Edgar Wright's Closing Thoughts On McSPACED
Edgar Wright is less than pleased about the way things have played out with the pending US remake of classic UK TV show Spaced and today he weighs in with what he says are his final thoughts on the issue. Once again, because I have major problems direct linking into MySpace blogs, I'm reproducing his entire blog post below.
I was going to try and stay silent on the subject of McSpaced, as it's usually a lot classier to keep your head held high and your trap firmly shut.
Unfortunately, I realised that I was now to be haunted less by the question of us ever doing a third 'series' and more about the idea of this new 'season' of Spaced.
I have just been through a good 32 hour period of e-mails from friends and colleagues that all pretty much contained the same sentiment, "They're doing an American Spaced. What the f???" (And yes they did, on occasion, use multiple question marks).
I have moved to comment on it further for two reasons. The first, and this is the lousy part, is that I'm thoroughly miserable about being dragged into the whole process.
As I said in my previous blogs, I don't personally have any format rights to the show, they belong to Granada USA and I'm pretty sure that while Simon and Jess would get paid for the reversioning of their original scripts, they don't necessarily have the power to call the whole damn thing off. (And I can confirm that Simon at least, would like nothing more than to pull the plug).
Deals for UK directors are not done in the same way as they are in the States and so I don't see any residuals from the new version. Or indeed the original version. That's just the way the deal was done way back in 1998 and while the sitution leaves something of a bittersweet taste for me, I always knew this would be the case. (Hey, I was young! The industry is a con! Someone ought to call a strike...Oh.)
I digress. Aside from all the legal aspects to my involvement, any self respecting fan of the show knows that along with Simon, Jess and Nira Park, I put my heart and soul into that series. So the implication in the trades by Wonderland and Granada USA that we may be involved in this new version absolutely pains me.
As I've said, I wouldn't necessarily want to be involved in a new version of SPACED. We've gone long enough preserving the memory of the original by not doing a third series, not to mention turning down SHAUN TV versions and sequels. Getting involved with this would be a insult to the fans who've supported the show for nearly ten years.
Put simply I wouldn't want to get involved in a new version of the show for fear of it being our very own PHANTOM MENACE.
That said, my beef with the trade announcement is more a matter of principle. I'm told after the fact that the makers of McSpaced had wanted to get us involved, but were told they couldn't pay us to be consultants (great!).
Either way, to not even make a courtesy call prior to making that announcement just a little rude. (And let's not even get started on the fact that Jessica's name was all but erased from the press releases.)
So forgive me for calling out Peter Johnson and co. at Wonderland (who I've never met, obviously) on this one, but if you truly are the huge fans of our work that you profess to be, then would it not have been smart to get in touch before you trumpeted our potential involvement in this?*
It's not like we're the most difficult people to get in touch with either. I'm hardly the Terence Malick of comedy.
I don't especially want to get into a war of words about it, but I am deeply pained that people think I've sold out and am whoring out our baby to a big network for a pile of dirty cash. This could not be further from the truth.
Someone posted on a forum about me, the folllowing. "Way to screw up a classic, you jackass".
Now when, in twenty years time, I release 'SHAUN OF THE DEAD: THE VERSION YOU'VE NEVER SEEN' with a CGI Jabba and the Spider Walk sequence cut back in, then and only then do I deserve such a slur.
Until then, I have to say it hurts a little. I can't stress enough that I'm not involved and am not going to profit from this new enterprise.
That's the lousy part.
The upside of this, is that I'm genuinely touched and taken aback at the fan response to this news of McSpaced. If the huge-fans-of-our-work-at-Wonderland weren't previously aware that there was a loyal fanbase for SPACED, they surely must be now.
A quick skip through the links posted below should show anyone who didn't previously know that there is a deep affection for those 14 episodes. And for that, we are very and have always been very grateful.
My favourite responses? The poster who wrote that this was the worst news "since Johnny Alpha got killed by that big flying monster in 2000AD". Also much kudos go to the person on CHUD whose simple answer to the U.S. version was this;
Anyway, I think I've vented enough spleen for one day and I don't like playing the pessimist anyway. I do know that some of the people mentioned in the Variety story that implied our involvement finally deigned to call my agents and set up a meeting.
Apparently they wanted to pick my brains about how to update the show.
Nice try. At least one day too late methinks.