Monday, October 31, 2016

Aliens, Monsters, and Giant-Killers

So here's something lighter, to cheer up all the American readers who are miserable about the elections. I received a fascinating request from a movie company working on a new film called "I Kill Giants." It's being produced by Chris Columbus ("The Goonies," "Home Alone", "Mrs Doubtfire") and will star Zoe Saldana, known for starring as colorful aliens ("Guardians of the Galaxy", "Avatar,") and as a starfleet officer battling colorful aliens ("Star Trek"). The film follows a young girl struggling with her everyday life, who is escaping into a fantasy life of magic and monsters in which she must save the world from giants. The artistic team wants to use my book Sacred Monsters as set dressing in the bedroom of the main protagonist!

I was happy to grant permission, though I am quite confused as to why they need it. I always thought it's companies that pay movies to advertise their products, not the other way around?

Anyway, the film sounds fascinating. Maybe they could also make a movie about a young man struggling with his everyday life, in which his rebbe insists that he must believe in magic and monsters, and he wants to escape into a word of rationality? (They could even give that movie the same title!)

18 comments:

  1. John Rogers, the creator of a television show called "The Librarians", explained the reason at his blog once, when somebody asked him why they used an invalid license plate number on a truck in the pilot episode:

    > They're called clearances, one of the most useless, time-consuming elements of film and television producing. We need to make sure that nothing we do in the show can be connected in any way to anyone alive, lest they sue us for implying ... I don't know, that they rent their truck out to world-spanning Librarians.

    > It's one of those petty things you need to do to make sure that just in case, as one lawyer explained it to me, "you get the craziest client in the world in front of the craziest judge in the world with the craziest jury in the world, you're covered."

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  2. Ah, I knew John Rogers had written more about it, and didn't realize it was on the same page of his blog:

    > Here's the trick with books -- they're copywritten, and by publishers, who are about the only humans on earth who actually give a shit about control of books rights. Even the COVER ART is designed by and therefore belongs TO somebody.

    > So when you're filling a set with books, you have a giant pain-in-the-ass problem: how do you "clear" (ah-hah, remember that from above?) a whole library of books? Many sets use pre-printed spines, which you just lay over boxes. We wanted a living set, though, one you could yank books from, shoot through the shelves. In that case, we and pretty much every television show on earth use law books, because the law is in the public domain, Anything government published is fair game.

    > Nobody notices except if you deal with law books on a regular basis, in which case it screams at you like a bonfire. This is one of those things where you shrug and say "eh." Welcome to television. I have a similar problem with mathematics or physics on whiteboards in TV shows, where it's plainly some random trigonometry scrawled for background. That's why millions of Leverage viewers have unknowingly come to know my handwriting, because any time I could, I'd be the one to fill a board with equations.

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    Replies
    1. Have the decency to edit what you clip and paste. Please.

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    2. DF,

      Is that supposed to be some kind of joke?

      Perhaps if your sensibilities are so very delicate, you should consider a "net nanny" like the frummies advocate...

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  3. > They could even give that movie the same title!

    That's funny!

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  4. Good on ya! Hope you get some press from it :) Post the scene when it comes on and we'll share it on social.

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  5. " Maybe they could also make a movie about a young man struggling with his everyday life, in which his rebbe insists that he must believe in magic and monsters, and he wants to escape into a word of rationality?"

    I wrote this in a comment previously, but only R. David Ohsie addressed it: The Mishneh in Sanhedrin (67a) about planting/gathering cucumbers by means of כישוף certainly seems to say that there is a difference between performing a concrete act vs. doing something illusory. After all, someone can be executed for it! How would the Rambam and the rationalist school interpret that Gemara?

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  6. Maybe they could also make a movie about a young man struggling with his everyday life, in which his rebbe insists that he must believe in magic and monsters, and he wants to escape into a word of rationality? (They could even give that movie the same title!)

    Rabbi Slifkin, just so that no-one misunderstands you: what exactly do you mean when you say "they could even give that movie the same title!"?

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    1. It means that "I Kill Giants" can refer to the idea that the Gedolim who espouse non-rational views that don't make sense can be said to be metaphorically slain when one realizes there is a rational side to Torah and Judaism.

      I am not sure that any rational would think that Rabbi Slifkin meant anything else.

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    2. An impressive focus on the main thrust of this post! No-one would ever think you're simply looking for an excuse to criticize Rabbi Slifkin.

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    3. Yes, you got him, Kornreich. He was admitting that he is a cold blooded murderer, a killer of Gedolim. (Rolls eyes).

      Having said as much, it is characteristic hubris of R. Slifkin to (in effect) claim he has slain anything. He hasn't slain the charedi worldview anymore than they have slain the various other points of view. Nor will he be slaying any opinion in the future, either. The rationalist and charedi viewpoints have been with us since the dawn of the Mishna, under many different names, and are a permanent feature of the landscape.

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    4. I don't think that either Avi or DF understood what R. Slifkin meant. I think he meant that the "Giants" attempted to destroy his reputation, but he ended up destroying theirs.

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    5. DF - Rabbi Slifkin's never (to my knowledge) expressed the desire to 'slay' the charedi worldview. I think he's opposing the currently-popular pretense that rationalism is and has always been heretical.

      (Of course, he hasn't slain that pretense either. At least not yet.)

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    6. just so that no-one misunderstands you...

      There's always going to be at least one person who can't, for his/their life, understand Rabbi Slifkin or that which he quotes from others. So no point in him trying.

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  7. Your books are out of the beis hamedrash into the movies....

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  8. Rabbi, did you check out the likely rating of the movie first? It's not rated yet and looks likely to be a PG/PG-13 affair based on the synopsis, but you may not want your book appearing - with your blessing - in a movie rated R.

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