By Simon Dang | The Playlist June 20, 2011 at 2:44AM
Dustin Lance Black Admits TIFF Cut Of 'What's Wrong With Virginia' Was "Pretty Bad," Planning New Edit
The L.A. Film Festival is proving to be quite the headline-making event with several stories already flying out of the west coast. Now, at a meet titled "Coffee Talk: Screenwriters," scribes Diablo Cody and Dustin Lance Black have provided updates on their current slate of projects.
Cody told the crowd [via Hollywood Elsewhere] that one idea she's been dreaming of being involved with is a biopic of famed Beach Boys frontman, Brian Wilson, whose illustrious career and battle with drugs and mental illness would provide ripe source material for any film adaptation. Any substantial development on that front is quickly ruled out, though, as Wells notes that Cody "hasn't begun working on [it], not even in terms of research" and that it simply was "her dream writing project." But when you win the Original Screenplay Oscar with your first-ever script, we guess the line between dream and reality gets blurred.
The "Juno" and "Jennifer's Body" writer also added that her ongoing adaptation of '80s teen novels "Sweet Valley High" was still "moving forward" and even teased her own directorial ambitions while discussing a self-inflicted internet ban. "I have not read a review, or anything online period, since September of 2009. I'm clean and sober. I've been on a long, long media fast. I kind of write in a bubble but, unfortunately, that policy is going to have to change if and when I ever direct because I think it is important as a filmmaker and an auteur to be getting that kind of feedback and response form your audience. But as a writer, I'm in a vacuum."
Fellow panelist Black, meanwhile, revealed that on top of Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar," his HBO pilot about the foster care system and the gestating project about the Barefoot Bandit Colton Harris-Moore with David Gordon-Green attached (which he's planning to finish after meeting the teen in two weeks to "confirm some things"), he's also planning what sounds like a significant re-edit and possible re-shooting on his directorial debut, "What's Wrong With Virginia," starring Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris and Emma Roberts.
"I directed a film last year and took it to the Toronto Film Festival and it got murdered," Black admitted. "And they were right, it was pretty bad. So I opened up the edit and got a new editor and went back to script and finishing that film. Doing color correction on that tomorrow... [The criticism] was hard. It was really hard because it's a project that means a whole lot to me... So I went back to the script and I was like 'what did I love about it in the first place'? What did everyone love, why did everyone get involved? I don't know if it will work. I have no idea but I certainly wasn't satisfied by having something out there that I cared this much about that I know wasn't as good as it could be."
The sentiment affirms our own TIFF review which noted that the screening began with "an apologist introduction [by Black] to his film." We further described it as "odd and confounding, everything is wrong with 'Virgina,' a holistically botched effort that is something you'll probably want to avoid." Ouch.
Either way, both scribes are set for major returns to the spotlight this fall with Black's "J. Edgar" starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts and Josh Lucas as well as Cody's reunion with Jason Reitman on "Young Adult" starring Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson and Patton Oswalt both due for release. Here's a clip from the LAFF panel for your viewing pleasure as well. [Hollywood Elsewhere]