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Ask 'Hitchhiker's Guide' Exec. Producer Robbie Stamp 490

After nearly three years of waiting, the movie version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is almost upon us. I've been impressed with the casting, and with the trailers I've seen of the film -- enough that I'm taking the rather unhappy early review posted the other day with a large grain of salt. Now's your chance to ask whatever you'd like of Robbie Stamp, the film's executive producer; we'll pass on to Robbie some of the best questions and publish his answers as soon as he gets them back to us. (As usual, please -- confine yourself to one question per post.)
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Ask 'Hitchhiker's Guide' Exec. Producer Robbie Stamp

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  • One question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tech-hawger ( 874902 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:38PM (#12235789) Homepage
    How faithful to the spirit of the book will the movie be?
    • Um. (Score:5, Informative)

      by devphil ( 51341 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:47PM (#12235919) Homepage

      Douglas Adams wrote multiple versions of the screenplay, including the one used in the movie. The "new" characters, such as the one played by John Malkovich (sp?), were added by Adams specifically for the movie.

      If Adams wrote it, grilling the producer about it seems pointless.

      Also, fans of the Guide universe(s) will already know that the books, the TV series, the radio series, and all the other media versions have all been contradictory. Douglas Adams himself lost track of how many variant plotlines there were. Having read the interviews and seen the trailers, I'd say they're as close to following "the spirit" of the books as they can be.

      • My Question. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:20PM (#12236386) Journal

        This movie was in deadlock for a long time until Douglas Adams died. In a reasonably short time span after this, things began moving.

        My question is what things did Douglas Adams block that have now gone ahead?
      • Re:Um. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @03:08PM (#12237070) Homepage Journal
        Douglas Adams wrote multiple versions of the screenplay, including the one used in the movie.

        Adams had finally written what he considered the final draft, then he died, and the studio rewrote the script. Most probably to undo all the compromises they had to grant the living Adams.

        Here, read how the CEO of the studio spins it []:
        It was well over a year after his passing that Douglas' widow, Jane Adams, encouraged us to move forward with the film as Douglas undoubtedly would have wanted. Karey Kirkpatrick, who had written the hugely successful "Chicken Run",
        was hired to complete the work Douglas had started on a film adaption of the book.
    • Re:One question (Score:5, Informative)

      by Yonder Way ( 603108 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:49PM (#12235942)
      Not very [].
  • Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bonch ( 38532 )
    Why'd you take out the jokes?

    Do you realize how many people will miss "Beware of the Leopard?" Almost all the dialogue in that skit is gone, so it's not even a joke anymore.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sebastopol ( 189276 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:45PM (#12235890) Homepage
      ...furthermore: is it too late to add this famous joke back in?
    • I disagree.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zippthorne ( 748122 )
      Assuming that it's not there (I haven't seen the film that's not out yet), the additional dialogue about the leopard did enhance the humor (though in a typical wordy brittish way), but is unnecessary for the overall gag: namely that the notice was on "public display" in a very unpublic place. The leopard bit just dresses it up a bit by pointing out how rediculously un-public the public display was.

      The cheapest resource in a book is its words: you can have as many of them as you want really, no matter how
      • Re:I disagree.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Golias ( 176380 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @03:13PM (#12237133)
        but is unnecessary for the overall gag: namely that the notice was on "public display" in a very unpublic place.

        No, the joke is 100% that it's a comedy of excess.

        There's nothing funny about a "public display" document being inconvenient to get at. That's what most of us call "everyday life."

        However, a "public display" document in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet in the back of a disused lavatory with a sign on the door which says "beware of the leopard" is fucking hilarious.

        Taking it out would be like re-editing the last reel of The Blues Brothers so they would only be chased for five miles by two or three cop cars. The scene would be shorter, cheaper, still contain everything "needed" to tell the story, but it would not funny.
  • HHGG (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:39PM (#12235799) Journal
    Will the full trilogy (5 books) be made or is it being played by ear to see how the first goes?
  • by EnronHaliburton2004 ( 815366 ) * on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:39PM (#12235803) Homepage Journal
    What is the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything?

