June 25, 2003
'South Park' Team knocks on wood
Parker, Stone, Brady prep 'Thunderbirds'-inspired film
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
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
"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
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
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