The First Unofficial HHGG Movie Site


 

This site promoted itself as The First Unofficial HHGG Movie Site. You may or may not agree with that descriptive, but it sure has a lot of information.
Content is from the site's 2005 archived pages.

 

 

Dont panic
 
 
 
1) The first non official hitchhiker's movie website (updated almost daily!)
 
The first unofficial h2g2 movie website
 
2) The Ultimate Douglas Adams portal (OFFLINE BUT BACK SOON)
 
hte ultimate douglas adams portal
 
3) A biographical website about Douglas Adams
 
hte ultimate douglas adams portal
 
4) The first Hitchhiker's radio series unofficial website !
 

 



 

An introduction to h2g2
 
 
This is a website dedicated to the movie adaptation of
"The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" (h2g2).

But if you're not a fan, maybe you'd like some informations
about h2g2. So here we go!
 
 
The radio series : the begining of the legend
 
Douglas Adams Douglas Adams created "The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" as a six part radio series for the BBC (Radio 4) at the end of the seventies. Douglas was then a 25 years old absolute anonymous, if you except a not very productive collaboration with Graham Chapman (of Monty Pythons' fame).

"The Hitch Hiker's guide to the galaxy" was the first attempt to make some SF radio comedy with great sound effects (Douglas "wanted Hitch-Hiker's to sound like a rock album").

When the first series was broadcasted between march and april 1978, it became quickly a huge success. "By the time of the first three or four episodes the place has gone absolutly made. I think six publishing companies rang up, and four record companies" told John Lloyd (co-writer of episodes 5 and 6) to Neil Gaiman years later (in "Dont panic"/Titan books).

A seventh episode, the Christmas special, was broadcasted at the end of 1978. A second series will even be recorded. Five new episodes were aired at the begining of 1980. This five episodes contain a lot of exclusive material that will never be used again in the following versions of the guide (as the planet Brontitall).

But "the hitchhiker's to the galaxy" is not just a radio series (even if it's one of the best you'll ever hear). It's also five books written by Douglas, a text based computer game from 1982, an official towel, a six part tv series from the BBC, some DC comics, some successfull LPs, several plays, an illustrated book, a still very active fan community, and now a MOVIE!!
 
 
But what is this damn story really about ?
 
Douglas AdamsWell it's difficult to summarize H2g2. But let's try to make an introduction. Of course it's not a summary of the movie but of the previous versions of h2g2 which sometimes contradict themselves.

It's the story of a perfectly ordinary human being from England called Arthur Dent. One morning, he finds himself lying in front of a huge yellow bulldozer because a man from the local council, called Prosser, is trying to drive a bypass through his house. While Arthur is arguing with Prosser, his old friend Ford Prefect turns up, brings Arthur in a pub, and tells him that he's not from Guilford after all, but from a small planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse! His real job is researcher for an odd book as popular as inacurate, "The hitch-hiker's guide to the galaxy". Even more important, the earth is going to be destroyed by the evil Vogons to build a hyperspace express route.

Thanks to Ford, Arthur is going to flee from earth a few seconds before the vogon ships beams of demolition are energized. In fact Arthur and Ford got a lift, and are now in the Vogons construction ship! They will now have to face Vogon poetry, dying in the vacuum of space, the strange logic of the Infinite Improbability Drive, happy doors, the Ravenous Bugblatter beast of Trall, towels, a sperm whale, mice, humane cops, hair...

They also will have to find the question to the ultimate answer of the life, the universe and everything (the answer being 42). They will be helped in their quest by the infamous part-time galactic president Zaphod Breeblebrox, the maniaco depressive robot Marvin and the quite pretty and intelligent girl whose name is Trillian and who also escaped from earth a short time before the earth got destroyed.
 
The main characters (with pics and words from previous incarnations)
 
 

Arthur is a prefectly common human being, he is introduced in the radio series as "a six feet ape descendant". We learn a little more about him in the books. In the first book, he is decribed as about thirty years old, "tall, dark haired and never quite at ease with himself". He leaves in a very unremarkable house in the english country for three years when the Hitchhiker's story begins. Before he lived in London, but had to move out because it made him "nervous and irritable". He works in a local radio. Of course he loves tea, and is not very at ease with women (Trillian and later Fenchurch).

"This must be thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays."