    It had to be asked.
  • Considering that there is zero chance that real Hitchhiker fans will be satisfied with the movie ... why do you even bother trying?
    • Considering that there is zero chance "real" fans of any book will satisfied with its corresponding movie? Two reasons in my opinion:

      a.) Money. Despite the fact that the "real" fans will be disappointed, they will go see it anyways. Most likely more than once.

      b.) Raise awareness of the book. When people see the movie or even hear about it, they might be more inclined to pick up a copy of the book and read it. I know I had never heard of this series until I started reading Slashdot.
    • Yes, because it's not worth trying to make a good movie that might possibly be a big hit if a few dozen "real Hitchhiker fans" won't be completely 100% satisfied.
    • Considering that there is zero chance that real Hitchhiker fans will be satisfied with the movie ... why do you even bother trying?

      My, aren't we bold and bitchy this morning? You presume a lot with your question. I haven't read up on all the fanboy gossip about the film, but from the trialers, I have seen, yes, the movie diverges some from the book. Why is this a big deal? As long as the film stays true to the spirt of the works, (i.e. Life is random and absurd, so shutup and enjoy the ride) why does it
    • How many "real Hitchhiker fans" are there? I'm guessing that making money off the people that will pay to see it is why he'd "even bother trying." This movie is going to rake-in piles of cash, just wait and see. Plus, even if the "real Hitchhiker fans" hate it... guess what? They bought a ticket. Why bother doing anything, though really, right? I mean, if you're not going to be satisfied, then everyone should just stop doing everything.
      Don't be such an ass.
  • by jhines0042 ( 184217 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:41PM (#12235828) Journal
    Which of the characters in the movie was the most difficult to find an actor for and why?
  • Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by smorpheus ( 868363 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:41PM (#12235835) Homepage
    In Making the Film, what was the most difficult cut that had to be made? What scene from the book do you wish could have made it into the movie?
  • The books (Score:5, Funny)

    by rkrabath ( 742391 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:42PM (#12235851) Journal
    Can you appreciate Brittish Humor?

  • MJ Simpson? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:43PM (#12235867)
    So is the movie really as bad as MJ Simpson says? You can tell me, I won't tell anyone else if you agree with him.
  • by JeTmAn81 ( 836217 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:44PM (#12235877)
    Was there an effort made to appeal equally to both fans of the original books and those who have not read the books, or was it slanted towards one group over the other?
  • HHG2G Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by unique alias ( 862076 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:45PM (#12235884)
    Was investing in a franchise with such a purist fan base ever a concern for you, and what audience do you see this film appealing to most in light of such concerns?
  • Great Timing! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Relic of the Future ( 118669 ) <dales@digitalfre ... org minus distro> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:45PM (#12235887)
    How about doing another interview after we've seen the movie?
  • Wide audience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tlosk ( 761023 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:45PM (#12235894)
    In making the film, was it ever a consideration to create a film that will appeal to people who have never read the books or heard the radio broadcasts? In making adaptations from literary works, especially ones with rich, stand alone universes, much time is spent on exposition of material that is well known to anyone who has read the works. While needed for people unfamiliar with the milieu, exposition rarely makes for riveting entertainment. But then again, so many people have read the books or heard the broadcasts, who actually makes the decision? It it just left up to the screen adaptor?
  • Book to Film (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MisanthropicProgram ( 763655 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:46PM (#12235904)
    I understand from film makers that I know that it's very difficult to bring a book to film. Many things that work in a novel just don't work on film.
    I'm curious as to what decisions you made regarding editing, changing, or even adding things to the plot to bring the story to film?
  • Marvin's look? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pengunea ( 170972 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:47PM (#12235913)
    What was the driving inspiration behind the look for the movie version of Marvin? Fans are all aware of the "brain the size of a planet" lament, but what's with that giant round head? A new play on words? For laffs? Because all the other MP3 players seem to be going with that look nowadays?

    • Re:Marvin's look? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:53PM (#12236006) Journal
      Douglas Adams said he wanted Marvin to look round and sleek, not like his TV series counter part. Today "sleek and cool" is an iPod with legs.
      • Douglas Adams said he wanted Marvin to look round and sleek, not like his TV series counter part. Today "sleek and cool" is an iPod with legs.

