Never mind the unwaveringly chilly reception granted to Southland Tales, a tonal car crash that seems to garner more and more rubberneckers with each passing year: Director Richard Kelly is one pimp who refuses to commit suicide—although that’s debatable, probably, as Kelly recently, boldly announced during a podcast interview with Kevin Smith that he’s working on an animated prequel. As fans of Southland Tales will probably tell you if you can locate them, the movie is only the last three chapters of a six-volume story, with the first half originally published as a series of graphic novels. Now Kelly has written a “streamlined” screenplay adaptation of those graphic novels, saying it could be the key to redeeming his 2006 film’s legacy:
“I still to this day feel like Southland Tales is an unfinished film, and if it takes me until I’m in a wheelchair breathing oxygen, I’m going to figure out how to advance the graphic novels further—whether its trying to put them together as a low budget animated film, whether it looks like Waltz With Bashir or it looks like one of The Animatrix prequels… I still want to figure out a way to tell the entire Southland Tales story over six chapters because I think it would make a lot more sense to people and I think people would reassess the entire film and what it is.”
In order to help it make a lot more sense, Kelly has not only written a screenplay adapting the graphic novel prequels, he’s also written a screenplay adapting the fake screenplay written by Dwayne Johnson’s character in the film, pages of which also appear in the graphic novels, which he then incorporated into the other screenplay adaptation of the graphic novels, which contains scenes from the fake screenplay. That should do it. Anyway, if you find all of that needlessly convoluted, allow Kelly to explain:
“When you see the movie, you see that Dwayne Johnson is reading a script called “The Power”, and there is actually excerpts of the script in the graphic novel. And you realize what the origin of the script is really all about, it’s this crazy analysis of the Book of Revelations. I’ve actually, to be honest, I’ve taken the graphic novels and in my spare time, I’ve written a screenplay based on the three graphic novels, which I know sounds a little confusing. Basically, I took the three graphic novels after having a few years away from them, and I streamlined them—I wrote a 120-page screenplay for if I ever make an animated film out of the graphic novels. And I would basically handle it as whenever Boxer is reading the screenplay, you go into his mind and you see the actors portraying the ridiculousness of what happens in that screenplay—with the baby, the farting and the earthquakes. The insanity of the screenplay within the graphic novel. There is a very specific plan I have to do that, i that day ever arrives when I can figure out how to bring it all together and make it visual.”
Lo, when that day doth arrive—The Day of the Baby, the Farting, and the Earthquakes—disbelievers will rue the fact that they ever dismissed Southland Tales.
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