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Movie News: Y: The Last Man

New Line Revives Its "Y: The Last Man" Film

(darkhorizons.com) After being seemingly left for dead, the long-in-development film adaptation of Brian K. Vaughn's acclaimed comic series "Y: The Last Man" has suddenly risen from the ashes.

Vulture reports that New Line Cinema has put the project back in action and on the fast track following a very positive response to the latest version of the script from former "Jericho" writers Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia.

In fact the studio has reportedly already begun the process of meeting with directorial candidates to hire for the project. The writing duo came onboard back in March and started afresh, chucking out the previous draft by Carl Ellsworth.

Both DJ Caruso ("Disturbia") and Louis Leterrier ("The Incredible Hulk") were previously attached as directors while Shia LaBeouf and Alicia Keys were linked to star. None of them are expected to return.

The comic follows young amateur escape artist Yorick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand, the last two men on Earth. Something simultaneously kills every mammal on Earth possessing a Y chromosome - including embryos, fertilized eggs, and even sperm.

Society is plunged into chaos as infrastructures collapse and the surviving women everywhere try to cope with the loss of the men. Yorick goes on a mission to find his girlfriend Beth, who was on vacation in Australia.
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Comments

  • JCBJCB Posts: 51
    Jeez, how can they do a movie of a series this dense with arcs?
  • David_DDavid_D Posts: 3,879
    @JCB I know at past points in development they were looking to make it a franchise of several films. Depending on how successful they make it, they may be trying to do three movies or something like that. We'll see, but I would be surprised if the plan is to tell the whole story in one.
  • random73random73 Posts: 2,318
    I remain interested but only cautiously optimistic.
  • TrevTrev Posts: 310
    I still think it really belongs at AMC or Showtime and needs to run 5 seasons of 10-13 eps each like British tv. Film is just the wrong medium.

    I'll probably still see it if it comes out though.

    I just can't believe after TWD that the Hollywood powers that be are fixated on movies for this property.
  • David_DDavid_D Posts: 3,879
    Trev said:

    I still think it really belongs at AMC or Showtime and needs to run 5 seasons of 10-13 eps each like British tv. Film is just the wrong medium.

    I'll probably still see it if it comes out though.

    I just can't believe after TWD that the Hollywood powers that be are fixated on movies for this property.

    From a narrative point of view I agree that Y:TLM would be great TV. But from a practical point of view it would be way too expensive for TV. Ampersand would be a budget buster, the story barely ever uses the same location twice, etc. I am not saying it is impossible, but something like The Walking Dead lends itself to being much cheaper as it gets to stay put for a lot of the story (as least for stretches of time), and often the just need to make the world look empty, and empty is cheap. And I think WD shoots nearly everything, if not everything, in one state (and probably got a sweet tax credit deal for doing so). Y needs to either travel all over the world, or fake traveling all over the world. And both of those are expensive.
  • There are a LOT of shows that use that paradigm: The Fugitive, The Incredible Hulk, Nowhere Man, etc. And hey, if ROSS can have a monkey on friends...
  • David_DDavid_D Posts: 3,879

    There are a LOT of shows that use that paradigm: The Fugitive, The Incredible Hulk, Nowhere Man, etc. And hey, if ROSS can have a monkey on friends...

    Sure, but The Fugitive and The Hulk never had to go abroad. I don't know Fugitive as well, but Hulk seemed to almost always be set in sparsely populated small towns and farms. (Sort of the same terrain the A-Team). The sorts of places that are easy to do on studio back lots and other parts of California. Not even many extras in those sparse small towns.

    But think of some of locations in Y: the White House, other parts of DC, other cities around the world, as well as sets like a submarine, a space station, etc. places that those other road trip shows never had to go. Possibly expensive places.

    I had a roommate on tour who watched Friends a lot, and I never saw Ross' monkey. So I am guessing the monkey was not around that much? Ampersand would need to be in almost every scene Yorick is in. Now they might establish some ways to cheat having him there, like maybe Yorick has a pet carrier more often to bring him around in (sort of like the trick they use in Game of Thrones on HBO for some certain CGI creatures that accompany one of the characters wherever she goes- they established that she has a carrier for them, so you only need to see them when they come out). But no matter what, whether Ampersand is done with real animals or with CGI, it would be expensive. Because there would have to be a lot of him.

    It still seems like a story that adapts better to a film budget than a cable TV one.
  • mrfusionmrfusion Posts: 184
    Many of those locations can be faked. You'd be surprised at how many matte paintings
    are used in your favorite TV shows - and as for Ampersand, 4 words Mr. D... BJ and the Bear. :)
  • David_DDavid_D Posts: 3,879
    Of course they can be faked, but those costs do add up. Even Lost, which would have a lot of fake locations, got to return to their island sets for the majority. Y, at least has written, has no set that lasts long.

