At that point, I was transferring all my old blog posts over to their new home at jinx.co.uk and decided to purge nearly all references to the horrible experience that was SvW from the new site. I also feel uncomfortable with negativity in general, and felt that since the point had been made I probably didn't need to leave it hanging around like a dark cloud.
In light of news articles of the last couple of days, I thought it might be worth reinstating.
Look back through the whole damn blog and I suspect you'll not come across many instances of me being negative about anything very much. It's not my style and it's not the way I operate. SvW has been, as I'm sure you guys are aware, a project of mine since about 2008 but has got roots going a lot deeper. As I explained in an interview with The Clapper Bored a while back the idea actually came from double-bill VHS tapes that I used to compile from Sky Movies back in the 90s. Me and 'Strippers vs' as a turn of phrase go back a long way; it's even a concept that I sometimes referenced when performing stand-up in the late nineties.
I was reading an interview with Simon Phillips yesterday, one of the producers of the eventual SvW movie. When asked how the project came about, he offers the following delightful fictional anecdote: "Jonathan Sothcott came up with the idea about 2 years ago on a drunken night out that we were having at another one of our film premieres" Now, Jonathan Sothcott is another of the producers of the eventual film version. He's the person who sent the initial email enquiring about the script in 2010, at which point I'd never heard of him. Jonathan Sothcott's version of the story does manage to acknowledge my existence, even if it gets cause and effect bass-ackwards; the reason it arrived 'out of the blue' was because he'd sent me an email requesting to read it. The flick was already listed for production at Jinx, and Jonathan Sothcott was apparently interested in getting involved as a 'hands-off' co-producer. After a good first impression, I signed up as writer and director on the project. I was quite enthusiastic about the whole thing as you can see from blog entries around that time.
The focus shifted away from being a co-production as initially agreed, and became a Black & Blue production only. I'm not going to go into the whole blow-by-blow of why what followed became such a miserable experience, but here's a partial summary. I was, very quickly, no longer the director. The script was extensively rewritten without my consultation or involvement, which was completely against the terms of my carefully-negotiated contract and felt oddly invasive as well as being massively depressing. These rewrites weren't actually revealed to me until after production had completed, and I found out some time later that whilst I was sending cheerful "Any further rewrites you need, just ask" emails to Jonathan Sothcott, key players such as Jonathan Glendening and Phill Barron were actively being told not to speak to me under any circumstances (for reasons I can't quite fathom). Actually, mentioning Jonathan Glendening and Phill Barron I feel that I should make something clear; both strike me as good, professional people who were doing difficult jobs under difficult circumstances. In fact, I felt like I'd been pretty hard done-by at the end of the day, until I started speaking to some of the other people who'd been involved in this and various other productions involving the same producers.
At the end of the day, at least I got paid.
Sothcott/Phillips new company appear to have announced a flick called 'Strippers vs Vampires', which certainly can't be a sequel, despite any appearances to the contrary, because developing such a thing without my involvement would be... Ah, what's the point? Jonathan Sothcott and Simon Phillips (neither of whom, just in case you've lost track, wrote or directed the movie) have recorded a commentary for the DVD, in which Jonathan Sothcott's Twitter feed states that he 'slagged off the wankers'. No idea if I'm included in that group term for the people he's worked with, since I haven't really got any idea why I got 'shut out' in the first place, but I'm sure it'll be an interestingly heart-breaking thing to listen to... The absolute opposite of the lovely, supportive environment that I've always experienced on shoots previously and since.
There's a big red-carpet premiere of Strippers vs Werewolves tonight in Leicester Square. I thought long and hard about whether to attend; on one hand, I'd have to fake-smile my way through the culmination of a process that has been the worst of my career. On the other hand, Strippers vs Werewolves has been a Pat Higgins thing since the last millennium, so surely I should be around for the big finale. After all, it's not every day you get the chance to go see a movie you initially wrote on your iPhone screening in the middle of the West End. Luckily, the producers saved me the fake-smile moral dilemma by not actually inviting me.
I hear that the director, Jonathan Glendening, won't be there either. I imagine that's a whole other story.