I have to tell you that I am flat out amazed that there is going to be a movie based on The Monkey Wrench Gang. Edward Abbey’s classic 1975 novel (buy it here!) is about a group of people who sabotage industrial development – it’s like a comic novel with Earth First! as the heroes. This is the sort of thing that will surely have Fox News in 24 overdrive. These people are technically terrorists, for the love of God!
And they’re great. It’s a great book, and the message about the destruction of the Earth is getting sadly more and more timely. Hell, pretty soon it’s going to be too late. This is a movie that really needs to be made, and it’s the kind of movie that I couldn’t have imagined being made even a year ago. It’s an exciting time in the movie world, where politics is creeping into everything – and where some movies are just getting in your face political. And in the end I am going to bet that Americans are more in tune with Abbey’s desire to save the planet than with President Bush and the GOP’s never ending desire to rape the shit out of it for the benefit of very, very few.
Catherine Hardwicke, who directed a favorite movie of mine this year (a fave, but not ultimately a top tenner), Lords of Dogtown, will be helming this madness, and she spoke to UGO about Dogtown’s DVD release, and she spilled some beans about the film – namely what famed script doctor is stepping in.
UGO: Who are you thinking of casting in The Monkey Wrench Gang?
CATHERINE: The four characters are a 50-year-old guy who is an eccentric doctor that burns down billboards in the middle of the night, a very dynamic girl in her late 20s named Bonnie who’s very dynamic, another guy named Seldom Seen Smith who is in his 30s, then the last character is a ex-Vietnam vet in his 20s. So it’s four parts almost written for major stars. We hope that some of those glittering stars in the universe are going to want to do it but I can’t say yet because it’s not definite. But William Goldman is doing a rewrite on it. They took the draft that another writer and I had written and they said, "Well, listen, maybe we might be a little more like a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kidand make it more mythic." So we hired Goldman to do it. He’s entering the rewrite in about a week or two. It’s up his alley so I’m really excited about that.
I stopped being a fan of Goldman some time ago – I think he has degenerated into base hackery. But his name still retains a golden aura in Hollywood, and his hiring means only good things for the future of this film, as far as it getting made, at least.