Ben Affleck & Matt Damon return to Project Greenlight
Ron Seifried | On 25, Jun 2014
Does the TV documentary series that help made Shia LeBeouf a movie star need to return? HBO certainly does. Gearing up for production is Project Greenlight, the docu-series that followed beginner filmmakers during the arduous process of making their first feature film, from pre-production right up to the night of the premiere. The show ran for 33 episodes over three seasons, two on HBO and one on Bravo, between 2001-2005.
Co-producers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have reunited to sell their project once again to inspiring filmmakers. In a new video, the two good friends are asking for short-film submissions for an online digital contest, with the winner becoming a new reality star for the behind-the-scenes series looking into the filmmaking process.
When the rebooted series was announced back in April, Affleck addressed the fact that technology has caught up to the series original concept. In Rutles-like fashion, Affleck and Damon have announced a few unnamed directors and producers during the mentoring process so the contest winner/budding filmmaker doesn’t have to rely just on the two Oscar winners.
The three films followed by Project Greenlight had mixed successes. The first film, the drama Stolen Summer, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002 and made only $135,000 with a budget of $1.8 million. Comedy/Drama The Battle of Shaker Heights was the second film and fared a little better: $280,000 in ticket sales with a $1 million budget.
Horror was the genre for the third and final film in the series. Feast earned a slightly more respectful $658,000 with a $3.2 budget and actually spawned two direct-to-DVD sequels: Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds and Feast 3: The Happy Finish.
The series was a fascinating look into the art of filmmaking without the gloss. The interesting twist with the new version is only directors need to apply. The project will be focusing on a “Hollywood vetted” script, a bizarre request from two actors who won the Oscar for their first script, Good Will Hunting.
Intellectual property issues could be the main sticking point in limiting the new series with only directors. Producers are limited in their role of reviewing unsolicited scripts, and cannot be involved in rewrites. Litigation is best avoided at all costs. Its also could be easier for production for both the film and series to have a script already in place for scouting, set building, etc.
Then again, could Ben be too busy with his upcoming work as Batman?