Which directors would I like to get a cool 100 million US-dollars to play around with?

Associate Editor, Features; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
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Which directors would I like to get a cool 100 million US-dollars to play around with?

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We all know the phenomenon: there are movies out there that we'd love to see, but do not get their financing sorted. Some directors are just not lucky enough, some seem to be cursed (cough-Gilliam-cough), but sometimes directors just aren't considered to be "hot" or "marketable" enough to place a big financial risk on.

So what I'd want to explore in this ScreenAnarchy-O-Meter is the following.
What if some bored billionaire philanthropist just phones someone and says:

"I like what you're doing. Here is 100.000.000 USD, no questions asked.
Spend it all on your movie.
Have fun, no further interference from me, but make it a good one!"

Which directors would I want this to happen to?

Well, me of course, if my holiday home-movies count...

But here are five others, after the break.... Some are experienced, some are as yet unproven, some actually have worked with similar budgets before (but under restraints...), some probably do not even know what a big pile of money LOOKS like.

Here they are in no particular order!

Richard Raaphorst

Everybody who doesn't want to see "Worst Case Scenario" please raise your chainsaw!
Thought so...

The big question here is of course if Richard has the talent to make a watchable film after having been given the money. But the two brilliant trailers he shot for his nazi-zombie epic makes me salivate when I think what he could do with his current projects with all possible financial troubles out of the way. Be it the indefinitely shelved "Worst Case Scenario" or the tentatively probed possibilities of "Army of Frankenstein", I very much would like to know if Raaphorst could rise to the challenge of becoming a great filmmaker, or if he'd be forgotten within a year with a nasty clunker on his resumee...

Edgar Wright

Less doubts here about whether or not this one is a great filmmaker: he is! Edgar Wright might just be one of my most favorite directors at the moment. Both "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" are absolutely brilliant, but anyone who has seen "Spaced" just knows that something is missing here...
And that something is a BIG EPIC SPACE OPERA!

It makes sense: so many jokes in "Spaced" showed Edgar Wright's and Simon Pegg's undying love for the original Star Wars trilogy, that it would be very odd if these two do not have their own fantasies in this region. Quite probably they even have an idea for a script, but it's shelved because doing their own Star Wars-homage would be too damn expensive. I'd love to see if a shitload of money could make them go for it.

Paul Verhoeven

Our Dutch "dark knight" has in the past juggled a few big budgets, and every time he would be working under some weird restrictions or in a genre he has no fondness for (he actually hates science fiction, believe it or not).
What if this mad genius would be allowed to go nuts with just his own preferences and a hundred million bucks? What dark fantasies, what adult content would be unlocked when there is no fear for the "X-rated"?
If only...

Cory McAbee

Judging by the high rating "Stingray Sam" got at the Imagine Festival in Amsterdam, Cory McAbee is able to make incredibly entertaining cinema for an incredibly low budget. When people start to sing along with the music during the film you KNOW you're doing something special.

I just can't fathom what Cory McAbee would do with a big budget. I just can't!
But I think it would be ever so much fun to find out...

Terry Gilliam

You saw this one coming, didn't you? It doesn't matter if he makes a masterpiece, a flawed masterpiece or a very flawed masterpiece, Terry Gilliam shows time and time again he is one of the strongest visual artists in the world today. And for good measure you can chunk a couple of decades on top of "today", and that statement still would be true.
Yet Gilliam is constantly hit with calamities ranging from open warfare with his own studio, to bad weather, to actors getting sick (and just when you thought THAT couldn't be topped after watching "Lost in LaMancha", well... you know what happened last summer).
Mind you, I'll take any film Gilliam makes, even if he has to cut corners and work without money. But I'd love to see him soar again, free to explore unlimited possibilities.

The problem however is, that if some billionaire WOULD actually hand over a suitcase full of money to Terry, both would probably be mugged on the spot. The billionaire would die, the money would be stolen and Terry Gilliam would be wrongfully sentenced to live imprisonment for the murder. Sigh...

