"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 11 September 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.





It's hard to say what's the scarier plot point of the Universal Pictures 1999 release End of Days - that the film will have Satan searching for a bride in New York City or that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kate Winslet will play a married couple. But the most chilling thing by far is the US$100 million feature film is the debut of German-born director Marcus Nispel.

Universal is depicting the hiring of Nispel - a former video and commercial director - as an effort to bring "fresh and cool imagery" to the picture. But all that fresh and cool imagery comes with a price. The biggest End of Days news has been the cinema Kunstler's 64-page, third-person manifesto, detailing how aides, producers, stars, and crew members must bend over forward to please the Teutonic genius.

The real problem with the Nispel gospel, though, may not be the commandments themselves ("Assistant or driver should be waiting with engine running when wrap is called"*), but the fact that reading 64 pages of unillustrated dictates is too tiring to the lips. A script this intricate cries out for a storyboard....

*All quotes from Daily Variety, 18 August 1998: "World According to Nispel," by Dan Cox and Benedict Carver

Next ... Marcus takes short messages.

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