        Makes perfect sense. "Your plastic pal who's fun to be with" ought to look like he's... made of plastic and... fun... to be with.

        I never liked his look in the TV show, early 80's BBC cheeze fest aside. He sounds depressed, but he's supposed to look... appealing. It's a product that is well marketted, but badly made. Remember the commerical in the show? That other r
    • Re:Marvin's look? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pavon ( 30274 )
      I wondered about that too. The large head creates the impression of a cute child, and well, Marvin is neither cute nor childish. I don't think the TV series Marvin wasn't any better though. I always imagined that Marvin would appear as thought the designers wanted him to appear sleek, but utterly failed, and instead came across as cheap looking. I definately did not see him as very tall, as he was in the TV series, but not child looking either, more stout around 5".

      I do know I have the habit of overlookin
  • If.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:47PM (#12235918) Journal
    If more films are made how will the refrences to God (The babelfish entry) and God's message to his creation be handled? In the current politically correct world will these be dropped or edited to refrence something different?
    • Re:If.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jedinite ( 33877 ) <<> <at> <>> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @05:21PM (#12238622) Homepage
      Mostly asked and answered [] on a recent interview by *sigh* DarthBastard...

      DarthBastard: We are hearing from some of the reviews of the film that some of the references to God (such as the second half of the babelfish description) are not in the movie. This is a shame but, given the current political climate in America, is perfectly understandible (though I'm glad the more subtle dig at organised religion - Humma and his sermon - is going to be there). What are your thoughts on this and will we see some of these references on the DVD?

      Robbie Stamp: Good first question - there has been *no* pressure of any kind whatsoever to take out any of the " God" references. That Guid entry was cut because the pacing at that stage wasnt working. We had too many entries coming on top of each other too quickly. But there is still plenty of Douglas' atheism in the film and the whole Humma plot is right on the nose when it comes to organised religion. And yes look out for the DVD.
  • Hey... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Poromenos1 ( 830658 )
    Maybe they got the Vogon captain to rewrite the script?
  • Process question: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DCTooTall ( 870500 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:49PM (#12235948)
    How hard was it dealing with studio exec's who neither read nor understood Douglas Adam's work, while attempting to transition the original stories to film?

    What do you feel is the single compromise made in the name of satisfying studio demands that the fans of the originals will be least likely to accept?
  • Panic (Score:5, Funny)

    by provolt ( 54870 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:51PM (#12235980)
    While making the movie, did you ever start to panic and then see copy of the guide and realize, "Oh yeah DON'T PANIC"?

  • Where is your towel? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slash_dot_dash_dot_s ( 876117 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:52PM (#12235983)
    Where is your towel?
  • What took so long? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by joshdick ( 619079 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:52PM (#12235984) Homepage
    Douglas Adams has likened getting a movie made in Hollywood to "trying to grill a steak by having a succession of people coming into the room and breathing on it."

    Given the considerable success of his books and their large following, why wasn't a film adaptation released earlier? What hurdles had to be overcome?
  • Why (Score:2, Insightful)

    by afstanton ( 822402 )
    do the ads look like a terribly unfunny movie?
  • Mattresses (Score:5, Funny)

    by publicenemy23 ( 875823 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:53PM (#12236003)
    On a scale of 1-23, how challenging was the task of casting mattresses for the part of Zem the Mattress? I mean, I've never even seen a talking mattress, I've only read about them in books. Do they have a seperate guild in Los Angeles, or do you have to go abroad to find talent? Enquiring minds want to know.
  • by LoadStar ( 532607 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:54PM (#12236024)

    It seemed that a lot of the reason that Hammer and Tongs was chosen to do this film was their unique style, and in a lot of ways, it works with Douglas Adams' creative vision. However, it's being distributed by Touchstone Pictures, a division of the Walt Disney Corporation, and the quirky nature of Hammer and Tongs doesn't seem like it'd mesh with the culture at Disney. Additionally, I'd imagine the "suits" would have a lot of problems with a faithful treatment of Adams' work.

