Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Deleted Chapter from Scott McClellan's Book

The Hollywood Temp Diaries secured a copy of an early draft of the highly controversial book What Happened by Scott McClellan. While this section didn't make the published version, it offers scathing commentary. Here's an excerpt in which Mr. McClellan discusses his "sales job":

The transition away from Texas was not easy for me or my co-workers. We knew we'd miss the place we called home for many years. The one source for comfort (other than the Almighty, of course) was the tremendous optimism and hope for what we could accomplish. The work we'd done in Austin was groundbreaking. Almost landmark in its significance. We'd single handedly shifted the entire paradigm, and we were going to bring this same approach to our new home, the capital...of entertainment. Yes. We were moving to Hollywood.

In Austin, we'd fostered and grown a film community based on creativity and independence. Film making was about art. About communicating a story. A compelling narrative. Interesting characters experiencing life. We came to Hollywood to change the way the entertainment industry was run. But in the end, the industry ran us.

We were quickly drawn into the Hollywood bubble and its culture of deception. And it wasn't simply that those on the other side of Barham were spreading misinformation. We started to believe what we were telling the public. And the fabrication that we delivered to America -- that Catwoman was a great movie.

We tried to sell the public that Catwoman was an action hero that young American girls could aspire to become. That the movie had all the elements -- superb dialog, fantastic action, a charming love story and a message. The fact is that Catwoman was nothing more than a sado-masochism movie pared down just enough for a mass consumption.

In the build-up to launch, I routinely asked for screeners, even dailies, of the film. But the administration only offered me a few storyboards and a log line. This clearly was insufficient. I was flying on a wing and a prayer.

I implored the senior officials that I desired greater access. But I was stonewalled at every turn. I found this behavior troublesome and confusing. Then, when I was to discuss it with the media, I misled them when they asked questions like: "Why were there eight re-writes of the script?", "Why did the press not get a preview?", "What kind of plans are there for Catwoman 2?"

But as I said, you...I got drawn into this culture of deception. Even when Catwoman went on to essentially sweep the Razzies -- Worst Director, Worst Actor, Worst Screenplay, Worst Picture -- the administration was in denial. They firmly believed that the movie would end up turning a profit after DVD, cable and international sales.

But at some point I had to stand up for what I believed in. That Hollywood should stop shoving every superhero into a movie or making a sequel solely based on fiscal policy. The truth is that the American public, and for that matter the world at large, will soon reject the Indiana Jones Part 4 and the recently announced installment of Beverly Hills Cop series. There's a reason that people seek out YouTube and providers of original content on the Internet. Because it is exactly that -- original.

If I lose contact with people who I've developed a great affection for as a result of this book, well, I can't control that. I certainly hope that it's not the case. But it's important for the Greater Hollywood community to get back on track and I hope that in some small way that I can help guide this effort.

No comments:

Post a Comment