"I woke up this morning and thought I'd have a nice relaxed day, do a bit of reading, brush the dog... It's now just after four in the afternoon, and I'm already being thrown out of an alien spaceship five lights years from the smocking remains of the earth".

"... Is there any tea on this spaceship?"

"It's only getting through me... a whole alien world, millions of light years from home. Pity it's such a dump though."
 
arthur
 
 
 

Ford is a researcher for the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the galaxy". He's been jamed on earth during fifteen years. He pretends to be an out-of work actor, born in Guilford, and chose the name Ford Prefect because he thought it was "nicely inconspicuous". Arhtur Dent is one of his best friend on earth. He is described in the first book as being "not conspicuously tall, his features were striking but not conspicuously handsome. His hair was wiry and gingerish and bushed backwards from the temple. His skin seemed to be pulled backwards from the nose. There was something very slightly odd about him, but it was difficult to say what it was. Perhaps it was that his eyes didn't seem to blink often enough... Perhaps it was that he smiled slightly too broadly... He struck most of the friends he has made on Earth as an eccentric, but a harmless one..."

"How would you react if I said that I'm not from Guilford at all, but from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse?"

( To Arthur) "What do you mean you've met? This is Zaphod Breeblebrox from Betlegeuse Five you know, not bloody Martin Smith from Croydon."

"I wish I had two heads like yours, Zaphod. I could have hours of fun banging them against a wall."

"I read of one planet off in the seventh dimension that used as a ball in a game of intergallactic bar billiards. Got potted straight into a black hole, killed ten billion people."
 
ford
 

 
 

Zaphod is "the man who invented the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, ex-confidence trickster, part-time Galactic President, one described by Eccentrica Gallumbits as the Best Bang since the Big One, and recently voted the Worst Dressed Sentient Being in the Universe for the seventh time running" (episode 2). He's got two heads and three arms, is Ford's semi cousin (they share three of the same mothers ). Oh, and he has stolen the Heart Of Gold, the new Improbability Drive prototype ship.

"Look I'm here with cool OK? I am so amazingly cool you could keep a side of meat in me for a month. I am so hip I have difficulty seeing over my pelvis. Now, will you move before I blow it?"

"Hell, I've lost my adrenalin pills".

"Ford : What is you're after?
Zaphod : Well, it's partly the curiosity, partly a sense of adventure, but mostly I think it's the fame and the money."

(To Arthur) : "Hey look Earthman. You've got a job to do, remember? The question to the Ultimate answer, right? There's a lot of money tied up in that head thing of yours. I mean just think of the merchandising.... Ultimate Question Biscuits, Ultimate Question T-shirts...".
 
 

 
 

Trillian (Tricia Mc Millan) is also from Earth. She's "beautiful, charming and devastingly intelligent" according to Arthur (she has a degree in maths and another in astrophysics). Zaphod met her at a party and took her away with him while Arthur was trying to seduce her.

"Same as you, Arthur. I hitched a ride. After all, with a degree in maths and another in astrophysics it was either that or back to the dole queue on Monday. Sorry I missed the Wednesday lunch date, but I was in a black hole all morning."

"Zaphod, can we stabilise at X zero zero 547 by splitting our flight path tangentially accross the summit vector of 9GX78 with a five degree inertial correction?

"Hey, my white mice have escaped".
 
trillian
 
 
 

Marvin is part of a new generation of Sirius Cybernetics Corporation robots and computers. Well, he's a prototype whith Genuine People Personalities. Obviously he's one of the greatest mistakes in all the cybernetics history. He's got a "brain the size of a planet", but he's also paranoid and utterly depressed : "Life, don't talk to me about life...".

"Here I am, brain the size of a planet and they tell me to take you up to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction? 'Cause I dont."

"What are you supposed to do if you are a manically depressed robot? No, don't try to answer that. I'm fifty thusand times more intelligent than you and even I dont know the answer. It gives me a headache just trying to think down to your level."

"Making it up? Why should I want to make anything up? Life's bad enough as it is without wanting to invent anymore of it".
 
marvin
 
If you want to know more about....
 
 
 
 


- The h2g2 trilogy in five books is avalaible in many contries. The complete radio series are avalaible in BBC cds. You can also purchase the radio scripts (Pan Books). The TV series is also avalaible in DVD with a lot of bonus (makin of,...).

