So, it's time to Welcome Robbie Stamp. As you are no doubt aware, Robbie was close friends with Douglas Adams, he is the person we have to thank for the movie coming to life at all after the stall it was subjected to shortly prior to Douglas' death. Robbie is also executive producer of the movie. Robbie, thank you so much for popping by us today.
I'm ready - lets get started.
We are hearing from some of the reviews of the film that some of the references to God (such as the second half of the babelfish description) are not in the movie. This is a shame but, given the current political climate in America, is perfectly understandible (though I'm glad the more subtle dig at organised religion - Humma and his sermon - is going to be there). What are your thoughts on this and will we see some of these references on the DVD?
Good first question - there has been *no* pressure of any kind whatsoever to take out any of the " God" references. That Guid entry was cut because the pacing at that stage wasnt working. We had too many entries coming on top of each other too quickly. But there is still plenty of Douglas' atheism in the film and the whole Humma plot is right on the nose when it comes to organised religion. And yes look out for the DVD.
It was proposed once that one of the major stumbling blocks in the making of this movie was DNA himself. Do you feel that this movie would've been made if he was still alive? Do you think this movie would meet with his approval?
Start with the easy questions why don't you? My answer to this is simple. None of us would be doing what we are doing now were it not for Douglas and I wish with all my heart that he had lived to see this film becoming real. Would it meet with his apporoval? I really hope so. I feel the responsibility very keenly. I know that he would have loved the care and attention that has been lavishedn on making this happen.
If I donÂ´t get to be there later on, hereÂ´s my question: First of all, hello Mr. Stamp, thank you for being here and for getting this project in gear! One question iÂ´d like to ask you: Have you read MJ SimpsonÂ´s negative review and if yes, how do answer? (IÂ´d like to add that I have full faith in the movie crew to give us a great H2G2 screen adaptation.)
Yes I have read ( some) of Mike's review. I am genuinely sad that he feels that way, genuinely. I know how much he cares about HHGG and I am sure that he took no pleasure in writing that review. Having said that, I would be looking for a log cabin somewhere in Western Alaska if his was the only fan voice that I respect who has pronounced on the movie. But he isnt. In fact his is not the majority opinion. There are many fans whose opinions I respect just as much who loved the movie, genuinely loved it.
Robbie - You've shown incredible stamina with the nonstop interviews. (Thank you, by the way!) However, these interviews are mostly read only by those of us who are already fans. Is anything special being done to tap the much larger audience of Hitchhiker virgins, particularly in the US?
Oh Yes! The early word on the effectivenes of the marketing in both UK US ans Aus is very very good. I am off to New York tomorrow to join the Cast and GArth for the US Press junket and the word is spreading very fast that we have something really special on our hands ( we of course have all known that all along). One of the things about which I am most pleased is taht non fans are loving the movie too and responding to the uniqueness of HHGG. How many movies are there with philosophical whales?
What has been your favorite part of production and creation of this film?
I loved watching the score being recorded. We did that at Ayr Studios with George ( Sir George!) Martin and Paul Macartney ( Sir Paul!) watching and then we were at Abbey Road to record the opening song. How pleased would Douglas have been about that?
What's in store for you, when all's said and done about the movie? Evaluation meetings to decide on a sequel, or are you off to do something completely different?
No I will stay with the sequels if there are any and there are quite a few brand new ideas of Douglas' which he and I talked about and are on his hard drive which the Estate would love to see become "real' - radio, TV and more movies.
Robbie, The bulk of information about the film has come from snippets picked up on the internet with trailers and soforth coming very late in the day. This seems to me a very Douglassy way to do things. Do you think he would have approved?
I hope so. We were very clear at the beginning that we didnt want to go a traditional route with marketing HHGG. HHGG is about being different and I hope that we've kep that feeling alive. D would certainly have wanted us to make maximum use of the Internet.
After watching the guide featurette, I now really would like to have my own guide. In the future, is there any chance we will be able to buy guide replicas with deleted entries, more ones and maybe even be able to download extra entries? I would love to be able to be sitting outside with friends, and randomly say "You know, the guide has a very interesting entry about towels...", pull out the guide and listen and watch the entry.
Well as you know back in the days of TDV and h2g2 this was very much something that Douglas and I and the fabulous team there were working on. All I can say is watch this space, I'm working on it!
If a sequel was made, who do you think would be best to write it?
Well Karey did a great job but there are one or two other people I have in mind too. Cant say more at the moment.
Does the almost simulataneous release of the film in the US, UK and Australia mean that we in Australia won't get any cast or crew down here for the premiere?
I'm not sure what the plans for the Aus opening are. I think that the "big" World Premiere is here in London - which seems fitting to me. I'm looking forward to walking down the red carpet even though nobody will want my picture!
We are all a bit curious as to why Fook and Lunkwill are apparently being played by children. Any answers/hints/insights?
We went through alot of ideas on this one - alot. In the end we thought we would screen test some children and found these two who just have a slightly "wierd" vibe about them. It just makes that scene feel a little bit "stranger" in the movie. See what you think when you see the movie but we thin its worked well. I can *assure* people that there was no " cast kids cos its Disney" pressures on this.
Was it Douglas himself or Karey who decided to cut back on the jokes/ dialogue in scenes such as the Prosser/ Arthur scene? (versus the books, radio versions etc) ?
I would have to go back to D's last script to be sure on this but there were plenty of examples in D's script of cutting back on dialogue, shoreting guide entries etc. In the end its all about the differences in pacing for a movie vs a book vs radio. Douglas was always keen to make sure that HHGG worked in its new medium - with all that means in terms of constraints and possibilities. Any time we have cut or Douglas cut it was based on a judgement about what was working for a movie. But there are so many recoginisable lines in the movie. I know that the fans who have seen it ( MJ aside) dont feel short changed. But I know how much everybody cares about this issue - its at the heart of what we have done.
Do you have an idea as to how deleted scenes will be handled for the DVD? Will there be an "extended version" of the film or will the scenes simply be a seperate bonus feature?
I dont think we are planning an "extended" version so there will be deleted scenes and some fake deleleted scenes too!
Is there anything that has been cut from the movie that you wish hadn't been?
For me the "litmus" test scene was the whale - its the one that sums up everything that makes Douglas a genius. It comes at a moment when the movie should be driving towards the end but we go off on this digressioin that has not plot relevance. Its pure HHGG - invention, ideas and humour. Not a response about cutting I know but the honest answer is that there isnt really anything which I miss too much ( maybe one line but I'm not goint to tell you which one, though its been hinted at in an earlier question!)
And the final question: what is your fondest memory of Douglas Adams?
There are many many so I will answer this particular group with a very very personal answer. My father died the day before Douglas did and my mother in law was at home looking after my children while my wife was the hospital with me. Douglas called and spoke to my mother in law for half an hour, just wanting news being in touch ( he had never met Sylvia). So there was this famous man, just being concerned for his friend and taking time with somebody he barely new. Douglas was just a great guy and I miss him very much indeed.
Right, that wraps it up. Thank you so much for popping by, Robbie! Absolutely nice! Good luck! And thanks all for submitting questions. Lovely work.
You are all very welcome and Garth and Nick and I and everybody involved know how much this all means to you and really hope that you do love the addition to the HHGG story. good night.