Friday, March 24, 2006

Sour Grapes

Quaid Sues Over Payment for 'Brokeback'

And people thought Annie Proulx was bitter.

What is Randy Quaid thinking? He wasn't the draw for this film; his role, on-screen for all of four minutes, has nothing to do with its unexpected success.

Yet he claims that he was misled, and that the studio low-balled him by calling the movie low-budget, when in fact it was "fully intended that the film would not be made on a low budget, would be given a worldwide release, and would be supported as the studio picture it always was secretly intended to be."

Bullshit. Do you remember when the movie came out in five theatres and Focus didn't know how fast to push for fear of offending American sensibilities and turning people against the movie? Certainly, it was always hoped that the movie would succeed--but when is that NOT the case? No one expected this movie to make $82 million in North America and roughly the same amount worldwide.

Now Quaid wants $10 million in damages because he wasn't paid enough for a four-minute role in a movie made for $14 million. Does he see how silly he looks? (And I'm talking now about his behavior, not his usual appearance.) I hope Focus holds its ground and doesn't give him an extra dime.


McKenzie said...

Maybe what you say is true. But according to the article, a 'low budget' movie is made for less than $7,000,000. So this was not a 'low budget' film and if that is what he was told to get him to take a smaller paycheck, he's got a legitimate point.

You can't claim he doesn't have a point just because you didn't think his part was important enough and because you are still pissed off that it didn't win best picture. If he should would have made more, for the same limited part, had they been more honest about the size of the project, he's entitled to feel slighted. $10 million isn't what he thinks he should have received for his role, its punitive damages so it doesn't happen again.

Personally, I think you look a little silly, not him, for getting mad at someone for wanting to be paid in proportion to the movies size, rather than being low-balled. You aren't giving the guy any credit for being willing to take a much smaller paycheck, and for being part of a movie, that as you say

"Do you remember when the movie came out in five theatres and Focus didn't know how fast to push for fear of offending American sensibilities and turning people against the movie?"

The guy wanted to be a part of this movie, so you can't claim he wasn't at a similar, if smaller risk of being chastised for being in a film like this if the public hadn't been accepting of it. Just because it was a smaller film about gay cowboys doesn't mean he didn't have a right to expect to be paid on a scale appropriate to the films budget and size.

Richard said...

My point is that he wants to punish the film for its success. Had it flopped he would not be suing to get his fair share of nothing--he just wants a piece now that the film has turned out, against the odds, to be quite profitable. What angers me has nothing to do with the Oscars. It's Quaid's assertion that the filmmakers knew all along that they were making a movie that would do well and be widely promoted. They had no idea. Ang Lee and Diana Ossana were sincere when they said that they never expected so many people to see their little movie. As for the definition of a low-budget movie, that's not a legal definition. In court, I'm sure they'll look at the costs of comparable productions, which are staggeringly higher than the ones undertaken to make Brokeback. Everyone took a pay cut, not just Randy Quaid. They went to Canada to save money, for heaven's sake! That's the big Hollywood gripe about the film, and yet Quaid is saying it wasn't a small-budget film?

And to say that Quaid took a risk to be in the movie? He doesn't play gay--he plays the unsympathetic guy who hires the film's lead duo to herd sheep one summer. If anyone should be asking for more cash, it's Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, who took roles that were considered career-killers for years as the screenplay floated around Hollywood. They risked their careers to make this movie.

If the producers saw fit to share the wealth from the film's success with the actors who made it, I would have no problem with that--I think it would be nice. But to claim you were misled because a movie that was made on a small budget happened to do well? This would set a terrible precedent of actors looking back after the fact and claiming they got screwed. Randy Quaid, who surely has plenty of money already, was a part of something bigger than himself in making this movie. He's a fool to shit all over that now.

McKenzie said...

And if this movie wasn't about being gay, you wouldn't give two shits about him and his case.

And it is just for him to come after the movie since it made money, since his normal contract includes a percentage of the gross receipts for the movie. So he wouldn't have a whole lot of reason to make a stink if it didn't do well.

And you can play the poor little movie card all you want, and yes it only opened in a few theaters, but it had much bigger hopes than most small budget movies. The fact that I knew quite a bit about the movie long before it came out, even though it was just a 'little movie' says a lot about its expectations. This wasn't going to be a movie that only made back its budget, I would have gladly bet you on that before it opened. $80 million, excellent all things considered. But it wasn't going to be a flop, not the way it was marketed.

And everyone goes to fucking Canada to make a movie. It has nothing to do with making a movie about gay cowboys. Everything is shot in Vancouver for money reasons. That doesn't justify any of your points.

And of course Jake and Heath took larger risks. I never said his association with the film was on par with theirs.

Your gay-bans are covering your eyes and clouding your vision on this fight. take out the fact that you are gay and the characters were gay, and you'll realize how out of proportion your reaction is. You can't hold him to higher standards just cause there was a gay cowboy in the movie.

If it was about atheists and wasn't expected to be a big success but was, would you still be as mad at him for wanting more money?

Jonathan said...

FUCKING GAY-BANS I knew that was the problem! That is some classic shit!

Richard said...

I'm sure none of you can believe I didn't respond for three days.

I have three things to say. First, if this were about atheists I'd be even more concerned, because as I posted the other day, not believing in a God is considered worse in this country than falling in love with someone of the same sex.

Second, I do not think this is a terribly important issue. But if I don't bring it to your attention and comment on it, who will? To say that I care about it because I'm gay and it involves a gay cowboy movie is almost redundant. We all know why this is something I brought to your attention. I'd find it just as shameful if Matt Dillon went back demanding more pay for Crash, but I wouldn't post anything about it, because it isn't something about which I think my voice needs to be heard.

Third, my point is and always has been not only that Randy Quaid should not win this case but more importantly that he's an asshole and a moron for bringing it. He doesn't need the money he's demanding, and he has to know the odds are against him getting very much as a result of this lawsuit. Yet he's impugning the good name of the film and the filmmakers, making himself look like a tattletale, and eliminating the good will he may have generated among casting directors who may have considered him for dramatic work after seeing him in Brokeback. Asshole and moron.