- "Dont panic. Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" Neil Gaiman. Updates by David K. Dickson and MJ Simpson (Titan Books)

- "The completely and utterly unauthorized guide to the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" MJ Simpson (Pocket Essentials)
 
 
Douglas Adams


- His other books are all fabulous : The Dirk Gently series ("DG's holistic agency" and "The long dark tea time of the soul"), "Last Chance to see" (a great non fiction travel book about endangered species), "The meaning of Liff" ( a strange dictionary for words that dont exist but definitly should, co-wrote with John Lloyd) and the posthumous "Salmon of Doubt" (collection of essays, interviews and articles PLUS the unfinished third Dirk Gently's novel).

- Two excellent and very different biographies have been published : MJ Simpson's "Hitchhiker" (Hodder and Stoughton, 2003) and Nick Webb's "Wish you were here" (Headline, 2003).

 



 

H2G2 movie : the development hell
 
 

Here is the quite long, and sometimes anecdotic, story of the h2g2 movie development hell. It begins in 1979 and finishes in 2003 with the movie project being finally greenlit. There are certainly some mistakes but well what a long and complicated story ! Of course if you find some mistakes or things i forgot then email me. (LAST UPDATE : 06 Agust 04)

I want to thank my sources : First MJ Simpson invaluable work and help, Nick Webb's biography, Floor42, douglasadams.com, douglasadams.se and others...
Many thanks to Alain Omer Duranceau who help me to polish this text.
 
 
1979 : the beginning
 
The idea of a film version is being discussed but much is quite informal. The name of George Lucas even appears somewhere sometimes but nobody seems to remember exactly if it was much more than a rumour.
 
August 82 : TV and soon movie?
 
After the success of the BBC TV adaptation, Douglas tells to interviewers that « there is now quite a good chance that there is soon to be a film ». He is very enthusiastic too with the technical innovations shown in Tron : "The film was terrible but the techniques for transferring computer graphics directly to film were quite fascinating. Now, suddenly, we have not only the technology but also an audience skilled at picking up visual images".
 
Décember 82 : First signing with Columbia
 
First signing for a movie adaptation with Columbia Pictures. Douglas Adams deals with the script, Ivan Reitman (future director of Ghostbusters and Rainman) is the producer and Ron Cobb (Alien, Conan The barbarian) is part of the project as well. The movie should be out in 1985...
 
Early 83 : Douglas moves to L.A.
 
Douglas rents a house in Coldwater Canyon (Los Angeles) with Jane (future Miss Douglas) and is left alone to write his stuff.
 
September 83 : First draft... too long
 
The first draft of the screenplay is shown to Columbia. It's 250 pages which is far too long. The motion picture giant is nevertheless looking for a director.
 
October 85 : Another scriptwriter is hired
 
Abbie Bernstein, an other writer, is hired to rewrite the script.
 
June 86 : Worst h2g2 script ever written?
 
Bernstein gives his script to Columbia. He has done an awful work which is being very criticised. Sadly it also circulated a lot. Douglas will say some years later : "It's the worst script I've ever read. Unfortunately, it has my name on it... whereas I did not contribute a single comma to it.... I'm appalled to think how much harm that script have done my reputation over the years."
 
Later in 86 : Reitman doesn't like 42
 
Reitman thinking that forty two is NOT a good answer, and that instead the movie needs a big finish, Douglas understands that he is trapped. The movie's rights return to Columbia.
 
1987 : Another team but...
 
Producer David Puttnam (The Killing Fields, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express,...) works on the project. Max Headroom's creators and Ron Lord (creator of the visuals for the h2g2 TV series) are approached, but, in May, the film definitely goes into limbo.
 
1992 : Douglas meets Michael Nesmith
 
Douglas meets Michael Nez Nesmith, TV and film producer (and also former member of The Monkees' rock band). Douglas is sure that Michael will help him to make the movie. With Ed Victor's help, Douglas buys the film rights back from Columbia for $350.000. He stays in Nesmith's ranch in Santa Fe to write a new screenplay. James Cameron (Terminator, Titanic) is one of the directors who is said to be interested in the project. Once the script finished, Michael Nesmith presents the H2G2 movie project here and there but fails to attract any bid. "I just think that Hollywood at that point saw the thing as old" said Douglas in 1998.
 