Was there anyone I missed?
Sure, so feel free to share it in the comments!

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snomanApril 24, 2009 4:56 AM

I'd like to see more David Cronenberg work... especially at 100 million hehehee.. :-P

TealordApril 24, 2009 5:18 AM

ME! - My escape from new york inspired ghetto zombie alien deconstruction epic needs cash!

A Meteor lands in North West england. The radiation from it causing mutation amongst those in the vicinity of it, some are drawn to it and mutate in twisted boche like nightmares.

The goverment surrounds the meteor with a wall to prevent the spread of mutation.

Years later satelite photos reveal something is being constructed on the crash site....

It will be better that doomsday i promise!!

(actually 10 mill will do)

brettlv5506April 24, 2009 5:38 AM

chris cunningham so he could actually make neuromancer

SurvivestyleApril 24, 2009 6:22 AM

Uwe Boll................what?
Shinya Tsukamoto, Tetsuo with a budget like that would be just amazing.

Peter CornelissenApril 24, 2009 6:35 AM

how about Nolan doing a Grendel movie? ;)

Hunter RoseApril 24, 2009 6:38 AM


ARGH! You tricked me - no, no spandex movies.

panikApril 24, 2009 6:44 AM

Tatsuyuki Tanaka to do an anime of 'Battle Angel Alita'.

Ricki-Oh 90210April 24, 2009 6:45 AM

Studio 4°C

From what I've seen them do with a humble budget, I couldn't imagine what they would do with $100 million.

SwarezApril 24, 2009 7:37 AM

Woody Allen. That would be at least an interesting thing to see.
I would love to see Mike Mendez spend that cash. Fred Dekker.
Guillermo Del Toro would do magic.

quartet4April 24, 2009 8:08 AM

Darren Aronofsky
Johnnie To
Kazuaki Kiriya
Andrew Dominik
Brad Anderson

...and out of sheer curiosity:
Gaspar Noé
Albert Pyun

PunkalypticApril 24, 2009 8:30 AM

I also may sound cliche, but...
(first to come to mind)

David Lynch
James Wan
Brad Anderson
Johnnie To
Jean-Baptiste Andrea

out of curiosity:
Larry Fessenden
21st century's John Carpenter

fuddufApril 24, 2009 9:05 AM

roy andersson
julio medem
kim ki-duk
todd solondz
noboru iguchi

mistereshApril 24, 2009 9:07 AM

Having that kind of money would only make filmmakers lose it and the film would suck. How could you deal with having that much money for a single film without feeling pressurized into using as much as possible and the focus ending up being on that?

DaleTremontApril 24, 2009 9:10 AM

Also...Dolph Lundgren. Just to see what he'd do.

ChevalierAguilaApril 24, 2009 1:05 PM

Edgar Wright
Takashi Miike
Bong Joon-Ho

Niels MatthijsApril 24, 2009 1:31 PM

This is somewhat of a self-defeating question, as most directors just screw up royally when they are given lots of money. The best cinema still often comes from having the turn every penny and coming up with creative ideas to cover the lacking pennies.

But if I'd had a 100 million cheque to give away, I would turn to some anime directors. They seem to have a better place for that money. 4°C and I.G are likely candidates who could make marvels with such kind of cash.

cinemaincApril 24, 2009 1:51 PM

Alejandro Jodorowsky.

This is the man that invented sci-fi cinema as we know it, he deserved more then anybody else.

kevinApril 24, 2009 2:04 PM

Chan-wook Park because I think his style could scale to the $100 million level without much compromise. It would just be a bigger and better version of what he already does.

CaterpillarApril 24, 2009 3:16 PM

Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Darren Aronofsky
Karim Hussain
Koichi Ohata
Yoshihiro Nishimura
Alejandro Jodorowsky
Nacho Cerdà
Stuart Gordon

Most (if not all) the guys above would probably not need a full $100 million to make their dream project. It should not be a requirement that they spend it all on one film. Just fund these people with $100 million and have the only condition be that they spend it on making a movie or several movies they want to make but can't get funded otherwise.