    My question: how was the working relationship between the filmmakers and Disney (Touchstone)? Were there elements of the movie that were cut by Disney because they "just didn't get it," or were they pretty supportive of the decisions made by the filmmakers?

  • On casting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nothing Special ( 700074 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:54PM (#12236026)
    Why the decision to go with an almost totally American leading cast)? Other big book to movie adaptations (Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings) did outstanding with a fully british, and very mixed (respectively) cast. Was this by design to win over American audiences, or studio pressure, or just because they were the best auditioned actors these right roles? and also, were they the 1st choice for the roles. NOTE: I love Sam Rockwell, Mos Def and Zooey Deschanel, so these are not to be taken critically.
    • Re:On casting (Score:4, Informative)

      by babbage ( 61057 ) <> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @06:27PM (#12239262) Homepage Journal
      Why the decision to go with an almost totally American leading cast)? Other big book to movie adaptations (Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings) did outstanding with a fully british, and very mixed (respectively) cast. Was this by design to win over American audiences, or studio pressure, or just because they were the best auditioned actors these right roles? and also, were they the 1st choice for the roles.

      In an interview [] on The Connection [] on WBUR radio this week, Danny Boyle -- indie director of "Trainspotting" and other movies [] -- commented on this very point.

      Basically, according to Boyle, there's a checklist of British-isms that are believed to cut into the marketability of a film when it is screened in the USA. The bigger the movie, &/or the more likely the producers intend to bring the movie to the American market, the more closely they need to adhere to this checklist. Every checked-box on the list is a compromise for the director -- a little movie like Boyle's Millions [] can get away with mostly ignoring it, but a high profile movie like Hitchhiker "has to" pay more attention to the list.

      For better or worse, this checklist comes up all the time. Jokes based on references to "zebra crossings" and "Ford Prefect" will be lost on the vast majority of Americans, for example. (And it's not just the Hitchhikers movie: the green smiling mascot familiar to American readers of the books never showed up in the British editions [at least at first, not sure about later ones]; with the Harry Potter books and movies, some of the names & dialog were changed so that they'd be less alien to American kids.)

      If the director has a lot of clout, or doesn't care about the American mass market, then they can get away with this, but with something as prominent as Hitchhiker, they'll feel like they "had" to Americanize it, whether or not fans of the original versions of the story agree with sanding down all the quirky bits that made the stories so fun to them in the past.

      "Burn Hollywood, burn."

    • Re:On casting (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sbszine ( 633428 )
      Why the decision to go with an almost totally American leading cast)?

      Judging by some of the past US adaptations of British books, my guess would be parochialism, hubris, and a basic contempt for the material. (No disrespect to the US actors who I'm sure did their best, however miscast).
  • by danhorn ( 876115 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:54PM (#12236028)
    As an enormous Hitchhikers fan and Douglas Adams friend, I'm curious how you feel he would view the movie in it's final rendition. Since it's not about the accuracy to the books but about the intent, spirit and truth to Douglas' vision bracketed by the financial and operational limitations of a movie in todays economy would Douglas smile and have another drink or just get drunk? He worked for many years to get this on film and now that it is ready for release, as a friend and knowing him as long as you did, how do you think he'd feel you did?
  • by TodPunk ( 843271 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:54PM (#12236030) Homepage
    What does the "movie-first" experience have to offer that the "book-first" does not? Or is this movie really just for the geeks that are already in love with the tale, and my wife will just think it's another of my quirks?
  • Goals for the Film (Score:5, Interesting)

    by grungebox ( 578982 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:55PM (#12236043) Homepage
    Did the studio execs want a flashy blockbuster like Men In Black, or were they projecting for a lower box office total with the production (and thus not as willing to pony up big effects dollars)?
    • by bugnuts ( 94678 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:21PM (#12236397) Journal
      I'd extend that question:

      Was the goal to create a splashy movie that appealed to the general masses that have not read the books, or was the goal to create a movie that appealed to (or at least appeased) DNA fans, with in-jokes and plots only understandable with a-priori knowledge?
      Where do you want the final edit to fall on this axis, between those two endpoints?

