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Review: Red Dragon

The pitch meeting must have gone something like this.

Red Dragon
Photo: Universal Pictures

The pitch meeting must have gone something like this: “Has anyone here seen Manhunter? Good. Neither has the rest of America. Total art-house bullshit. We’re talking Argento bad. Love the cinematography though. Dino says we can use Dante again. Call Mamet and tell him to nix this whole Hannibal Dues Ex Machina Part Deux project. This here is Michael Mann’s script for Manhanter. All the work is done, it just needs a little tweaking. Let’s keep the lion and the blind girl. Very religious. I want bloodbaths on page 10 and 43 and a big explosion on page 102. We also need a few twists and turns and as many references to The Silence of the Lambs as humanly possible. Give the detective’s wife something to do. Maybe give her a gun. Guys dig chicks who can shoot. Let’s get this all out in the open right now: the only reason why we’re sitting here right now is because Anthony Hopkins wants to play Hannibal again. I want Patty, that new production intern, to FedEx these pages over to Ted Tally right away. Tony needs more screen time but let’s try to keep the cannibal business to a minimum. He’s too scary in Silence of the Lambs. If he absolutely has to eat face let’s keep it funny. Not Hannibal funny, just kooky funny. I have Ellen Burstyn’s agent on my ass as we speak. She’s hot but her agent doesn’t understand that we’re not making The Divine Secrets of Hannibal Lector here. Therefore, let’s up the Freud quotient and put her inside Red Dragon’s head. I want this dirty little piggy to turn into a dirty little man with erectile dysfunction. We don’t want the jocks to freak out when Red plays with his male victims so let’s have him fuck the blind girl. Of course, we don’t want some upitty queens screaming ‘Universal Hates Fags’ on the studio lot so let’s get some hunk to play Red. If Brad Pitt isn’t available, get me Tom Cruise or Ralph Fiennes. We’ll call him a ‘faggot’ but no one will notice if he’s flexing his ass and flapping his dick all over the place. Call CAA, William Morris and Behind the Actor’s Studio. I want Method Actors but none of those ballbusters like Jennifer Jason Leigh or Christina Aguilera. I also don’t want any of these artsty-fartsy ‘auteurs’ like David Lynch and Robert Altman anywhere near this puppy. Can someone check if that Jewish kid who directed the Rush Hour movies is available?”

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, Mary-Louise Parker, Harvey Keitel, Philip Seymour Hoffman Director: Brett Ratner Screenwriter: Ted Tally Distributor: Universal Pictures Running Time: 121 min Rating: R Year: 2002 Buy: Video, Soundtrack

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