October 93 : Douglas still believes in the movie
 
In an interview with "Mostly Harmless", magazine of the international fan club ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, Douglas says that he is sure the movie will finally be made.
 
July 95 : The movie.... in Any decade now
 
On a MSN webchat, Douglas says "he is very confident that it will actually go into production any decade now. When? I want to know when too".
 
August 96 : Mike Nesmith is no longer in the running
 
In an interview to SFX Magazine, Douglas says "My agent and I have changed completely on that one. Mike Nesmith is no longer in the running although we parted very amicably and are still the best of friends. But it's in the hands of someone completely different, who plans something very radical and exciting. However, as negotiations are at a delicate stage, I still can't unfortunately give anything away."
 
1996-1997 : Douglas gets excited about a possible IMAX version
 
"There are always plans for a movie, and I'm confident it will be made any decade now. It fits into 100 minutes very hardly. Basically it doesn't fit. The current plan, which I find very exciting, is to make a series of 40 minute IMAX movies."

(US newspaper, 10/96)

"I'm tremendously excited about IMAX, because I don't feel it's been used properly... What I realised was that you don't have to use the whole of the screen all the time, or you can use different parts of it. So I can imagine the Hitch-Hiker's movie opening Arthur Dent's bedroom in the bottom corner of the screen and there's Arthur waking up and so on. The rest of the screen is black, and at first you think it's blank, but then gradually you can see that there are stars in the darkness, and there's a Vogon Constructor Fleet moving through the darkness. I think this has tremendous potential. The other advantage of IMAX is that IMAX films are only at most about forty minutes long. The problem with trying to adapt Hitch-Hiker into a film script is that it has completely the wrong structure. A film has to have a certain structure and the story of Hitch-Hiker simply does not have that, and having spent years trying to shoehorn it into that structure, I've realised that it's never going to fit. Hitch-Hiker's was written in episodes, and by filming it this way, it can return to the episodic format it's designed for, which it fits. I don't know when the Hitch-Hiker film will happen. As I say, I'm planning other films, possibly the Starship Titanic movie, before then. But I would still
like to do it, and I think I have now found a way in which it might work."

(Mostly Harmless' newsletter, 9/6/97)

"There was talk at one point of doing a series of IMAX movies of HHGG (maybe 3D, maybe not). I liked the idea a lot, but what I was told fairly forcibly was that there were not nearly enough IMAX theatres to make it economically viable. Pity. However, we have talked about maybe making an IMAX version of the movie alongside the regular one. But this is just talk at the moment, nothing more. No one has figured out the actual feasibility of a dual project yet. It's just an interesting idea."

(www.douglasadams.com, 23/1/99)
 
1997 : Douglas chooses Jay Roach and Spyglass
 
Robbie Stamp and Douglas Adams go to Los Angeles to meet a variety of potential producers. They choose to work with Jay Roach (Austin Powers) and Robert Birnbaum (working at Caravan which will become Spyglass). Douglas is straight away very enthusiastic about Jay : "The key to the whole thing was when I met Jay Roach... Here's a measure of how bright and intelligent he is : he wants me to work very closely on his movie".
 
6 January 98 : Disney says yes
 
After an eighteen months long negotiation, Disney buys the movie rights. Douglas and Robbie are executive producers. Jay Roach will direct the movie. Douglas gets quickly upset by worries from the fans who think that Disney will just produce a marketing movie : "There's a lot of misunderstandings about the fact that it this is going to be a Disney movie. Disney is a huge media empire and it doesn't just make Walt Disney pictures. Yes it made Bambi (first movie I ever saw), but it also made Pulp Fiction... The actual production company is Caravan, an independent company closely allied with Disney. "
 
13 September 98 : Douglas wants to kill rumours
 
"Jim Carrey is not going to play Arthur Dent. Here's a clue to why not. Arthur Dent is English. All the casting at the moment is highly speculative. Nobody has been cast... Now that the contract is signed, I am about to deliver a first draft of the new screenplay. Other than me, nobody has seen it. Jay is about to go into production of Austin Powers 2. I will do rewrites to the screenplay after Jay, Roger (Birnbaum for Caravan-Spyglass) and Disney have reacted to it. Once everyone is happy that it's right, casting will start. If all goes according to current intentions we should be filming next summer for release in the following summer. That's it. Anything else is hearsay and Chinese whispers. Especially the stuff from unnamed 'reliable source'. I'd like to try an experiment, and here it is : I hereby categorically deny that the part of Arthur Dent is going to be played by Oprah Winfrey".
 