      Examples of many LotR and Dune attempts come to mind. The first Dune movie was doomed, for it made no sense without having read the book.
  • by ygor ( 662265 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:56PM (#12236052)
    Consider: Every "incarnation" of tHHGttG has had variations such that no two are alike. Not including this one, Douglas Adams had a direct hand from start to finish of each version, so one cannot make remarks about accuracy or authenticity.

    While DNA started this one, he was taken from us before its completion.

    SO, my question is : Which "divergences" in this version were done (by/under the guidance of) Douglas Adams and which (if any) were done by other folks after his passing.

    FWIW, I plan to ignore the critics and go see this film with a child-at-Christmas expectation. It should be great Eye Candy if nothing else.
  • Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pgpckt ( 312866 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:56PM (#12236054) Homepage Journal
    Could you please respond to the review located at , in particular rebutting the parts that suggest the movie is poor in quality, is a travisty, or is otherwise unworthy of the name HHGTTG?

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:57PM (#12236070) Homepage Journal
    There are many, many versions of "Hitch Hiker's Guide" out there. There's the radio series, the books, the TV series, the computer game, the tea towl(!) and even a vinyl record version.

    In the end, how did you choose, from this range of sources, what sort of Hitch Hiker's Guide you actually wanted to make?

  • The essence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rfernand79 ( 643913 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:58PM (#12236073)
    To me, the essence of the Hitchhiker's Guide lies in the unpredictable turn of events that Douglas sets up to the reader. From a little girl with the answer to Vogon poetry, leaping to dolphins and mice. How do you retain these elements in such a straightforward media as the movies? How did you manage to "guide" the viewer without loosing the "in this page, for something completely different, we will talk about dolphins"?
  • Avoid Repitition (Score:5, Informative)

    by Relic of the Future ( 118669 ) <dales@digitalfre ... org minus distro> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:00PM (#12236114)
    Please read this most-recent interview with Robbie [] before posting any (more) questions that have already been answered.
  • by timothy ( 36799 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:02PM (#12236138) Journal
    This is true: two years ago I was watching "The Office" at a co-worker's house (I'd never watched a whole episode before), and realized that Martin Freeman struck me -- out of the blue -- as exactly the way I would have expected a real-life Arthur Dent to look, gesture and sound, right down to the mooning for dawn, and the look of frustrated annoyance that he occasionally beams at (or rather just past) Gareth.

    At the time (having no head for celebrity news), I didn't realize he'd been cast already as Arthur, and figured some other, well-meaning but inferior actor had been cast in that role. "It's too bad that they're already shooting 'Hitchhikers,'" I said, "because that guy *is* Arthur! Anyone else will pale in comparison to the flesh-and-blood Arthur who is playing Tim in this bizarre English-type sit-com!" My better-informed co-worker let me in on the good news, and my casting prowess was confirmed (to me, anyhow).

    However, I'm curious how he came to the attention of the film's makers -- or was it vice versa? Was it because of his role in The Office, or was it his idea, or what? Was he already an Adams fan, or was this just happenstance?


  • by El_Smack ( 267329 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:02PM (#12236140)
    Does any one person have final creative say on a movie? Can the editors take a film and chop it up as they see fit thereby changing, for better or worse, the movie? Can the Executive Producer tell the director to change a character the EP doesn't like?
  • by shadowlight1 ( 77239 ) <chris,feyrer&gmail,com> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:02PM (#12236144) Homepage
    How well do you think this movie will go over with Hitchhiker newbies and United States audiences as compared to a "native" British audience? On a similar vein, did you go out of your way to make it accessible or concentrate on autenticity?
  • Motivation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Viking Coder ( 102287 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:03PM (#12236148)
    Peter Jackson reportedly said that he got the inspiration to work on Lord of the Rings when he finally realized that no one else was going to do it. What motivated you to get involved with Hitchhiker's? And secondly, what project would you love to see someone do?
  • by ninjagin ( 631183 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:04PM (#12236176)
    I was a big fan of the early 80s BBC TV show and enjoyed the characters in it. When I think of Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent I think of the those guys. As you were making the film, how much of an influence was the television production on the film, particularly with regard to the casting and portrayal of the characters but also with regard to production design?


