From “Starship Troopers” to “Showgirls,” director Paul Verhoeven has always enjoyed mystifying audiences with his satirical intentions, but with his newest film “Tricked” (which screened recently at Tribeca), he let the viewers contribute to the end result. Featuring a crowd-sourced script from over 600 submissions worldwide, it shows Verhoeven at his most collaborative, and as such, he's spoken up about the broken creative process in Hollywood today.
Verhoeven is right in the middle of seeing repeats of his own work: Jose Padilha is set to release a long-gestating “RoboCop” remake in 2014 with star Joel Kinnaman, and last summer the Colin Farrell-led “Total Recall” remake wandered into theatres with middling critical and financial returns. Verhoeven's original took in $261 million worldwide, while Len Wiseman's reboot garnered only $198 -- an underwhelming result that Verhoeven took with a grin.
"That was fun," he said, "[Because] they had been arrogant in interviews. Both the producer and Colin Farrell had been bashing the old one. [Farrell] called it kitsch.” Verhoven is more optimistic for “RoboCop” to embrace its origins from a script he's read, hoping it “will use a little wink-wink once in awhile," but it's pretty clear that Padilha is fighting an uphill battle.
He also asked why young people would want to go to the studios, since “they are immediately supposed to write 'Transformers 20' or something” upon arrival. “I think there might be a backlash against the let's say, the uniformity of American cinema now, which, if I asked my friends in Holland, they say, 'We don't go to these anymore. We've seen them for twenty years.' ”
“Tricked” was shot in Holland, Verhoven's home country, and that production choice clearly signifies the filmmaker's continued outsider status to the studio system -- a leader of the brash and eccentric from afar. Indeed, the director hasn't made a film in America since the 2000 horror “Hollow Man,” and judging from his recent comments, the prospect seems about as undesirable as can be. [THR]