A few months ago I was ask by former director, now turned film critic, Alan Smithee to be his backup advisor for the film The Avengers. The director, Jeremiah S. Chechik, wanted to have a film critic on the set to advise him what to do and what not to do. I found that Smithee was quite an ill man, and therefore I found myself on the set of The Avengers more than expected. This would have been great for a budding film critic like me, if it had not been for a few problems.
Following is a script showing the few times that I was on the set of The Avengers. All personalities are computer generated.
INT - CHECHIK’S OFFICE – DAY Sitting in the room are: JEREMIAH S. CHECHIK and STEVE KONG. Steve is FRANTICALLY flipping through a script. In walks UMA THURMAN.
THURMAN Nice office.
CHECHIK Thanks. Uma, I think you know why I wanted to meet with you. I want to cast you as Emma Peel, super-secret agent. You’ll star in The Avengers, a remake of a classic TV show.
THURMAN Sounds good. Who will I be working with?
CHECHIK Dunno yet. But, here’s a large lump of cash.
Chechik hands over a large sum of money.
THURMAN That’s great. After my horrible performance in Batman and Robin, any movie should be good. Where do I sign?
Chechik hands over piece of paper and a pen. Thurman signs and leaves the office. Steve is DISAPPOINTED that he wasn’t able to get an autograph.
In walks RALPH FIENNES. Fiennes takes a seat opposite Steve.
STEVE I loved you in Strange Days!
FIENNES Why thank you. Jerry, what’s up?
CHECHIK I noticed you have been doing a lot of good work lately, like The English Patient and the forementioned Strange Days. Thought you might want to work in something with more fluff than dialogue.
FIENNES Who will I be working with?
CHECHIK Uma Thurman.
FIENNES Not sure if I’ll have any onscreen chemistry with her. Wasn’t she also in that horrible movie Batman and Robin?
CHECHIK She might have been. Here’s a large sum of money. Is that enough?
Chechik hands over a large sum of money. Fiennes’s eyes go WIDE.
FIENNES Looks fine to me. Where do I sign?
Chechik hands over paper and pen. Fiennes signs and leaves. Another KNOCK.
In walks SEAN CONNERY. Steve stands up, SHAKES Connery’s hands.
CONNERY Sean Connery.
STEVE That you are.
CONNERY Good to meet you, chap.
STEVE My pleasure.
CHECHIK We need you in a skirt. Then we need you in a teddy bear suit. And finally we need you to really overact. Here’s a large sum of money.
Chechik hands over a large sum of money. Connery signs papers and leaves.
STEVE You didn’t even consult me.
CHECHIK Later, chap, later.
EXT – AVENGERS’S SET – DAY FIENNES, THURMAN, CONNERY, CHECHIK, and STEVE are on set. Steve is sitting in his own chair. Fiennes, Thurman and Connery are on set acting.
CHECHIK No! No! No! Ralph and Uma! You’re acting! I don’t want acting! I want you to be deadpan. I don’t want chemistry either! Sean! What’s wrong ole chap? I want more acting! Overacting! Now, let’s do this take again!
STEVE But, they were doing just fine.
CHECHIK Shush, chap. I’m the director.
STEVE I’m here to advise, though.
CHECHIK Later, chap, later – Sean! Sean! Here’s a few more dollars, I want overacting!
STEVE’S head hangs low.
INT – EDITING ROOM – DAY CHECHIK, STEVE, and editor MICK AUDSLEY are at the editing console.
CHECHIK I want this movie short.
AUDSLEY That’s fine ol’ chap.
STEVE But, you shot all that footage. Some of it actually came out looking pretty good. And most of makes sense.
CHECHIK No, I want it short.
STEVE sighs. AUDSLEY begins to edit the film.
LATER – AUDSLEY is sitting back. STEVE and CHECHIK are viewing the final cut of the film.
STEVE None of this makes any sense! Sure, there is some good cinematography by Roger Pratt, but that’s all lost to this horrible editing, bad acting, and loss of continuity!
CHECHIK Chap, this is the best film I’ve ever seen.
STEVE This film stinks!
CHECHIK Chap, here’s a few hundred dollars. Write something good about the film.
STEVE I will not take that money! And further more, don’t credit me as an advisor for this film. This film is an absolute horror. I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone. Everyone should skip this film! It looks gorgeous, but that’s about all that’s good about this movie.
Steve gets up and STORMS OUT of the editing room.
And that was my experience as a film critic/advisor.
Edited by Cher Johnson.