25 January 99 : Douglas has got ideas about the music
 
On Douglasadams.com, Douglas writes that "I do have ideas about how music might work for the movie... I imagine we might end up with something which is a mix of favourite old tracks and some specially commissioned stuff where it's necessary. Luckily the producer, Roger Birnbaum, is a great music fan, and in fact came from the music biz originally".
 
1999 : The big mistake?
 
The project is greenlit for $45 millions, while Douglas and Jay expected $80 M. Douglas does not seize the offer.
 
14 April 99 : Douglas emails Disney
 
Douglas send an email to David Vogel from Walt Disney picture. "We seem to have gotten to a place where the problems appear to loom larger than the opportunities. I don't know if I'm right in thinking this, but i only have silence to go on, which is always a poor source of information. [...] I could be in L.A. for next Monday (4/19) or early the following week. I would invite Disney to bear the cost of this extra trip over. I’ve appended a list of numbers you can reach me on. If you manage not to reach me, I shall know you're not trying to, very, very hard indeed"
 
 
May 2000 : A script has leaked!
 
Robbie Stamps reports : « It appears that the script was leaked. I just got this mail from our CEO. Do they let early versions of scripts out for people to review? Having just got back from L.A. I can say that this was a leak pure and simple and *should not have happened. »
 
21 june 00 : Douglas sees the end of the tunnel
 
Douglas Adams writes on his website's forum this message : "There are a lot of new developments at the moment, none of which I can share with you. But there is one solid, straightforward piece of good news I can pass on, which is that I finished an all-new draft of the screenplay last week and Jay loves it. It's the first time in all these years that we've had a screenplay which clearly works and seems to solve all the problems of it needing to be both a real version of Hitchhiker and also a proper movie. It's been a very hard circle to square. "
 
23-25 june 00 : About the casting
 
On the 23th, Douglas writes on his forum : "Marvin is the one character in the whole thing who presents no casting problems. Other members of the original cast are now, sadly, too old to appear as the original characters. However, Stephen Moore only does Marvin as a voice part, and has always been definitive in this role. I wouldn't think of going to anybody else."

On the 25th, still on the douglasadams.com forum, he tells a little more : "I'm a great Ozophile, and I think it would be great to have an Australian or two in the cast. In fact, my ideal cast would be very international. I completely understand the point of view of those who would like the cast to be entirely British, but in fact even the radio series had a mix of accents, and I think that an all British cast would be as artificial as an all American cast. The Galaxy isn't British or American! When it comes down to it, my principle is this - Arthur should be British. The rest of the cast should be decided purely on merit and not on nationality."
 
13 October 00 : A webcast with Jay and Douglas?
 
Douglas posts a new message on his forum : " Jay Roach and I are intending to do a big joint webcast interview very shortly to talk about where we are with the movie. We've only just decided to do this, so we have not yet fixed a date or picked a host. Hopefully that will all fall into place in the next few days. But it would be very helpful if members of this forum could start spreading the news around as far and wide as possible so that we have the biggest audience we can. We really want to make waves with this webcast! ". The webcast will never take place.
 
November 00 : Movie too expensive and unusual?
 
Jay Roach tells to Inside.com : "Studios have been reluctant to take the next jump into film partly because it's expensive, and partly because it's an unusual, unconventional approach to this kind of movie. It's a science fiction comedy, but it's almost Monty Python in space. It has a very smart, sharp, satirical tone and that's sometimes viewed as non-commercial. But my feeling is that it's the freshness and uniqueness that actually make it commercial, as opposed to the other way around."
 
May 01 : The end?
 
Douglas Adams dies. The project for a movie adaptation seems to have vanished with him for millions of fans.
 
July 01 : Still some hopes?
 
Jay tells to douglas' biographer MJ Simpson : "Robbie Stamp and I have been talking about how to resurrect the film project. So difficult to imagine without the master. But would still be great to see it live."
 