    And I'll bet chimps are easier to train and work with than monkeys ;) (And I wouldn't be surprised if the rules and laws governing that may have changed, too, adding expense).

    I hear you, @mrfusion that it is possible. But you at least agree it is pretty expensive as a prospect? Especially in cable TV terms?
  • mrfusionmrfusion Posts: 184
    Yes, its expensive but doable even on a cable TV budget.
  • If we can get the fantastic worlds of Westeros, I think we can get the locations of Y down. If they want the show to be good, they'll plunk down the money for it. And yeah, I imagine Ampersand will be a combo of live action and CGI, but I think that he's a worthy challenge for the producers
  • David_DDavid_D Posts: 3,879
    To be fair, HBO budgets are very different from regular cable budgets. In so many ways, there's TV. And then there's HBO.
  • Right. And I figure this show would work best on HBO -- or Showtime...
  • David_DDavid_D Posts: 3,879

    Right. And I figure this show would work best on HBO -- or Showtime...

    Well, could be they didn't want it.

    I get doing it in a series of three films, though, if they go that way. As with LOTR, it is one big journey to an end point.
  • dubbat138dubbat138 Posts: 3,179

    Right. And I figure this show would work best on HBO -- or Showtime...

    I think even FX or AMC could do Y justice. It like most long running Vertigo series would work better as a TV show than as a series of films. I would love a "Preacher","Hellblazer","Animal Man" or even "Doom Patrol" tv show. But doubt it will ever happen. Shit even though I find it massively over-rated I would enjoy a TV show based on Gaiman's "Sandman" comic.

  • David_DDavid_D Posts: 3,879
    I agree that, from a narrative point of view, it could work great as cable TV. I'm just saying that I am not surprised that it ended up getting sold as a movie rather than as a cable series. From the expense, to the potentially deadly (in TV terms) lack of male characters to connect with, I could imagine producers seeing a lot of challenges. And that is not a criticism of the source material, which I love, but rather a reminder that there are freedoms- not just in visual budget- but from other conventions, that we get in comics that can still be limitations in even really great TV (like HBO).

    Like Preacher- at a panel at NYCC, Ennis said that basically the thing that killed Preacher's development (at HBO though he didn't name them by name) is that the story is blasphemous, and it turns out you can't do that. Or, more to the point, suits up the chain believe you can't do that. So they didn't let them try.

    So I am not saying it is impossible, but I think there are a lot of strikes against Y as TV, from the development point of view.
  • I wonder if HBO would feel the same way now. I mean, before they adapted GRRM's Song of Ice and Fire, who would have thought a show with Dragons and incest, where favorite characters die and the breakout star is short in stature would be a hit?
  • GargoyleGargoyle Posts: 199
    I can definitely see a three film structure, the event, the adventure and the ending...but I do wonder if the payoff of Y is good enough to carry a third film, I felt very let down by it.
  • I really liked the ending. What did you find dissatisfying about it?
  • TrevTrev Posts: 310
    David_D said:

    I agree that, from a narrative point of view, it could work great as cable TV. I'm just saying that I am not surprised that it ended up getting sold as a movie rather than as a cable series. From the expense, to the potentially deadly (in TV terms) lack of male characters to connect with, I could imagine producers seeing a lot of challenges. And that is not a criticism of the source material, which I love, but rather a reminder that there are freedoms- not just in visual budget- but from other conventions, that we get in comics that can still be limitations in even really great TV (like HBO).

    Like Preacher- at a panel at NYCC, Ennis said that basically the thing that killed Preacher's development (at HBO though he didn't name them by name) is that the story is blasphemous, and it turns out you can't do that. Or, more to the point, suits up the chain believe you can't do that. So they didn't let them try.

    So I am not saying it is impossible, but I think there are a lot of strikes against Y as TV, from the development point of view.

    I was talking about this with my wife the other night and she raised an interesting point that as a tv series it allows for much more interesting casting because so many characters have only a couple of appearances (or less). As a series there is good opportunity for name folks to get involved.

    And @david_d I was thinking about the location problem and I don't think it is as expensive as you think. Look at a show like quantum leap - new location every week and it ran like 5 or 6 years.

