Hancock is a Darker Blockbuster Than You Might Imagine
This year's big 4th of July film is one starring the one-and-only Will Smith, who usually resides in that spot anyway. Although I may have a bit of disdain for Hancock, the talent involved is undeniably strong: Peter Berg (The Rundown, The Kingdom) directing, Akiva Goldsman (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, I Am Legend) and Michael Mann (Ali, Collateral, Miami Vice) producing, and of course Will Smith. However, an interesting tidbit about the darker, more violent nature of the film has recently been revealed in a New York Times article. In it, Berg speaks about the more adult undertones related to the character of Hancock, as originally created by first-time writer Vincent Ngo. It seems this isn't the light-hearted comedic blockbuster that we've all imagined it would be.
The original screenplay for Hancock, titled Tonight, He Comes, was a sexual and violent interpretation of an alcoholic supehero. Berg explains that although they've since modified the movie to be more appealing to wider audiences, it has "remained surprisingly sexual, violent and true in spirit to an original script that was viewed as brilliant but unmakable." As of mid-April, Hancock had been to the ratings board twice and received an R-rating both times. "We had statutory rape up until three weeks ago," Berg said. And as far as we've heard, they're still working to trim it to down to a necessary PG-13 rating or their won't be any fireworks at Sony Pictures this 4th of July.
Sony's Amy Pascal said of the film, "it's scary in that it goes farther than we've gone before." However, they're still trying to keep it edgy and similar to Ngo's original script, but must play "an epic game of chicken," as Berg has referred to it. In addition to the "statutory rape" that Berg mention previously, other areas of concern involve flying and driving drunk as well as a scene involving Hancock getting drunk with a 17-year-old, as opposed to a 12-year-old as originally scripted. The rest we'll have to wait until July 2nd to discover, unless it all gets trimmed out before release, which could certainly happen.
If anything, I'm a bit more intrigued to see Hancock now. I think all of my hatred stemmed for the very first, poorly made teaser trailer. It just had the right elements to really piss me off, but I'm admittedly much more interested after seeing some of the darker, more emotional elements come out in the latest full trailer. Mentioned of these sort of violet elements is of course going to strike up controversy with particular groups and advocates who think the movie should be banned because of this, but I think they're missing the whole picture. I'm certain we're going to get a very poignant lesson about make decisions by the end of the movie, that's almost guaranteed.
If you're curious to hear more about the film, head over to the NY Times to read the full article. I'm much more interested in seeing Hancock now, which is definitely a change of heart on my own part. Howver, I'm wondering, are darker themes like too much for a 4th of July movie, though? Will there be complaints from the public or will this be embraced as something much edgier than we normally see? How interested in seeing Hancock are you?