September 16, 2010
Sigh: No 'Blue Like Jazz' Movie After All?
For lack of funds, Don Miller's book likely won't see the big screen. At least for a while.
"The book that swept the country will not sweep theaters," author Don Miller wrote on his blog today. "It’s a sad day amongst many of my friends. After spending a year writing the screenplay, and another year trying to raise money for the movie, everything seems to be on hold indefinitely."
"1. It’s really hard to raise money for movies right now. In fact, it’s worse than it’s ever been in the history of Hollywood. On one hand, that’s terrible for us, but on the other it would have been great because Blue Like Jazz would have had much less competition at the box office.
"2. Blue Like Jazz is a very hard film for church-going, evangelical Christians to get behind. The folks who invest in Christian movies were scared to death of Blue Like Jazz. While it has a PG-13 rating, there is language, drug use and a scene where the protagonists put a giant condom on a steeple. To me, it’s the only movie that takes an honest look at a Christian kid coming of age in America, a story experienced by tens of millions of students each year. But students don’t fund Christian movies, older white guys do, and they find it hard to relate to the theme.
"3. Our lead in the movie is Marshall Allman. Marshall had a stint on Prison Break before passing through Mad Men and now has a recurring role on HBO’s True Blood. Marshall goes back to work filming True Blood in December, so we’ve missed our window to shoot this fall. That means we have to wait even longer, and too much can change if we wait."
Miller jokingly added, "There is a possibility we can sell the screenplay to a studio for a huge amount of money and I can finally buy that water slide I want that goes from the balcony of my condo to the coffee shop across the street, but studios often buy screenplays and never make them, and even if they did, they’d probably turn it into a religious sex romp.
"I still hold out hope that the movie will some day be made, and that you’ll get to see it. I think you’d have liked it. Thanks for your support and interest over the past couple years."
On the film's official website, director Steve Taylor wrote that "making a feature-length movie based on a bestselling book is not a micro-budget enterprise. And there’s the rub." He also noted the poor economy, the edgy content, and that BLJ fans aren't typically "flush with cash."
Clearly disappointed, Taylor went on: "I regret ever telling Don that I could get this movie funded. He has never even hinted at his disappointment, but I have most certainly let him down.
"I’ve worked under the broad rubric of the 'entertainment industry' since college. Most of the projects I’ve worked on would be considered successful, and some have been extraordinarily so. But I’ve never had a project that had more going for it than the Blue Like Jazz movie. This has easily been the biggest professional frustration of my career.
"I don’t presume to know the mind of God in this matter. I’ve always believed that the will of God has much more to do with the state of our hearts than the path of our careers, so I don’t presume to know if it’s the Almighty, the Devil, or any of the above (or below) that don’t want this movie made . . .
"I’m a fortunate and blessed man. My life doesn’t depend on getting this movie made. I am willing to abandon this dream. But, at least for now, I continue to ask God to provide the resources to make it."