    There's still the monkey problem, but I think some a mix of cgi, live animal, and creative shooting and you solve it easily. Just bec he's drawn on yorick's shoulder so much in the book doesn't mean it has to be that way on film. Though you definitely need it to work well and connect to the audience if you are going to keep the same ending.
  • TrevTrev Posts: 310
    http://io9.com/y-the-last-man-movie-might-actually-get-made-513823933

    Also want to revisit the notion that it would be too expensive to shoot as a tv series now that I've watched the first two seasons of Game of Thrones. That series has 4 or 5 distinctly different locales going at once in the series and shoots all over the world.

    The notion that the locations involved make it too expensive -- I'm not so sure.
  • David_DDavid_D Posts: 3,879
    edited June 2013
    Trev said:

    http://io9.com/y-the-last-man-movie-might-actually-get-made-513823933

    Also want to revisit the notion that it would be too expensive to shoot as a tv series now that I've watched the first two seasons of Game of Thrones. That series has 4 or 5 distinctly different locales going at once in the series and shoots all over the world.

    The notion that the locations involved make it too expensive -- I'm not so sure.

    To borrow their slogan-- it's not TV, it's HBO. ;)

    But, to be real for a minute-- yes, I will acknowledge that you could make Y:TLM if you had GOT money. Because GOT of said to be budgeted at $6M an episode. That is a huge, outlier amount of money. HBO makes the best episodic around partly because it has (and spends) so much money on what it chooses to make. When it goes big, it goes BIG.

    But here is why (though *possible*, I mean, anything is possible) going as big as GOT is a very, very unlikely prospect for Y: The Last Man. We will just compare it and GOT side by side:

    - GOT has a big, established fan base of men and women in the demographic sweet spot for HBO subscribers. Y: The Last Man, as excellent and beloved as it is in our circles, is still comics. And not a long-lived superhero. It is the kind of comic that you have to be into comics to likely know about. There isn't the built-in interest that GOT had going in.

    - There is the unfortunate facts about how hard it can be to get men to watch a show that is almost entirely women. Now, I am not saying that belief shouldn't be regularly challenged-- it should be. Those facts stay facts when we they are allowed to dictate content. But, if you are looking at this from the point of view of someone spending their network's money to make a show, there is the question on the table of whether or not enough men (and women, for that matter- as there is a lot of evidence that women will want to watch shows with a lot of men in it) will keep coming back for a show with a single male character. And, if they follow the books, one that is not very strong, aspirational, or decisive. A young man on the young side with a lot to learn. Much more Hamlet than Don Draper or Tony Soprano. Yorick is the kind of character I love to read/watch and follow. But an other-than aspirational lead is not necessarily considered the path of least resistance when it comes to TV.

    - Even GOT gets to reuse sets and locations much more often than a Y:TLM series would get to. Y:TLM, at least to follow the books, establishes places and then leaves most all of them behind. GOT has been able to make use of some locations and sets continuously since the first season. Sure, they are adding new things all the time (hence the $6M/ep spend). But the fact that it is fantasy, and doesn't need to actually resemble any real or historical location in the world, has allowed them to pretty smartly settle down in about three or four climates (in countries with generous tax incentives) and make everything they need there. It is like the LOTR movies finding or making everything in different parts of New Zealand-- they were helped by it being fantasy, so it wasn't like they ever needed to convince us that something was happening in Washington DC, Hong Kong, or Australia. Middle Earth is what they decide it to be. Ditto the locales in GOT.

    So, again, I will grant that- with pockets as deep as HBO- a great looking, convincing Y:TLM series would be possible. But I think there are TV business reasons why they was not how it went.
  • WetRatsWetRats Posts: 6,314
    David_D said:

    It is like the LOTR movies finding or making everything in different parts of New Zealand-- they were helped by it being fantasy, so it wasn't like they ever needed to convince us that something was happening in Washington DC, Hong Kong, or Australia. Middle Earth is what they decide it to be. Ditto the locales in GOT.

    Lost did a great job of making Hawaii look like everywhere else in the world.
  • David_DDavid_D Posts: 3,879
    edited June 2013
    WetRats said:

    David_D said:

    It is like the LOTR movies finding or making everything in different parts of New Zealand-- they were helped by it being fantasy, so it wasn't like they ever needed to convince us that something was happening in Washington DC, Hong Kong, or Australia. Middle Earth is what they decide it to be. Ditto the locales in GOT.

    Lost did a great job of making Hawaii look like everywhere else in the world.
    Sure. But it helped that they (to my memory) never had to be *exactly* somewhere. Which is to say, they didn't have to show us something very recognizable and iconic. Usually they were just showing us so-and-so's office in this or that city. Or the trailer park where someone used to live. Or someone living in a suburb. And they also didn't have to spend on making it look post-apocalyptic.

