Recently, Geoff Boucher from the LA Times had a chance to sit down with producer Frank Beddor (There’s Something About Mary), one of the minds behind the Monopoly concept, and Beddor gave readers the first ever look into what the story for the upcoming movie adaptation of Monopoly will be. What he said is not totally surprising: Beddor is working on a re-imagining of the Alice in Wonderland story called the Looking Glass Wars and he took that idea and applied it to Monopoly.
"[Hasbro has] this big world and this game -- it’s the most famous board game in the world -- and it just really came out of the whole 'Alice' thing. I took the approach of thinking of the main character falling down a rabbit hole and into a real place called Monopoly City ... It was the re-engineering of 'Alice in Wonderland' that got me thinking and then with this it came around full circle and I was able to utilize that. That’s a big world. They were searching for that."
To paraphrase: he has no original idea for making a board game into an actual movie but because he promised Hasbro to deliver he had to come up with something. I back up my previous statement with the following quote:
"I wrote the story that got Hasbro excited and I attached Ridley Scott. The project was underway but they were in a little bit of trouble I guess and they were looking for a way to actually turn it into a movie. I had a pretty interesting take and it got Sir Ridley interested."
Want just a little bit more proof that Beddor is just phoning in the idea for Monopoly? Well, Pamela Pettler (9, Monster House) is penning the screenplay and as far as Beddor is concerned, his contribution to the project’s concept is done:
"Things will change; it's been a couple of years since I came up with all that. I did my job where I created this world so they could get really excited and get Ridley excited."
So what is this fantastic, game-changing idea (pun intended) that will rock the very foundation of the board game movie genre? I’m going to do something I rarely do and quote Beddor’s entire statement because it is just, so, totally... well, read it for yourself:
"I created a comedic, lovable loser who lives in Manhattan and works at a real estate company and he’s not very good at his job but he’s great at playing Monopoly. And the world record for playing is 70 straight days – over 1,600 hours – and he wanted to try to convince his friends to help him break that world record. They think he is crazy. They kid him about this girl and they're playing the game and there’s this big fight. And he’s holding a Chance card and after they’ve left he says, ‘Damn, I wanted to use that Chance card,’ and he throws it down. He falls asleep and then he wakes up in the morning and he’s holding the Chance card, and he thinks, ‘That’s odd.’"
Wait it gets better (read: worse)
"He’s all groggy and he goes down to buy some coffee and he reaches into his pocket and all he has is Monopoly money. All this Monopoly money pours out. He’s confused and embarrassed and the girl reaches across the counter and says, ‘That’s OK.’ And she gives him change in Monopoly money. He walks outside and he’s in this very vibrant place, Monopoly City, and he’s just come out of a Chance Shop. As it goes on, he takes on the evil Parker Brothers in the game of Monopoly. He has to defeat them. It tries to incorporate all the iconic imageries -- a sports car pulls up, there's someone on a horse, someone pushing a wheelbarrow -- and rich Uncle Pennybags, you're going to see him as the maître d' at the restaurant and he's the buggy driver and the local eccentric and the doorman at the opera. There's all these sight gags."
OK, I’m just going to pull some keywords that bring on my groan-reflex: “world record”, “Monopoly City”, “Chance Shop”, “evil Parker Brothers”, “someone on a horse”, “someone pushing a wheelbarrow”, “buggy driver”, “sight gags”. I’ll bet you my vintage Evil Dead lunch box that Leslie Neilsen plays Uncle Pennybags.
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