The Black Sky Mashup

Since there’s been more talk lately of Richard Armitage’s future projects, I’m going to hit the question and yes, the fear about his next film, right up front. Will special effects be the star of Black Sky? We’ve all heard how Steve Quale, the director has been a protege’ of James Cameron. And many of us know while Cameron’s movies can be long on thrill ride, they can also be short on story. Will Quale be the same? And where does that leave Armitage who can certainly do action but puts a premium on story and character? How does Gary Morris (Armitage’s character) navigate a disaster?

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That’s the question Todd Garner wants answered, “What does a normal person do in that situation?!” And “situation” in this instance cannot just be an allusion. It must seem real, which is where Quale comes in and necessitated by the video game era with the target audience being the video game age — 30s and below. A problem you say? Oh, I don’t know. I just saw a wonderful movie, which recently hit the half billion mark on revenue at less than two weeks after release, and it was primarily aimed at the video game age. Had a lot of special effects too.

But that was Tolkien, so the material was already great, and this can’t be as good? Black Sky may have something more appealing than The Hobbit. Yes, I really said that, and I’m a Tolkien fan! But I do not make a steady diet of fantasy. Most of the time I prefer movies that focus more on the human condition and with quirks. Enter Simon Beaufoy who is one of the writers of the Black Sky screenplay. His CV includes Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and The Full Monty. He’s got human condition and quirkiness down. The other writer is newcomer John Swetnam. I don’t know much about him although I was made aware of him a couple of years ago by Scott Myers at Go Into the Story. It seems Swetnam could be part of the impetus for the found footage story of Black Sky,and that’s an aspect that has fantastic possibilities for the character finding the footage. I’ve also looked at Swetnam’s Twitter timeline, and if it’s any indication, he’s quirky and witty. He seems a good match for Beaufoy. I can’t wait to see the mashup of these two and Quale.

And aren’t mash-ups the thing now? Some are so unlikely. Those are the ones I love. The unexpected that makes me consider from a new viewpoint, that takes my thinking out of a box. When I consider Black Sky‘s unlikely mashup of talent, the special effects are less threatening in upstaging Richard’s portrayal and are the obvious place for his creativity in crafting characters. I imagine him coming with a fascinating answer to Garner’s question about Gary Morris.


  1. Thanks, Frenz. I am completely intrigued. Knowing RA’s choices in the past and his dedication to character building, I wasn’t concerned but I was curious. This should be quite a ride.

    The mention of ‘Miss Pettigrew’ got me. That was a great quirky tale.

  2. Wonder if Black Sky was RA’s customary “interim” project of keeping on keeping on – working. A bit like Strike Back, till another project came along. (Thorin – woof!) Not a fantasy fan, was rather bored with LOTR – went because friend was Tolkien fan. Intirgued with Hobbit, for many reasons, but it might not have landed on the windscreen, but for Arnitage. (Would still have gone with friend)

    Black Sky – if it even makes general distribution here, will see. Armitage is always worth seeing. Anything Cameron-related, (he’s a compatriot, but I did not like Titanic, or his “artistic” sensibility-sorry) is not a recommendation chez moi. Hobbit, will be a different view. From a diferent perspective. In spades. 48/whatever- will some astigmatism and sensory sensitivity up to it? The trailors have been very intriguing…Black Sky remains to be seen as one of the RA deft character progressions. Not too woried about whither next.

  3. It’s interesting how you can estimate what a film will be like based on its producer or director. For example, if you tell me that there’s a new film out by J.J. Abrams, I automatically will see it. I won’t even look to see what the film is about. I know J.J. Abrams is a great storyteller based on my past fanship of shows like ALIAS and LOST, and so it’s a slam dunk for me.

    The same can be said for RA and our new pal on Twitter, Todd Garner. I actually went to see “Here Comes the Boom” for pure curiosity, just because Garner has politely exchanged some tweets with me. And I was so pleasantly surprised to be thrilled with the storyline and the characters and the feel-good moral, etc. etc. I never expected that …. probably because I saw MMA in the previews and just knee-jerk thought it would be a movie like Fight Club.

    Of course, I don’t have to say that we know, too, that RA chooses characters and roles that he can develop artistically. So after I saw, “Here Comes the Boom,” it made total sense to me that RA would have signed on with a Todd Garner film. Garner is a class act, and so is RA. It’s a good marriage of talents.

    All this is to say … your blog entry is really interesting in pointing out the other talents involved with this project. Slumdog was AMAZING, and so was The Full Monty …. I’m sold.