    For a lot of their off-island shots, Lost could use a city or neighborhood in Hawaii that could be generic enough to pass, and then get the right extras for it. Do a couple quick establishing shots (hey, look, we are in a city in Korea!) and then move inside to a set on a sound stage. But they didn't have to show us a besieged US Capitol building surrounded by all female biker gangs. Or what Paris looks like in the world of the post. Every location they use would need art direction, from getting rid of any evidence of electricity in most places, to distressing. Again, not impossible, but not as quick as 'here we go- this street corner looks like it could be an office in LA'.

    Also, the off-island locations in Lost were usually for the B-story. They were not for the majority of scenes. The A story got to use existing locations over and over.

    In Y, there would be characters moving to new places all the time. The A story is on the move, and the B stories are elsewhere, and sometimes also on the move.

    I mean, it is doable, but on most TV budget it would look pretty cheap. Even Lost, as impressive as it was in faking locations, didn't usually look all THAT great when they were off-island.

    And, to be fair, Lost, also, is one of the most expensive and high-budgeted shows in network history. So it is another outlier comparison, or, at least, a comparison to the type of show that gets about the most money a show can ever get. (And not an amount that network shows likely get anymore).
  • David_DDavid_D Posts: 3,879
    edited June 2013
    I should add for context, as I am clearly nerding out on this one element pretty hard-- that my wife budgets TV for a living. It is not all that she does, but it is a big part of her job for years now. And what things cost tends to come up a lot not only in 'how was your day?' but also when we watch things.

    Now, I'm not saying that makes me right, of course, or that I could do her job. I am just speculating on these things like everyone else. But I will just throw it out there that what is or isn't expensive in TV is a conversation I have a lot. So that is part of why I find it an interesting thing to discuss, but also I feel like I do have something of an eye for these things.
  • TrevTrev Posts: 310
    edited June 2013
    I think you underestimate the broad appeal of the story. I know very few people who have read Y and don't like it and quite a few non-comics folks in that group.

    Plus It is pretty hard in today's culture to use 'only appeals to comic book people' as an argument bec there is so much data showing that is a weak stance. If anything, the opposite is true.
  • TrevTrev Posts: 310
    Also don't buy gender stereotyping as a valid argument but there is much more data backing your side there. :)
  • David_DDavid_D Posts: 3,879
    edited June 2013
    Trev said:

    I think you underestimate the broad appeal of the story. I know very few people who have read Y and don't like it and quite a few non-comics folks in that group.

    Plus It is pretty hard in today's culture to use 'only appeals to comic book people' as an argument bec there is so much data showing that is a weak stance. If anything, the opposite is true.

    To be clear-- I am not speaking to the quality of the work, or *my* opinion of the appeal. It is not about what those that actually read it feel about it. Rather, it is about how many people have read it, and how it seems to those holding the money to make or not make a show.

    I love Y, and have recommended and lent it out to a lot of friends, men and women, and it is one of my go-to books for people who don't read the comics for grown-ups they have heard about and want to try. I love it.

    But what I am pointing out is my speculation on why a network-- the people who represent the big money to be spent-- would consider it a riskier bet than Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones had a bigger awareness. More people had read the original material than Y, and would potentially be hooked to tune in on it. So Y doesn't have the name recognition/ brand awareness going for it that GOT had. Even if everyone that read Y loved it, and comes from all sorts of demographic walks of life, it is still a relatively small group. Because it is still a comic from the last 15 years, and actually reading them is going to be in terms of subculture numbers, not pop culture numbers. And that can limit how much money a network would want to lay out to risk on it.

    It has nothing to do with whether the work is actually good or not. It is a matter of how much awareness there is for the work as an existing property (at least, from the point of view that I am speculating about).
  • David_DDavid_D Posts: 3,879
    edited June 2013
    Trev said:

    Also don't buy gender stereotyping as a valid argument but there is much more data backing your side there. :)

    And the same for this-- I am not arguing that gender stereotyping is how things *should* be run. But I can tell you, having known people who have developed and pitched shows, that on the network side you will encounter a lot of beliefs (and unfortunately with a lot of data to back it up) of what certain demographics will or won't watch.

    Again, I am not saying that Y as a TV show couldn't have succeeded in attracting men and women to watch a show with one man in it. It could have. But it would have bucked a lot of conventional wisdom in doing so.

    And those controlling the purse strings rarely tend to take those risks. Business usually wants to go in the 'past performance suggest future returns' approach. And thus bet on convention (and end up perpetuating it).
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