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Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Tue 01
Feb
2005

Movie Update: We Have Writers!

Jennifer Government I often get asked what’s happening with the Jennifer Government film, because—well, you know, movies are cool. And it’s been about three years since Steven Soderbergh & George Clooney optioned my book, and so far not much has happened. On the one hand this isn’t so surprising, because making a movie is a major logistical challenge: you have to get the right people interested, and all available at the same time, and happy to work with each other, and then you need to pay them all stupid amounts of money. There are plenty of films that took ten or more years to make it to the screen. I really hope mine isn’t one of those, but I’ve held off getting measured for the tuxedo I’ll wear to the premiere.

What’s mainly happened so far, I think—and bear in mind that I am not involved in this process, because no film-maker or studio exec wants an author hanging around, wringing his hands over changes to his masterpiece—is that Section 8 has talked to writers. At first I thought they were actually hiring writers, then not liking what they produced, but I have since discovered they were just having meetings. Lunches, mostly, I believe.

Until now! Writers have been actually hired, and they are, I’m assured, typing words out and everything. They are Louis Mellis and David Scinto, who wrote the extremely cool British film Sexy Beast. (Seriously, it’s great. And Ben Kingsley will give you nightmares. You should see it.)

Obviously the idea of having a bound screenplay I’ll be able to rub my hands over and say, “Ahhh, it’s not as good as the book,” is very exciting. Also exciting is that Section 8 and Warner Bros. have asked to renew the option, to tie up the rights for another two years. This, coincidentally or not, would take us up to the point where Clooney & Soderbergh’s contract with Warner Bros. expires. What does this mean? I don’t know. But the next 24 months should be interesting.

Comments

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Carina (#1033)

Posted: 5404 days ago

How exciting. Did you get to read the recent <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/17/business/media/17clooney.html?ex=1263704400&amp;en=8a237d7f823b37aa&amp;ei=5090&amp;partner=rssuserland
">New York Times article on Section 8</a>? (If that doesn't work, there a short summary at http://indiefilm.weblogsinc.com/entry/1234000600027996.

The gist of it is that all sides have been losing enthusiasm for the partnership. It's more work/stifling than Soderbergh and Clooney expected, and less profit/heat than the investors expected. Still, it's fantastic that they've hired such talented writers for the Jennifer Government film! Hopefully this means everyone is committed to gettting it onscreen before the contract expires; because it sounds like there's not much chance that the production company will outlast the current contract.

Machine Man subscriber Max

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: "I'm my number one fan!"
Posted: 5404 days ago

I did, yes! That'd be a shame, because Section 8 has done some terrific, underappreciated films.... but then, I can understand Clooney & Soderbergh wanting to get back to making movies rather than producing them.

It's actually Warner Bros. who has the JEN GOV rights and pays the bills, so presumably even if Section 8 did shut up shop at some point, we could continue with different producers. Especially if the script rocks, which it goddamn well should. :)

James (#1022)

Location: England - or similar
Posted: 5404 days ago

Considering what its based on, could there be any other outcome?

shabooty (#637)

Location: D.C./V.A/M.D.
Quote: "I will shake your foundation. I will shake the f**cking rafters. Nobody'll be the same -Danny Bonaduce ....& go visit my blog @: http://www.shabooty.com"
Posted: 5404 days ago

congrats...
I bet it's exciting...

and I look forward on hearing news about what's going on over at fortress.

I haven't read jen govn't in a while but it'd be funny to see "the kid" ..I forget how to describe his character other than that..(the kid that drives around) . it'd be funny if he was played by: Leroy Wells (of american idol william hung-esque fame).
=] but his 15min of fame will probably be washed up by then.
o well...
holla!
-sha-

shalini (#717)

Location: http://www.kai-india.com
Posted: 5404 days ago

great news. i've just started reading jennifer government, will be great to see it on the screen... writing is such a waiting game anyway. having written two novels, you'd be an expert by now!

Eric Ziegler (#678)

Location: Grand Junction, Colorado, US
Quote: "Fun Fact: There is now a Starbucks in my pants"
Posted: 5404 days ago

Getting Ahead:
When do you find out who is doing the music? I'd do it.

