When Brendan Fraser burst onto the scene with Encino Man, the movie world was forced to take notice. Here was a guy who did it for the art, not the paycheck; a place he solidified with roles in George of the Jungle, Dudley Do-Right, Monkeybone, and of course Furry Vengeance. This week he once again demonstrated the depth of his integrity by turning down a role in Journey to the Center of the Earth 2. His reason? They couldn’t make it with his chosen director, the guy doing Yogi Bear.
Fraser felt strongly about making the movie with Eric Brevig, who directed him in the original. Trouble is, Warner Bros wants the picture for fall, 2011 release and Brevig is up to his eyeballs on another film for the studio, Yogi Bear. Meanwhile, Warners brass is high on Brad Peyton because of Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, the Peyton-directed film which Warner Bros opens July 30.
New Line and Walden Media will move the picture right into pre-production, but they are preparing to redraw the film to make Josh Hutcherson the lead character. Fraser played Prof. Trevor Anderson in the original, and Hutcherson played his nephew, Sean.
It looks like a game of chicken between Fraser and New Line/Walden Media execs and there are risks on each side. Fraser is prepared to give up a fat sequel salary. New Line/Walden faces the prospect of making a pricey 3D film and opening it without a proven star in Hutcherson. [Deadline]
Oh what I would give to be in the same room while they were having that argument:
“I’m the star of this franchise, and I want the guy from Yogi Bear and Xena Warrior Princess!”
“That hack!? Are you high? Not a chance! You’ll work with a real professional! The guy from Cats & Dogs 2! And you’ll be grateful for the privilege!”
In any case, this will hopefully free up Fraser to finish his passion project, The Adventures of Spazzy McFarts.