December 01 : The petition
 
A fan launches an internet petition : "Keep the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy movie alive!" Here is the text "We, the undersigned, do hereby ask that the proposed "Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy" movie be fully funded, filmed and given a well funded worldwide distribution, in the memory of Douglas Adams' death and in the memory of his life and all his work. Should the screenplay be incomplete, we ask that John Lloyd be called in to finish it, as he has worked with Douglas Adams before, and thus knows his style, and has a good idea of what he would approve. We also ask that Jim Carrey be left out of it at all costs. " Some fans continue to think that douglas being dead, the movie should not be made. The petition will get 2331 signatures.
 
January 02 : Ed Victor talks
spacer
While talking to the BBC's Drive program, Ed Victor spoke of the current status of the project, saying, "It's in that place known as development hell in Hollywood. Ironically, since Douglas's death things have started to look better for the film because a lot of people like me have determined that this film must be made in some kind of honour to him...We all want to see it made and hopefully it will be."

Regarding how the film should be shot, he adds, "I think you'd have to shoot it as a British thing as for example JK Rowling insisted that her book was done as a British film as opposed to a Hollywood film. The things about Douglas's books, the humour of Douglas's books, is that you have to take them seriously, you can't play them for laughs. They just induce laughter and I think I could see just how this could be done. I know that Douglas thought Hugh Grant would make a marvellous Arthur and one of the Hollywood actors that's been tracking this for a long time, who wanted top play Zaphod Beeblebrox was Jim Carrey. So if you put those two together perhaps you could see a film there."
 
15 February 02 : Scoop ! Karey is hired
 
I publish a scoop on my French-language website, "le guide galactique". Eager to get things moving, Jay Roach has hired Karey Kirkpatrick, the guy who wrote or re-wrote the screenplays of "Chicken Run", "James and the Giant Peach" and "The Little Vampire" to rewrite douglas adams draft. Before hiring Karey, Jay Roach agents proposed the job to different scriptwriters and some even produced their own scripts... like Jim Cirile whom I then interviewed.
 
17 September 02 : It's official for Karey
 
It's official. "Chicken Run" screenwriter Karey Kirkpatrick has been brought on board to brush up Adams’ screenplay.
 
December 02 : Karey delivers a new version
 
Karey delivers his new draft. Then, "I really felt we were onto something" will say Robbie Stamp afterwards.
 
March/April 03 : "Hammer & Tongs" meets Spyglass and Disney
 
Spyglass is still looking for a director. They ask Spike Jonze ("Being John Malkovich") who tells them about "Hammer & Tongs", a creative British team, made of writer-director Garth Jennings and producer Nick Goldsmith.

Nick writes in his blog :

Fri - March 21, 2003
"First conference call with Spyglass. Today we had our first conference call with Spyglass. Robbie Stamp came by the boat, and we introduced ourselves to Roger, Gary, Jon and Derek at Spyglass. Little did we know it was the beginning of what was going to become something really special."

Tue - April 8, 2003
"First video conference with Disney. So armed with a fantastic "Don't Panic" curtain, as provided by Mark Mason and Asylum, we arrived at Disney UK for our first video presentation. We had put together a visual presentation of storyboards, initial designs and references."
 
16 June 03 : "Hammer & Tongs" as director/producer team
 
Spyglass Entertainment, who partnered with Disney on the film five years ago, have set a director, and they've gone back to Britain for their choice. Known as " Hammer and Tongs " when making commercials and videos, writer-director Garth Jennings and producer Nick Goldsmith will work with Karey Kirkpatrick, who has polished the last draft Adams worked on.

"We finally cracked the story, and hired these clever English fellows to make sure that the picture is visually inventive and funny and accessible to contemporary audiences while still connected to the book Douglas wrote almost 25 years ago," producer Roger Birnbaum said.
 
1 July 03 : Robbie Stamp talks
 
Robbie Stamp writes on h2g2.com : "Spyglass had always been supporters and Jay Roach, although he in the end decided that he would not direct the movie, found Karey Kirkpatrick and Karey working with material that the Estate had made available from Douglas' hard drive, wrote a new draft.... Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith are a very talented pair and I have been very reassured by just how determined they are to allow the wit and intelligence and humour in the books to breathe."
 
25 September 03 : AT LAST! the movie is greenlit.
 
The feature film version of Hitchhiker's Guide, which as we all know has been in development hell for more twenty four years, has finally been ‘greenlit’. Garth Jennings will direct from a screenplay by Karey Kirkpatrick and the film will shoot in 2004 for release in 2005.
 

