Walking away from $100 million budget

The less money you have to work with, the more visually creative you’re forced to be. (And vice versa.) And yet Mark Romanek (One-Hour Photo) recently walked off Universal’s The Wolfman (i.e., the Benicio del Toro vehicle) because, according to a Nikki Finke item, “He’s a purist, an artiste, an exquisite craftsman, but he just had a budget schedule” — a reported $100 million — “he couldn’t accomodate…he just blew the opportunity of a lifetime.” This doesn’t add up at all. Nobody’s consumed by that much hubris…are they?

25 thoughts on “Walking away from $100 million budget

  1. Ross on said:

    That’s pretty ballsy. But with that much money at stake, obviously the studio was going to be breathing down his back every second of the shoot. Probably realized he couldn’t be able to make the movie he wants to make… but yeah, they always say, one for you, one for me… so he should have probably just bit the bullet and went for his dream project with the next one.

  2. No fucking way! I was really looking forward to his take on this. That AICN shot of Del Toro without makeup was great. Really strange.

  3. This is a bummer. I loved One Hour Photo (Robin Williams certainly gave one of his absolute best performances in that film) and I was very excited to see what a stylish yet cerebral filmmaker like Romanek would do with a big-budget Wolfman movie. I hope Benicio doesn’t jump ship…

  4. a 100 million dollar wolfman picture, jesus do we really need that, you can see benicio coming out of a joint at 2am he’ll scare just as much..

  5. I just watched the Blade Runner doc Dangerous Days. Ridley Scott basically changed sci-fi in the movies because the budget forced him to use doctored sets on the Warner’s backlot. On the last day of shooting, the suits were literally standing on the set ready to pull the plug the minute the sun came up on the night shoot.
    I also just watched a documentary on Val Lewton, who was legendary for squeezing horror from small budgets at RKO.
    “I have to have $100 million or I can’t realize my vision.” Whatever.

  6. You mean made the most expensive video ever made for Michael Jackson, that guy? Yes, I think he does have that much hubris.

  7. Maybe Mark’s feeding off the romanek image of the tortured artist.
    Sorry about that.
    Agreed “Dangerous Days” is pretty incredible. The sun came up on the last day and they had to saw out the rooftop set, drag it into a sound stage and finish the Decker/Batty finale indoors.
    I especially like Frank Darabont’s hilarious complaint about the voice-over ruining the ending, when that’s pretty much how I felt about the climax of “The Mist.”

  8. There’s a book written about the making of Blade Runner. Can’t think of its name offhand. I assume it covers a lot of similar areas. To think that such a fantastic film was made under such harried cicrumstances is amazing.

  9. I worked at a production company a few years back, and we were trying to set up a script with Romanek. You wouldnt believe what a pain in the ass he was. I could imagine Kubrick laughing at his schtick; hubris doesn’t even begin to cover it. His last film was good, but it was tiny, contained and, oh yeah, over 5 years ago.

  10. Okay. Loved One Hour Photo but what with all these movies Romanek has dropped out of oh so mysteriously and abruptly, at what point are people going to stop wondering if something was wrong with the movies and start wondering what’s wrong with Romanek? Does he have a failure of success or something?

  11. An American Werewolf in London didn’t cost $100 million. Every movie Lon Chaney made didn’t cost $100 million total. Oh well, I prefer the original Wolf Man series

  12. Nobody needs $100m to make a werewolf movie that is going to be anything other than a popcorn movie. This is akin to the director of Girlfight directing an $80m (or whatever) sci-fi epic starring Charlize Theron – in other words, Romanek finally realized it was doomed and he got out while the getting was good.

  13. Where is that money going? That was going to be one amazing set for that price. There are no big action sequences or heavy stunt work in the original. Did the script add some big, lavish set piece?

  14. This $100 million budget is especially puzzling since you know that all the great makeup work that Rob Bottin did for The Howling and Rick Baker did for American Werewolf is going to be replaced by crummy CGI. Look at Underworld. The best special effect in that movie was Kate Beckinsale in a leather body suit.

  15. The only kind of horror movie that I can imagine being made with a $100 million budget is something akin to that bloated piece of shit VAN HELSING.
    Was WOLF MAN really going to go that route?
    And if Romanek is such a fucking “artist” then why did he spend over a year preparing to make a werewolf movie????
    The guy is a hack.

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