Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Frequently Updated Answers (FUA)
(courtesy of lastchancetosee
, Nicolas Botti
and The Duke of Dunstable)
How could Hollywood ever do justice to Douglas Adams' work?
This film is being directed and produced largely by British people. One of the executive producers of the film, Robbie Stamp, was a close friend and collegue of Douglas Adams, and his family have been closely involved with the production (his daughter, wife, brother, sisters and mother will even have cameos), so as much has been done as possible to ensure that Douglas's legacy is not sullied.
I hear this will be a Disney film. True?
No. It's going to be a Douglas Adams movie which will be distributed by Disney, Buena Vista and Touchstone. It is being made by an independent production company called Spyglass.
Who is directing the film/writing the screenplay?
The film is being directed by Garth Jennings, one half of the team of music video directors known as Hammer and Tongs. The script was written by Douglas Adams himself before his death, and has been edited and polished by Karey Kirkpatrick (Chicken Run), Garth Jennings and Robbie Stamp. Yes, they are making it from Douglas' script, it's Douglas' movie.
A music video director? Like Michael Bay? And Simon West? And McG? And Tarsem? And Russell Mulcahy? AAARGH!
Indeed. A music video director. Like Michael Bay, but also like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind's Michel Gondry, or indeed Being John Malkovich's Spike Jonze, who was originally offered Hitchhikers, but suggested these two instead. Their videos have included a number of minor gems, such as Fatboy Slim's Right Here, Right Now, and Blur's Coffee and TV. Check out their website at http://www.tongsville.com
Will this movie be faithful to the book(s)?
No. It is its own entity, just as Douglas Adams intended it to be when he wrote the screenplay. The books are not the original incarnation of Hitchhikers. They are adaptations of radio plays. Those plays were subsequently adapted into LP albums, stage productions, a TV series, and a videogame. In none of these forms was there any attempt to slavishly adhere to the letter of any one version. New ideas were written in, old ideas were written out, plots expanded and characters altered. Hitchhikers, by its very nature, is fluid, so expect the story of the film to differ markedly from the books as you remember them.
Mos Def as Ford Prefect? What have they been smoking?
This is the most oft-posted complaint on the boards, and yes, as a casting decision it is out of left-field. But then, throwing from left-field been Hitchhikers style from the beginning. There are three issues people continuously raise: first, that he's a rapper, second, that he's American, and third, that he's black. The third should not even be an issue. Ford's skin colour has no bearing on his character. Some people who complain about this seem to think that all British people are white, which, just for the record, is NOT TRUE. Yes Douglas did (vaguely) describe Ford as white in the books but, again, the books are not the final authority on Hitchhikers. See above. As for him being a rapper, well yes, he has rapped, but he has also recieved an Emmy nomination for his acting. Garth Jennings, the director, has already said that to portray Ford as a hip-hop character would be, and I quote, "the most appalling thing ever in the history of the world", so you probably have little to worry about on that regard. As to him being American, well, so what? Are you seriously suggesting that this fictious movie, which will be a sci-fi comedy, should stick to reality?
As a side note; here's a note from Garth jennings and Nick Goldsmith, telling us how Mos Def got cast:
GARTH: "Our casting director, Susie Figgis, had seen Mos in a play called Top Dog/Underdog and thought he would be great for the part. Nick and I only knew him as a musician but met with him on the strength of Susie's recommendation. We instantly clicked with him. Mos really is from another planet. Planet Mos. The idea of him sat next to Martin Freeman in a rural pub, downing pints as fast as he can and saying lines like, "What if I told you I wasn't really from Guildford," really appealed to us. He is an extremely intelligent and funny man, full of wonderful ideas for his character, from his clothes right down to 'how to shake hands with a car.' After we met with Mos we really couldn't imagine anyone we'd rather see carrying a towel across the galaxy."
NICK: "Mos was so excited when we originally met him for the part, that I remember his legs shaking. We never thought he was an obvious choice, but then that is what makes the Ford character so interesting. The chemistry between Mos and Martin is fantastic, they are like The Odd Couple."