PS: I can't wait to see who will play the Pepsi kid. I hope it'll be Pauly Shore :P

Scott (#354)

Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Quote: "Max Barry tastes like awesome"
Posted: 5404 days ago

Sweet. I can't wait for this movie to come and be one of those snobby little bastards that is all "The book was way better than this trash." lol... well, hopefully it will kick just as much ass as the book, and I won't be able to live that fantasy... but still, I always worry that it won't live up to expectations as so many book to movie translations have before.

Cass (#984)

Location: Canada
Quote: "I will cut you"
Posted: 5404 days ago

Who would you want to play Jennifer and crew if you had the choice?

Justin Holt (#147)

Location: Rochester, NY
Quote: "www.justinholt.net"
Posted: 5404 days ago

Congrats, Max...

I think Section 8 has made some great films too, so hopefully they can get something rolling before the partnership completely splits. It's about time they start making movies with imagination, and this one should be great.

Yenzo (#829)

Location: Secret underwater pyramid base in the Pacific
Quote: "In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe (Carl Sagan)"
Posted: 5404 days ago

Congratulations. Can I have an invitation for the premiere? :-)

Do you think any corporation will want to put some product placement in the movie?

Narain (#824)

Location: Los Angeles, right between civilization and a desert
Quote: "NI!"
Posted: 5404 days ago

I was thinking that some companies might pay to _not_ be put in the movie. I've always wondered how that is going to end up in the courts...a movie which involves real companies comitting various felonies. It's almost an injuction just begging to be filed.

Just like Scott said, I can't wait until this movie comes out and then I can act cool by acting as if the movie totally butchered the book. I'll get all sorts of street cred by having introduced my friends to it before it became popular.

Mark H (#21)

Location: UK
Quote: "Max's early newletters were like Woody Allen's early movies"
Posted: 5404 days ago

I really hope this works out - it will be great for Max, and Section 8 films need some financial success. Although we may like some of the Clooney/Soderbergh film output, let's not forget that Solaris was a commercial failure, as was Confessions of a Dangerous Mind - and the recent 'Criminal' with John C. Reilly and Maggie Gyllenhaal (or however you spell it) sank without trace. It was 'released' here in the UK two weeks ago, but apparently not in any cinemas.

Whatever happened to that Traffic/Erin Brockovich winning streak?

Jayavarman (#1036)

Location: Connecticut
Posted: 5403 days ago

Cool. I have yet to read Jennifer Government. I, however, loved Syrup. I envisioned an Adriana Lima type for 6.

Machine Man subscriber Machine (#957)

Posted: 5400 days ago

As Narain said, do potential lawsuites frighten you or the production companies Max? The US has some pretty tidy freedom of speech laws but artists here in Australia aren't backed by the same type of legislation.

I wonder whether the corporations will be worried about the somewhat evil portrayal of them in film or will they just be totally excited about having a film where they're the main players.

I think you should definately head down the blackmail path and make companies pay you not to feature.


James (#1022)

Location: England - or similar
Posted: 5399 days ago

As said at the start of the book, the company names used in the book bear no relation to any real world companies (or something sufficiently disclamer like). I daresay something similar will be included in the film version.

Ainsley (#1052)

Location: Princeton, U.S.
Posted: 5395 days ago

just in case you have any say about the cast, i think you should have either Demi Moore or Angelina Jolie as Jennifer just as long as its not someone who has kind of a dark misterious side, not a blonde (no offence) who cut their hair short and dyed it black for the movie

walter (#1060)

Quote: "who's mary luganus?"
Posted: 5391 days ago

could have a hideously long special thanks to list in the credits where you list all of our names? also you should have bill clinton play some random liason, that would definatly boost sales in the US as every liberal in the US wants to escape Bush and any mention of clinton would lure all democrats in the country to your movie, so attendence would be increased by about three. Who would you want to paly Jennifer, ideally?

Medopine (#1089)

Location: Michigan
Quote: "War is peace"
Posted: 5382 days ago

Demi Moore? Angelia Jolie? Just say no. It'll probably be Keira Knightly. Hahaha.

Anyway. This is new news for me. Exciting.

Perdition (#771)

Posted: 5382 days ago

Hmm, I think Angelina Jolie is a bit more talented than Keira Knightly and has a bigger fan base. Either way, I can't wait for it to come out.

Congrats, Max.

tim johnson (#1235)

Location: springfield, MO
Quote: "Freedom is oppresive when it is misguided."
Posted: 5332 days ago

When I read the book, I always pictured Gena Gershon as jennifer.