 



03rd April 05 : My uncensored review of the Hitchhiker's Movie !

The 22th February 05, a few others (including the guys from h2g2.com, MJ Simspon and Jenz) and I got a strange email from our contacts at Digital Outlook (which works with Disney on the promotion of the movie). The title of the mail was quite exciting : "Invitation to see a rough cut of the film THIS THURSDAY". Well, it was already Tuesday when we got this mail, so i just assumed it was a good joke. But it wasn't and despite the fact that it was very difficult for me to be in London at 12:00 two days later, Digital Outlook and Disney were very helpful and did everything to make it happen. The only drawback being that we weren´t to mention online that we had seen the movie before they told us it's ok to "lift the lid".

I was quite excited when I arrived in London, this fabulous Thursday, and miraculously found the BAFTA at Picadilly on time. After a quick brunch, and the happiness to meet again my dear Jenz, and being introduced to some nice ladies (Louise and Emma from Digital Outlook), we and about forty other lucky dudes were invited to see Hitchhiker's on the big screen.

Garth was ill and could not be there to introduce the movie. I've been told that Martin Freeman was to be there but could not see him (he was certainly hiding somewhere in case we didn't like the movie !)

Of course I was a bit nervous because I would have been so depressed if the movie was bad.

But it wasn't !

So, if you are still anxious about the movie, here is what you need to know. I don't think there any spoilers in this review so don't be afraid. This is just my point of view about the movie :

- The
guide entries are great. Nice voice from Stephen Fry and nice graphics. The guide entries give a personality to the movie, make it something different from other movies but remain very close from the Hitchhikers books and radio series' spirit.

- ALL the actors are terrific. Mos is a perfect Ford, Sam almost steals the show, Zooey is very touching, Martin is very credible as Arthur and Bill Nighy is the best Slartibartfast I’ve ever heard or seen. And John Malkovich makes a short appearance but is incredibly funny. My single regret : I would have loved more lines from Marvin. He's the only character from the books that you could say is underused. He is funny, very depressive but we do not see really that he's got a brain the size of a planet. And, yes, I'm nostalgic for Stephen Moore's voice.

- The jokes are very well introduced on the screen. This is a very funny movie. No question about that. Frankly, I had some doubts after the American trailer, but I was wrong.

- The choice not to make a whole CGI movie was definitely a good one. Vogons are absolutely terrific on the screen.

- There are so many winks to the fans (Douglas` mother, the TV Marvin, Douglas` nose, Simon Jones...) , but I think the movie remains very, very funny even for those who don’t know Hitchhiker´s. – On the whole, they made a very well balanced movie between the necessity to attract a new public to Hitchhiker´s and their wish to respect Douglas` spirit.

- The plot is maybe a bit Complicated for a typical Hollywod movies kind of audience. Too many events and things happening as if the Guys who made the Hitchhiker's movie were struggling to put more things in it that they could. And that's obviously the case. It is a smart movie, but is the plot clear enough for everyone?

The version I saw seemed to me to be almost perfect even if it was not finished (according to Garth´s message that someone read before the screening, this was just a rough cut : this was not the final music, and the effects were not polished...).

The Guide entries don’t slow down the movie at all (in fact I would add ten minutes to the movie I saw because this version is even a little frantic so I think we can add things without slowing it down - why not more guide entries or more lines for Marvin??). Of course I would have loved to hear more from the Prosser/–Arthur dialogue at the beginning, I miss some Narrator bits like the towels to explain why they are so important... But I understand that they can’t do a 3 hours long movie. Well, I wouldn’t mind, but I know it’s not realistic.

Ok I was worried about Arthur-Trillian love story but it's not too bad. And I can understand why it has been introduced in the movie even if the idea upset me in the first place. Again, the great acting from Martin and Zooey makes it good.

After the screening, the biggest Hitchhiker's fans (including me!) have been asked what they thought of the movie. And the very positive feedback Disney got from us certainly cheered them up. I would have difficulties to understand someone who says that he's a Hitchhiker's fan and hates the movie. This is certainly the best movie we could hope for.
From now on, I'm a great fan of Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith. They really deserve all our respect.

I was more than happy to finish this wonderful day in a London Pub with Jenz, Jim Lynn and the few others who had some spare time before going back home. It was certainly one of the greatest days of my life, along with the movie set visit of course !

 

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