TROUBLE CITY

ERIN BROCKOVICH 2: THIS TIME IT’S WILDLIFE

Movie NewsMicah RobinsonComment

http://chud.com/nextraimages/Julchud.jpgI keep saying it, but y’all don’t really hear me: If you’re a screenwriter, toss out that pirated copy of Final Draft and crank up Microsoft Word. If you want to get some films made these days, you need to be writing high-profile magazine articles, chump. Now that coverage guys have realized they can find new projects down at the newsstand in a mere fraction of the time it takes them to wade through your spec medieval fantasy/zombie/dance-flick story set to the music of Johnny Hates Jazz, your future is looking mighty questionable. How do I know? Well, it’s another day and another announcement of a movie as a result of a Vanity Fair article.

No less than Julia Roberts has jumped into the fray. She’s co-producing and starring in a movie based on a VF article on conservationist Joan Root. For the uninitiated, Joan was an extremely passionate wildlife photographer/chronicler who married a filmmaker, Alan Root, in the early 60s. They went on to craft a buttload of wildlife documentaries and even garnered an Academy Award nom. When they separated in the 80s, Root moved to Kenya, where she became a hardcore conservationist and lived in a huge property amongst animals she was protecting. Earlier this year, armed intruders broke in and shot her twice, mortally wounding her. She died at 69.

Roberts’ take, however, focus on the golden years when she and Alan were still together and making films together across the globe. Roberts will also be reuniting with Working Title, the production company with which she made the rather enjoyable Notting Hill. These are all good omens, I think. Roberts would be silly to try and jump full-on back into the rom-com lane she helped build, and she absolutely should be using her clout for projects like these. Ultimately, I’d like to see old gal start producing female-oriented material that doesn’t have her in front of the camera, because Lord knows it’s hard enough for actresses out there now to find substantial parts in major films. She’s in an ideal space where she can nurture this next stage of her career and pass the torch, so to speak, all at the same time. But then again, she could eventually throw it all away in order to quietly raise her family. It’ll all depend on the balance she strikes in the next few years between all of these parts of her life. As for the Root movie, there’s no director attached yet, but the film is scheduled to shoot early next year anyway.