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DAILY VARIETY

June 25, 2003

 
'South Park' Team knocks on wood at Paramount
Parker, Stone, Brady prep 'Thunderbirds'-inspired film
 
By
MICHAEL FLEMING

The team behind "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" has regrouped at Paramount Pictures for "Team America." "We will be sophisticated and employ all modern technology," said producer Scott Rudin. "We have gone well beyond the paper cutouts used in the last movie. Here, the entire cast will be made of wood!"

As in puppets.

Written by "Park" scribes Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Pam Brady and directed by Parker, R-rated comedy "Team America" is a send-up of what they feel is an increasingly brainless action genre. Stone and Rudin will produce.

The inspiration for the cast is the British series "Thunderbirds," also the inspiration for a Universal-Working Title feature now in production.

"Our cast will be deliberately made of wood, but that will only be taking to the extreme what is evident in many Hollywood movies right now," said Stone. "I hate all these new Hollywood films that are CGI-driven. Trey and I loved the 'Thunderbirds' series because of the artistry of the marionettes. It's amazing that a studio would make a movie out of it and take out the only thing that was good about the series."

The plot will involve the prototypical action hero, who's drafted to help Team America thwart the world's evil forces. The movie idea was the byproduct of an even more daring movie idea the team came up with."What we wanted was to do a send-up of these super important huge action movies that Jerry Bruckheimer makes," Stone said. "It started when we got snuck a script of 'The Day After Tomorrow,' the Roland Emmerich movie about how global warming causes an ice age in two days. It's the kind of script where you know it's going to make hundreds of millions of dollars, which makes it the greatest dumb script ever.

"We planned to secretly shoot that movie with puppets, word for word, and release it on the same day. We thought that would have been hilarious, but our lawyer convinced us we wouldn't get it released."

Cast splinters

That sparked the marionette action genre, which, said Parker, provides more opportunities for comedy. Fatalities are funny, they say, when the victims are made of wood. Expect much of the cast to get splintered in the high action. "We hate those actors who take themselves so seriously and think they are a productive and important part of society," Parker said. "The subtle joke here is that all actors are puppets. This will probably piss off everyone in town, and might well be our swan song."

The duo will shoot the movie when they take a break from the next cycle of the "South Park" series. The film will cost in the vicinity of the "South Park" film, which cost $20 million and grossed $60 million.

(c) 2003, Daily Variety/Cahners Publications

 

 

 

 

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