So will Mos Def perform Ford with a british accent then?
No, why should he? I think it's safe to say that one or two people with american accents have lived or are, indeed, currently living in the UK.
That's supposed to be Marvin/The Heart of Gold on the pictures I've seen? That isn't how they're supposed to look!
Again, you're thinking of the books, which, I repeat, are not and never were the definitive version of Hitchhikers, for the simple reason that there is no definitive version. In fact, not even Douglas himself had a clear idea of how Marvin looks:
I described him differently for the film script - he's not silver anymore, he's the color of a black Saab Turbo. He isn't so square, either, he needs a kind of stooping quality: on one hand, he's designed to be dynamic and streamlined and beautiful. But he holds himself the wrong way, so the design has gone completely to naught because he looks pathetic. Utterly pathetic. The patheticness comes from his attitude to himself rather than his inherent design.
And as for The Heart Of Gold, having a flying tennis shoe buzzing round on the screen would just look silly and probably wouldn't fit the production design. Also remember, the movie is Douglas', Garths and the rest of the production units visions of the story combined.
And what's this I hear about Zaphods second head coming out of his nose?!
Hey, we all have days like that, don't we? But Zaphods head will NOT come out of his nose. That was a joke that got spread in serious circumstances. So keep your chin up.
Was Robert Downey jr really in talks about the role as Zaphod?
Yes, he was. We don't know why the deal wasn't closed, but they sure managed to find a worthy substitute in Sam Rockwell.
So what's the current state of the movie?
As of late August 2004, when principal filming wrapped, the film is in what is technically known as "post production". This means that the crew is now busy with implementing the effects, recording sound and putting voices to Marvin and the Vogons et al.
When can we expect a proper trailer, with actual footage from the actaul movie in it?
Hahaha, "footage" is a funny word! And why don't you spell it "Phootage"? But anyway, this is a good place: http://www.totta.nu/trailers
When will the movie premiere?
April 28. Not long now.
Is that date world wide?
You wish. I wish. But no, the Buena Vista/distributor sections of each individual country decides when the film is released there. They base their decisions on competition and available theatres. The list, as far as we know at the moment, looks like this:
Australia - April 28
Great Britain - April 28
USA - April 29
Canada - May 6
Iceland - May 6
Czech Republic - June 2
Brazil - June 3
Argentina - June 9
Poland - June 10
Austria - June 16
Germany - June 16
Belgium - June 29
Netherlands - June 30
Finland - July 22
Sweden - July 27
Norway - July 29
Denmark - August 12
France - August 17
Who will be voicing the Guide?
That is going to be done by Douglas' old friend, actor and author Stephen Fry, whom you might remember from things like Blackadder, Jeeves and Wooster, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Peters Friends, Wilde, and so on. He's been a favourite among many of the fans for a long time, but there are of course fans that are a bit disappointed. It's inevitable.
Iâ€™ve read the reviews from the test screenings and some of them say things like the movie looks cheap and the effects look retro and things like that. That makes me worried.
Don't be. What they have seen is a test screening of a rough cut. It's not the final product. The production team will scrutinize these reviews and find the things that they have in common and make the necessary editing. So don't panic. Here's a review
that is more fair, from somebody who actually knows
what a test screening is and what to expect from it.
1. Keep in mind that the number of people who saw the movie and
have posted reviews (as opposed to the speculators) is quite, quite
2. Many reviews complain about the changes made to the story, but these changes were made by Douglas himself. He WROTE the bloody script, it's excellent, it's funny, it's news and we should all be bloody happy that he did write it. Any complaints you have about it can be handed to him when you pass his table at Milliways. In your own sweet time, of course.
3. What all these people saw at the test screening was a ROUGH CUT of an UNFINISHED product. The FX wasn't there, the score wasn't there. Hell, it's quite possible that a microphone still dipped into frame every once in a while. Strip off 20-25 percent of a movie experience, and that's what you get on a test screening. Again; Don't Panic.[/b]