Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Alan Moore Wars: Don Murphy Gets Schooled By Rich Johnston

Don Murphy, the producer of the From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen films, could rightly be accused of exploiting the name and work of Alan Moore. Neither of these movies had much to do with their comic book originals, yet they each had a massive presence with comics and "genre movie" fans, due to interest in Moore and his work.

As a result, Don Murphy is a very unpopular man. And, I admit, I don't like his work, either - though his biggest mistake, as far as I can see, is facilitating Natural Born Killers, and its transformation from witty, rollicking, smart and biting Tarantino script into a bloated, indulgent, simpleminded ego-trip. The film Tarantino intended is likely now lost forever, while Moore's comics remain. You might recall that Quentin actually got physically violent with Murphy over the whole affair, and I'm frightened that, actually, had the producer been in the room when I first saw the film that I might have lashed out too.

Jane Hamsher, Murphy's former producing partner, described him as "stoked on caffeinated diet Coke and Froot Loops, loaded down with magazines and comic books, action toys and pretzels and Pez, ready to tear the head off Hollywood" in her account of the making of Natural Born Killers. Very tellingly, she also points out, in the same book, that Don had originally wanted to become a writer-director.

I've known enough producers who, underneath or on the surface, really want to be writer-directors, and I never want to meet another one again.

Over on a heated thread in the Newsarama forum - which begin with chat over how interest in comics (at least Alan Moore comics) has again been spiked by the release of V for Vendetta - Murphy has weighed in to put the world to rights, and make sure we all know that Alan Moore is just a big cry baby.

Of course, it was just a matter of forum inches before Rich Johnston, from Lying in the Gutters, joined in the fray. I was suddenly watching a tussle between a friend of mine (who, it has to be said, I so regularly disagree with over matters such as these) and a movie producer with a professional record that consists almost entirely of black marks. Obviously, I was rooting for Rich. Almost as obviously, I was also rooting against Don Murphy. I don't really care who he's arguing with- chances are, I'm going to take their side.

So that's my interests declared.

More importantly and less partially, though, I wanted to see a good, clean fight, and the argument to really go places. And it did.

Its still going on now, as I write. There's no use in me trying to cook up a precis, as there are probably more twists and turns to come, but currently, Don Murphy is getting a schooling in copyright law. Just about every comics-to-film debacle is getting invoked, and the amazing thing is, at no point has Murphy suggested he knows anything much about anything. He also accuses Rich of saying things he never said, twists his words and wriggles like a worm.

Start with page 5 of the forum, and stick with it. We're on page 11 now, and counting. If nothing else, you'll end up wanting to read all of the Alan Moore you haven't yet gotten around to.

(There's plenty more Moore to be found across film ick)


ColScott said...

Not sure
seems like Rich completely was beat by Murphy
He just kept beating the same horses

Brendon said...

Is that post page 11?

Sometimes those horses need a good, repeated beating before they even twitch a flank, however.

Anonymous said...

That's the least convincing scholing I think I've ever seen. It looks more like Rich was thrashed soundly.

Brendon said...

Well, Rich didn't produce Natural Born Killers.


I thought Rich was ahead when I last looked. Now you've made me frightened to go back and look more closely.

ColScott said...

Sorry, but Rich kinda lost momentum there. Murphy acted liked a child for a while, but by the end on point he beat the guy solid.