    I think we’re going to be digging this teacher from Oklahoma, and something tells me that the former dwarf king is also going to nail that accent. I can’t wait to hear it.

    Great entry, as always, Frenz. Should be a fun flick.

    Now we just have to get Garner to tell us when this puppy is being released. Time to badger him on Twitter!


  4. Funny you mention the accent! I was thinking about this the other day and maybe someone has already said this…but what IF Mr. OK teacher is actually from The British Empire who moved to OK when he met the love of his life while she was touring the UK. So then a Brit accent would work. Just sayin’. That was kinda backwards. But then it IS me writing…

  5. I thought about that back in September, too, but then Frenz asked Garner about RA and the accent, and Garner told her that he nailed it. Didn’t he, Frenz? Or did I get that wrong?

  6. Yep he said that I think…but what if…. :) It would’ve worked? And he could’ve nailed a Brit w/ a Okie accent? Seeeeee?! I must be bored. Or tired. When I start trying to write a back story for a disaster movie…well, disaster says it all. I’ll bet Todd Garner is ticked he didn’t think of that first!!

  7. Here comes the Boom was shown everywhere in Germany. It even made in to #2 after Skyfall when it was released. So there is hope that Black Sky won’t go straight to DVD.

  8. Wow on Here Comes the Boom in Germany! :D

    I doubt this is going to go straight to DVD in Germany. There are too many name players involved. It will at least be marketed to theaters.

    As for going straight to DVD in the U.S., it’s not happening. I have more to say about this movie, but we’re still in Hobbit mode, so I’ll save it unless I get inspired.

  9. Heidi, I’m beginning to think that some people take our banter way too seriously. LOL! Need to lighten up, Francis! :D

    TheQueen, on the accent, Garner could have just been messing with us. Yes, sense a big time joker which is not an aspersion on him at all. Very likable guy.

    Fitz, We are on the same page. I have really been inspired by Tolkien’s writings, but dare I say I am still not a rabid fantasy fan. Probably never will be. I’m too black and white.

  10. Janine, Yeah, Miss Pettigrew AND The Full Monty got my attention. LOL! What’s cool about Full Monty is that was actually his story. See, I’m learning the fine points of ‘screenplay’, ‘writer’ and ‘written by’. ‘Written by’ means the person not only adapted the story for the screen but also wrote the original story.

  11. For me one thing is certain. There will be one and only “the armitage (special) effect” :)

  12. :D

  13. […] Armitage future: Frenzy ponders Black Sky. […]

  14. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. I’m guessing it’s a disaster movie with a lot of CGI. Disaster movies, I think, rarely rise above that. I don’t think that the pedigree of those involved necessarily translate even into a minor opus.

    Having said that, that’s okay with me. Whether I see it or not may no longer depend on the Armitage. It’s the kind of movie that I usually won’t pay money to see. But that’s just me. At least with TV series, he had the opportunity to develop the characters to the point that they transcended the lousy writing.

    I think this is just one of his stepping stones. But in the way that you present it, it sounds intriguing and marvelous and deep. There is also hungry built in fandom waiting for him. I think you should get paid for the PR. :)

  15. Oh, one more thing: how is this a mashup? Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies (I loved it) and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (disappointing) were interesting mashups, but am not sure what the anomaly or anachronism or whatever is in this pic.

  16. The mashup is the talent. A guy who writes such things as Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is not a likely fit with a director who does such films as Final Destination 5. Should be interesting.

    As for getting paid, I do — in fun. I’m having a blast. :D

  17. *yawn*

    *Heidi stretches from a long winter’s day nap and checks Frenz’s blog for new comments*

    Just saw your comment re people taking banter way too seriously.

    Maybe that’s why they went koo koo in the head when I joked about a condom commercial on Twitter last night. (i.e., “The Great Sperm Race ….” yes, i was joking ….)


    But back to this film …………… re what Pi says ……….. I had the same type of feeling when I saw “Here Comes the Boom.” I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t chatted with Garner on Twitter a few times. But after seeing it, I can tell you I really and truly enjoyed that movie, and I do see why RA signed on with a Garner project. The guy is tops, and so is RA. A “mashup” made in Heaven …. er, made in Hollywood.

    Anyway, I think it’s going to be a fun summer film. I can already smell the popcorn butter and taste the Snowcaps on my tongue in a cold theater on a sultry hot day. Can’t wait.

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