Well, you know, it’s their money

He directed Merchant-Ivory classics such as The Remains of the Day, Howards End and A Room with a View, but American director James Ivory is struggling to interest investors in his latest project. The problem, it seems, lies with his writer: William Shakespeare. For more than five years, Ivory has tried in vain to raise money for a cinema adaptation of Richard II.

Despite 50 years of critical acclaim and Oscar recognition, plus British actors Tom Hiddleston and Damian Lewis lined up to star in his production, financiers are refusing to part with their money. “They look at you like you’re crazy,” he said. “There is an assumption that there is no money to be made from such an investment.”

It’s even possible that they’re right:

Producer Stephen Evans was not surprised to hear of Ivory’s struggle to finance his film. He encountered “much scepticism” from potential investors in making Henry V with Branagh. It was only through friends in the City that he could fully finance the movie. Despite Oscar nominations for Branagh as best director and actor, and great reviews, the film did not do well at the box office.

Perhaps the fault is in ourselves, the film goers, not the stars nor investors?

19 thoughts on “Well, you know, it’s their money”

  1. Perhaps investors are deterred by the fact that the BBC did a fine version as recently as 2012 (with Ben Wishaw)?

  2. Perhaps the fault lies in ourselves, not in the stars.
    I think you’re channeling Hamlet, not R2 Timmy.

  3. Maritime Barbarian

    Maybe they think it’s not a viable project, telling a bad story about cabbages and things.
    And yes, the Hollow Crown (and Ben Whishaw) were a good rendering. With (in other plays) a black Archbishop and a mixed-race Queen Margaret.

  4. The problem is that the media is allowed, both by government and inactive people, to produce crap, and peddle it to people.

    Shakespeare is entirely raunchy enough for any decent society. Tar and feathers for the perverts at the BBC, and the problem will be solved.

  5. he’s 89 so there may be actuarial reasons to think this enterprise of great pith and moment will lose the name of action.

  6. Funny how people who have already made a bundle out of the film industry never actually dip into their own deep pockets and finance their own films. It’s almost like they don’t believe those films will make a profit.

    See also authors, TV programme makers, ‘artists’, journalists, opera companies etc. etc. etc.

  7. It’s Ivory’s fault.

    Just how much damn money do you need to film a play that a high school drama club can put on?

  8. Perhaps Shakespeare sends out the wrong signals for today’s money-men, the film industry being as it is ideologically indistinguishable from the BBC, Sky, etc. Old Will does not advance The Narrative one inch!

    Also of course he is a DWM, English to boot, hence disqualified from the off.

  9. Didn’t George Harrison dig into his own pockets and finance the Pythons when everybody else said they were a financial dead loss? I don’t know if he made his money back, but that’s using your own riches to finance “art”.

  10. jgh
    August 14, 2017 at 12:22 pm
    Didn’t George Harrison dig into his own pockets and finance the Pythons when everybody else said they were a financial dead loss? I don’t know if he made his money back, but that’s using your own riches to finance “art”.

    Yes, he did. His ‘Handmade Films’ financed Life of Brian, and later other films.

    He made his money back OK. It still very rare though, that someone does it.

  11. Bloke in Wiltshire

    Jack Hughes,

    It’s actually one thing the Americans do. Joss Whedon made a version of Much Ado About Nothing with his own money. Glengarry Glen Ross was a bunch of top names taking union rate. People will do Terrence Malick films for nothing.

    In this country, luvvies just whine about government funding.

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