If you have been wondering just how Ridley Scott and Universal Pictures were going to turn the popular “Monopoly” board game into a feature film then join the club. Corpse Bride and 9 co-writer Pamela Pettler was brought aboard to pen the screenplay and some interesting details surfaced yesterday with regards to the plot, which had to this point been kept extremely quiet.
Geoff Boucher writing for the Los Angeles Times talked with Frank Beddor, one of the producers of There’s Something About Mary and apparently someone involved with the “Monopoly” project even though I have never seen his name mentioned outside of Boucher’s article. Not even the Variety article mentions his name or IMDb but that isn’t stopping from Beddor saying, “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.”
Beddor was being interviewed as a result of his new take on the “Alice in Wonderland” story with “The Looking Glass Wars,” his series of bestselling novels based on the Lewis Carroll story, and apparently he has taken that approach to the world of “Monopoly” as Boucher writers:
Beddor said his inspiration came from Carroll and the “Looking Glass Wars” experience: “They have 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.”
“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 â€“ over 1,600 hours â€“ 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.'”
“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 maÃ®tre 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.”
“…To me it’s more a metaphor for life, the taking of chances and this character through this process learns that he can do a lot of things. He’s completely brave and strategic and risk-taking while playing this game but in real life he’s a mess. He won’t roll the dice. Thatâ€™s the character and journey he has to take.”
While I wonder just how much input Beddor’s original premise will have on Pettner’s screenplay, Beddor does admit it’s been “a couple of years” since he came up with the idea so things may be changing drastically. Personally I don’t see how this film gets made and I have a hard time believing Scott will end up being the one to make it.
Next up for Scott is Robin Hood, also for Universal, and set to hit theaters on May 14, 2010 starring Russell Crowe.