  • by narcolepticjim ( 310789 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:04PM (#12236177)
    With Douglas Adams gone, one of the difficulties you most certainly faced was balancing your ideas for the film with loyalty to his work.

    Without Adams to serve as a reality check and oracle for all things Hitchhiker, how did you divine what he would have enjoyed, recommended, etc., without forfeiting or neglecting your own ideas?
  • Two questons (Score:5, Interesting)

    by calibanDNS ( 32250 ) <brad_staton&hotmail,com> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:07PM (#12236203)
    1. If Douglas Adams were still alive, what do you believe would be his thoughts and opinion of the final version of the movie?

    2. Do you believe the movie would be noticeably different if Adams had survived and had more of a hand in its making? If so, in what ways?
  • by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:08PM (#12236226) Homepage Journal
    Is Zaphod's other head in his chest because of midichlorians, you bastard?

    • by selectspec ( 74651 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:26PM (#12236474)
      Is Zaphod's other head in his chest because of midichlorians, you bastard?

      A better way to phrase this question:

      Once you decided to rape Duglass Adam's by shitting on his original text with countless corruptions, perversions, and flat out misrepresentations such as the hiding of Zaphod's head in the chest, did you feel that a special circle in hell would be reserved for your eternal torment or that your punishment would take the form of some extreme bowel torture here on Earth?

  • Still a comedy? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ThePolkapunk ( 826529 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:09PM (#12236232) Homepage
    I have been confused by the TV spot for this film. It pushes itself as a Sci-Fi exploration, possibly action film with absolutely no comedy. Is this merely the TV advertising campaign, or is the film not a comedy?
  • Dialogue cuts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BaldGhoti ( 265981 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:25PM (#12236452) Homepage
    The infamous Planet Magrathea pre-release review is saying that a lot of Adams's original dialogue was chopped to bits, leaving out classic lines and asphyxiating his jokes. Is this true? If so, why was the dialogue--the one aspect of H2G2 that has been a constant--changed so drastically?
  • Trailers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SiO2 ( 124860 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:30PM (#12236532) Homepage
    All of the trailers I have seen on televison recently make the movie seem like an action flick. In keeping with the spirit of the book, I think this clearly isn't the case. However, the trailer I saw before Sin City last night, actually made the movie seem like more of a comedy. Is this just a case of marketing to different demographics? For instance, the audience for Sin City is most likely into comics, sci fi, etc. and will already know what the book and movie are about. However, the average schlub watching televsion will have no idea, so the trailer tries to draw them with lots of explosions. Is this indeed the case?

    I guess I fall into both categories, so I will be there for the humor and the explosions. ; )

  • That OTHER Series... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ReverendLoki ( 663861 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:33PM (#12236569)
    So, when can we expect the movie version of "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" to come out?
  • Any Surprises? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Myrmi ( 730278 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:44PM (#12236745)
    Are there any scenes that have counterparts in other versions that you originally thought "There is no way that we're going to be able to do that" that you feel have turned out particularly well?
  • by Grendol ( 583881 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @02:58PM (#12236956)
    1) How did you arrive at your interpretation of Zaphod Beeblebrox's appearance? I have specific interest in the presenation of the second head.

    2) With the six books in the series on Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, and Zaphod Beeblebrox, how did you choose to keep some material and not show other material? Did you do this with the the thought of a sequel in mind?

    3) In the Introduction: Guide to the guide: Some unhelpful hints from the author, will the movie update the contact info on "How to leave the planet" with current contact info to NASA, The Whitehouse, The Kremlin, and the Pope, with the addition of Virgin Galactic at ?

    4)So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

  • by Headcase88 ( 828620 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @03:08PM (#12237069) Journal
    Most movies force the producers into some sort of comprimise due to budget/time/movie length restrictions. If these restrictions were lifted so that you could add one more thing to this movie, what would it be?
  • by Johnny Fusion ( 658094 ) <> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @03:31PM (#12237364) Homepage Journal
    Have you already planned a response to the Death Threats, or were you going to leave the planning to the last minute?

