Photo crop of Howard Cosell and Gabe Kaplan at the first BOTNS © 1976 ABC.
I was checking TV listings to see when the Home-Run Derby would begin on ESPN tomorrow night and discovered that at the same time, 8-10 p.m. EDT, ESPN Classic
will be showing an episode — or maybe a greatest-hits package — of Battle of the Network Stars. This made me unreasonably happy. After I punched in the channel number on my remote, however, I got a message saying that I don’t have something called Sports Pass. This made me unreasonably sad. Just not quite sad enough to subscribe to Sports Pass.
If you’re disappointed in, or simply growing numb to, this summer’s would-be blockbusters — The Lone Ranger, World War Z, Man of Steel, Pacific Rim — I have
the solution: Joss Whedon’s adaptation of Much Ado about Nothing.
You may be skeptical of a film that can be promoted as “from the director of The Avengers and based on the play by William Shakespeare” but Whedon’s Much Ado is just that. And it’s a delight.
There was a producer who had two films only partially completed when the financing fell through on both. One was a domestic drama starring Cher; the other was a fantasy in which Johnny Depp played the mythical Yeti (or “abominable snowman”) of the Himalayas.
It occurred to her that perhaps there was a way to pick up a few additional scenes on a shoestring budget that would stitch the two movies into one.
Somehow it came together. The producer screened the result for Hollywood friends, and following the show a director not involved in the undertaking approached a cinematographer he recognized.
“Did you work on this?” the director asked.
“Yes,” the cinematographer responded.
“Those icy landscapes were beautiful,” said the director.
“Oh, I can’t take credit for that,” replied the cinematographer.
I didn’t create this Man of Steel / Dark Knight mashup, but when I shared it from
a friend’s page on Facebook I did come up with some dialogue for the scene.
Joker: “You wanna know how I got these scars?”