Chris Noonan has so far only delivered one follow up to his breakout smash Babe, and that was 2006’s Miss Potter, a film that failed to come anywhere near the impact of his farmyard fairytale. He’s been working, though, and has been attached to several films along the way.
One of these was an adaptation of Russell Banks’ Rule of the Bone, a convention-twisting young adult novel about a teenaged rebel who commits himself to a life of crime and delinquency. At the same time – some six years ago now – he was also attached to a big screen version of the Fox Kids toon The Incredible Crash Dummies, something I personally remember primarily from a tie-in Gameboy game.
At the time, this film was given the working title Crash Dummies: Adventures in the Far-Gone. Sounds like a crazy caper for kids, all about getting mangled in a car accident and then getting up to jolly japes in the afterlife. The wickedly curious side of me kind of hopes it is, somehow.
Today news comes that the film is still being prepped. Producer Doug Lodato has been speaking to Hollywood Today about his unusual financing plans for the project, and in the meantime confirming Noonan’s continued involvement and the addition of some other talent to the crew:
If we could do with Crash Dummies what he did with talking pigs, it would work at the end of the day. We also brought in Dave Elsey who was the creature creator of last Star Wars and was nominated for an Oscar. I am trying to assemble a superb team.
Noonan’s definitely a talent, I’ll give him that, and the words Star Wars and Oscar must look great to potential investors.
In a nutshell, Lodato’s financing technique is to get backers from outside of the film industry. Here’s his explanation of why this would work:
The concept of the fund, and what makes it so innovative and attractive, is to raise some of the print and ad money – the key component when talking about franchises. What we are doing is to go ahead and make this franchise film with this academy award level talent all across the board, in a series of jurisdictions, that means anywhere from 40% or above of the budget is covered risk free so it has nothing to do with the performance of the film which lowers the break tremendously. We also save on cost because we don’t have the studio overhead or development process on our backs, which always inflates the budget. We also have the P&A money attached because we are part of the fund. If we connect the dots it should be a successful venture.
Right. Okay. I won’t even pretend I’m going to take the time to sniff that out fully.
Back in 2004 Noonan was scripting the film, and it looked like Lodato might direct, but the Hollywood Today article explicitly references “the direction of Chris Noonan.” For other films that Lodato will try to mount afterwards under the same funding principles, it seems that he’s got director Greg McClatchy on board, though as yet he’s not even giving a hint of what these pictures might be.