Trinity (#1362)

Location: Canada
Posted: 5282 days ago

I haven't read the book, but just from what I've heard of this book, I'd like to see Jennifer Garner as Jennifer Government.

Ryudo Morisato (#1433)

Quote: "They just want justice, peace, recreation, entertainment, morality, family values, and the obliteration of all other life forms"
Posted: 5256 days ago

First thing, I just read the book, I am a bit behind, and got here on the web. And I immediately hear about a movie. The first thing I thought was cast. I can't say anybody would make a better John Nike V.P. then Christopher Walken! He may be a bit older than desired, but seeing Nike's character, its perfect. I keep trying to think of one for Buy Mitsui, but all I come up with for him is the fellow that played Arthur Dent in the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy movie.

Anyway, new to the website...so, hello, and thanks for writing such wonderful literature. Although I don't like the John Nike's ending.

E.m.m. (#1464)

Posted: 5240 days ago

Eeee! This is SO exciting!

I found your site - in a fit of tremendous nerdiness - by googling Jennifer Government + movie. Back when it came out, I was a lowly assistant at a Los Angeles paper, and I, er, kind of stole the review copy (after they were done with it!) and took it home and devoured it. The press release tucked inside mentioned that it'd been acquired by Section 8, and I've always wondered where they were at with developing it, since it seemed so very filmic right off the bat.

By the way, if you have some sort of rewards program, you should know that I personally am responsible for brow-beating no fewer than three people into buying JG. That's right. Three entire people. Feel free to thank me in an upcoming novel. :-p

Keffy (#1624)

Location: Th' england, innit
Quote: ""He told me he was 14, but someone else said he was 12.. So I'm not sure any more"... "He's 50""
Posted: 5149 days ago

Oh Goody!!!!
I adored the book...
Will no doubt love the film if its half as good as the novel ^^

I was thinking, James Woods would be a fabulous John nike... But then saw some photos and realised hes a bit ancient now :S. Jake Gyllenhaal would make a cutey iccl Buy. ^^. And I imagined Jennifer as thingy-whats-her-name off Miss Congeniality :S... But thats just me...

Adam Messinger (#1124)

Location: Kansas, USA
Quote: "www.adammessinger.com"
Posted: 5054 days ago

I'm way late in commenting on this, but I couldn't resist the chance to play imaginary casting director.

Jennifer Government: Angelina Jolie or Gina Gershon

Hack Nike: Ewan McGregor or Jake Gyllenhaal (I like the idea of McGregor, but he's older now than I pictured Hack being)

John Nike: Christopher Walken

John Nike: Jay Mohr

I really like the idea of having younger and older John Nikes. Walken's creepy conniving and Mohr's smooth sleaze would be two great tastes that taste great together.

Mike Reason (#2743)

Location: Rhode Island, USA
Quote: ""Carpe Diem!""
Posted: 4775 days ago

Maybe it would not be alright if they completely messed up your work. Here is a scenario for you: Let's say they make Jen Gov into a movie (starring George Cloony and that Saddam Husseinish beard of his), but they mutilate and twist the story into the next Song of Russia. On the day of the film's debut, the conservatives send so much hate mail to your site that it crashes every server in Oceania. The entire Australia's government and it's market collapse, destabilizing the balance of power and the global market. In the midst of the chaos, China, in an attempt to consolidate it's power, decides to capitalize on the loss of a major US ally in the pacific and begins a major military campaign of conquest. American forces in South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan are pushed to the breaking point. The Atlantic fleet in order to reinforce the pacific have to go all the way around South America; They can't use the Panama canal as it was given to Panama in the seventies, is currently being run by the Chinese, and it would simply take too much time for the American Military to re-acquire it. By the time, the Atlantic fleet reinforces the Pacific forces, South Korea has been lost but Japan and Taiwan remain free. Things then get worse when North Korea hits Tokyo with a nuke. MAD goes into effect when China and USA launch their nuclear missiles. In the hour before the missiles hit and the world ends, American liberals stage a protest against Western Imperialism and American conservatives hold a boycott of all of Cloony's movies. What's my point; I'm not sure but I watched the original version of Dr. Strangelove recently and I enjoy being melodramatic.

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