    Any addition to a beloved fandom will always be hated by the "true fans" and H2G2 will be the same.
  • Director's Cut (Score:5, Interesting)

    by njfuzzy ( 734116 ) <ian&ian-x,com> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @03:35PM (#12237409) Homepage
    I am curious whether there is a plan for an extended or "director's cut" of this movie.

    We have heard a lot about scenes being in and out of various cuts, suggesting that many of the things long-time fans will miss in this movie may have been filmed.

    So, my join questions: Are there plans in place to have an extended cut? and Are there any particular scenes that come to mind that you believe should be added back in?

  • a grain of salt? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by htmlboy ( 31265 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @04:10PM (#12237852)
    i'm skeptical of everything i read online, but if the unhappy review is right and the moviemakers don't know that the restarant is at the temporal end of the universe, then i have no faith in them to get the rest right. as far as i'm concerned, mj simpson's review has saved me $8.
  • 1 Question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thed00d ( 822393 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @04:13PM (#12237881) Homepage
    I have one question for you... It's a 42 part question:

    No, seriously though, here is my question:

    Did you get to work with Douglas Adams before his untimely death? If so, what was it like?
  • by Bequita ( 813032 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @04:17PM (#12237926)
    Why did you feel it necessary to change the character motivations? Part of what made the books and radio programs funny was that the characters AREN'T actually interested in the Question to the Answer of the Meaning of Life the Universe and Everything/Saving the Universe from the homicidal planet Krikkit/God's Last Message to Creation/etc. Instead, all they want is a good cup of tea/wealth and fame/a drink and a peer group/ad infinitum... The utter inanity of the characters was part of the funny.

    The plot of HHGTTG has always been fluid, but the characters were the same throughout all the plot variations. I think the new PLOT of the movie could have worked just as well as any of the other HH plots, except that the characters are significantly different in attitude, behavior, and motivation.
  • by c0d3h4x0r ( 604141 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @04:31PM (#12238069) Homepage Journal
    In my opinion, what made Douglas Adams' H2G2 books special was their combination of light-hearted wacky humor with a quite serious undercurrent of bitter socio-philosophical commentary.

    The movie trailers look as if they capture the light-hearted wacky humor, but my big concern is that the movie will fail to capture and blend in Adams' commentary on society. And as others have pointed out, with Disney involved somehow in the making or distribution of the movie, I doubt the suits would have let much bitter or deep underlying social commentary into the film.

    Do you think you actually correctly identified, related to, and captured in film format the social commentary aspect of Adams' writing?

    Adams had a George Carlin-esque approach that was key: he pointed out the asinine flaws in mainstream human thinking and behavior, which are things we all notice but few dare to explicitly point out or belittle. To lose that would be a an artistic shame.

  • Towels? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 14, 2005 @05:09PM (#12238515)
    Is there any mention of towels at ALL in the movie (aside from there not being a Guide entry spoken for them), or will I look like an even bigger dork bringing one with me to the theater?

    "Hey, why does that guy bring a towel with him to the movies?"
    "Um, I don't know, but let's sit far, far away in case he has to use it for... something."

  • by readin ( 838620 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @05:24PM (#12238663)
    I have friends, including my current SO, who are not from English-speaking countries but speak English pretty well. Not one of them has been able to enjoy my favorite comedic literature due to the cultural and/or lingustic barriers. In making the film have you taken any special steps to make the material accessible to international audiences? Is it even possible to do so without ruining the material?
  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @07:22PM (#12239724)
    Whilst I havent yet been able to hear the radio plays, I have seen the TV series (well the VHS version on 2 tapes anyway) and read all 5 books.

    I understand that the movie is not a movie of the book, just another conflicting version of the whole story. But, why are things that are consistant between the book and TV show (and probobly the radio plays too I suspect) different in the movie?
    Why does the production design/costumes/etc differ so much from what the books (and I assume the radio plays) describe and also what is shown on the TV series? (e.g. zaphod's extra head and arm not being as prominent as the book and TV series depict, the heart of gold not being shaped like a sneaker as described in the book and shown in the TV series and so on)

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.