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The Barbarella Fiasco: Robert Rodriguez vs Universal

by
October 22, 2007
Source: The New York Observer, IESB

Robert Rodriguez and Rose McGowanSome news started spreading last week about the upcoming Barbarella remake that Robert Rodriguez (Planet Terror, Sin City) is directing. The report originated at The New York Observer, where they stated that Universal Pictures had dropped the film because Rodriguez wouldn't budge on his casting choice of his fiance Rose McGowan. The Observer said that "no one thinks Rose can carry the movie, but Robert won't listen." Now an update has arrived courtesy of IESB who spoke with Rodriguez quite recently and heard that it was a different reason. His response was that the issues were with the budget, not with Rose, and that it might be returning to Universal soon enough.

The original story that kicked off at the Observer claimed that it was Rose McGowan that was causing the studio to back out because the budget was rumored to be upwards of $100 million. The general consensus is that Rose can't carry a $100 million film. If you look at Grindhouse, which was highly focused on her (in both of the movies), that pretty much failed. However, I don't think that claim would carry over to Barbarella, but apparently the studio execs and almost everyone else does.

Rodriguez made an appearance recently at the Spike TV Scream Awards and IESB had a chance to talk with him very briefly were he provided his own response to the whole fiasco. He said that the issues had to do with the "skyrocketing budget", not Rose. And he also added that "we will know in a week about Barbarella and it might go back to Universal." Now this just makes this entire thing even more confusing.

The budget is now rumored to be less than $100 million. Rodriguez said that the budget is currently at around $82 million, but Universal is willing to do it if he can get it down to $60 million. All of this talk of money is making me dizzy! Why don't they just let Rodriguez make his movie?! However, they may be right on this one. Who really wants to see a Barbarella remake anyway?

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  • I'm with you on this one. A Barbarella remake sounds like a bad idea. If I was Robert I'd start working on Sin City 2 and 3 instead. What I'm a bit confused about is the fact that Rodriguez used to be a low-budget mastermind. Even claiming that "solving problems with the money hose" took away from the creativity. Why does he suddenly need close to $100 million?
  • He was a low budget guy but now his company does all the effects and such so he ends up making money on the project by directing it....editing it....and doing the effects and music. Its a win win win situation.
  • "Who really wants to see a Barbarella remake anyway?" - That's what I want to know! I saw the original again over the weekend and wow, other than a great looking Fonda, there's nothing worth revisiting about this movie. Carry a $100M movie? Carry what? A bunch of lousy sex scenes? Yeah, this is a bad, bad idea.
  • Gregg
    No offence to Mr Rodriguez because I have liked his work. But if the reason for the pull out really was his no talent girl friend would he really go around saying so. Wouldnt help his creditability much to the people who back the movies to run around telling everyone that she is more important then the movie to be made. Plus I agree there are so many other things worth the money then a remake of a movie that should stay where it is
  • I'm with the other posters above, who seem to have formed a consensus that a) No one will want to see the damn film any way and b) Rodriguez needs to go back to his renegade, low-budget, El Mariachi roots. Rose McGowan couldn't carry her groceries out to her car, much less a $100m film.
  • Ryan
    OMG! Just work on Sin City 2 man! Rose is alright, but she can't carry a big-budget film, esp. one that doesn't need to be remade.
  • I'm tired of remakes in general. For every Ocean's 11, there's twenty that aren't even worth the popcorn. Barbarella was campy for it's time but is not really needing a remake. There's nothing that could make that film more watchable. Rose on Charmed and in Planet Terror - not so bad. Carry a $100 million...or heck, even a $60 million remake? I don't think so. I wouldn't pay money to see it.
  • wm
    It's just like he said in his book. He would take the 60m or 100m, and actually make it for 3-4m. You wouldn't be able to tell anyway.
  • NCL
    I agree with most of these posts, I'm not buying the budget issue. May I add that I still can't get past him leaving his wife (and mother of his 5 children) for the skanky two bit home wrecker? He is losing it alright; that was the beginning of the whirling cesspool of poor judgment. There is always hope for him as a great director, even if he is not cutting it in his personal life (to my standards). Make “Sin City” 2, 3 & 4 BUT not "Barbarella" with the trophy ho. If he wants to put her in a campy- half naked- bad acting role (that she is well suited for), he should make Planet Terror 2: Apocalypse and let her reprise Cherry Darling. Come on Robert, think with the big head not the little one...

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