild imo.

I've also seen somewhere else that the WB plans Jonny Quest as a summer 2010 tentpole (unconfirmed obviously); if that's the case, they would surely put a lot of attention on it to get it right because the entire bottom line hinges on those few tentpoles the studios have.

If they go forward with the older version (and Zac on board), I think my biggest "concern" would be the director right now. I'm not sure if he's the right one/good enough/experienced enough for a big action franchise. Perhaps the WB is waiting for the reviews and opening weekend BO of his upcoming Race to Witch Mountain to make a final decision???

I can't say it's the perfect project for Zac but I'm still intrigued.
butterflybee260butterflybee260 on February 17th, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)

I'd rather he did the Kent State project.

Its not a terrible idea. Not a great one. I'm kinda meh about it til we hear more.

The only thing I like about the idea is the thought of Zac in an action movie. <3 But I want him to get a buzz cut. lol.
zettaiyozettaiyo on February 17th, 2009 09:30 pm (UTC)
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on February 18th, 2009 01:34 am (UTC)
thanks, i saw it on my iphone during class and i was shrieking inside.