Ard VijnApril 24, 2009 3:16 PM

Thanks for all the feedback, people! I agree with sooo many of them.

Niels (Onderhond), there is indeed a saying: give someone enough rope and he might hang himself with it. I agree with the pile of money often being the "Kiss of Death" for a director's creativity, but that's not just because you lose the "turning pennies" factor of filmmaking.

Often big bucks come with big compromises, and the director's original vision gets diluted or even destroyed because of that. I tried to frame my question in such a way that this would be kept out of the picture.

And as for a 100.000.000 USD Studio 4°C movie: DROOOOOL!!!
Oh hell yes, bring it on!

(Oh, and Peter: I loved the "Grendel" joke. Glad SOMEONE is paying attention!)

Niels MatthijsApril 24, 2009 4:32 PM

True true, although money always seems to equal laziness some way or another. If you want to do a particular shot and you don't have a penny, you have to make it work some other way. If you have loads of cash, you just throw it at a CGI guy which will make something, often quite bad. (= major simplification, I know, but the idea still stands)

It's a strange thing, but most directors don't really seem to like this often creative, raw edge energy. Even a guy like Aronofski seems to clean up his style as the pile of money grows.

Alternatively, if you'd give 100 000 000 USD to a guy like Tsukamoto, I figure he'd just split it into 1000 even parts and would save 999 of them for his next film :p

And if I'm still forced to choose a live action director, it would be Hiroyuki Tanaka. It might be cool a guy like that had money to burn.

James DennisApril 24, 2009 6:34 PM

Kathryn Bigelow
Wong Kar Wai
Michael Winterbottom

Martin MadsenApril 24, 2009 9:22 PM

I definitely agree with some of the names mentioned here - especially Edgar Wright. But as far as I could tell no one has yet mentioned Ron Fricke. Though I would also part with the money to anyone interested in making a quality adaptation of The Mahabharata.

solarisApril 24, 2009 10:16 PM

Alejandro Jodorowsky
Andrei Tarkovsky (as long as we're dreaming why not include dead directors?)
Paul Thomas Anderson
Yuri Norstein
Luigi Cozzi (so he'd use it to make ten sequels to STARCRASH!!!)

mahkiavelliApril 24, 2009 10:58 PM

I would also say Gilliam - so he could get "Good Omens" off the ground...

GozanApril 25, 2009 12:59 AM

Seijun Suzuki
Sion Sono
Lau Kar Leung, so he can hire every single martial artist in the world for a last big spectacle!
Jodorowsky, as long as he promises to make a space opera. Something Inkal-like.
Michele Soavi, so he can make, I don't know, SOMETHING.

EmmittApril 25, 2009 2:38 AM

Jean-Luc Godard. He's always wanted to make a big-budget movie and when he got his chance with Contempt, most of the money went towards hiring the actors. The movie itself suffered from a lot of interference from the producers, as is well known. Just imagine what he could do with complete freedom and all the money he needs.

cinemaincApril 25, 2009 2:58 AM


Really? more money to Fincher!! with all due respect but I'm sure that what Fincher really needs is a low budget film, going back to basics.

We need stuff like Alejandro Jodorowsky's "The Sons of El Topo" or "Dune", may be "Tetsuo IV" or Rodrigo Gudiño's "Cut-Throats Nine".


kidlazarusApril 25, 2009 3:38 AM

Shinya Tsukamoto, Richard Stanley, a reunited Jeunet/Caro, Joko Anwar, Andrew Dominik, Nicholas Winding Refn, Lu Chuan.

CuttermaranApril 25, 2009 3:55 AM

big money means big responsibilities.
look at John Woo, MI2 did'nt get better, cause it's costs were 100 Mio.
If this is the biggest, most expensive independent picture, then ringo lam has got to get his shot.

rustdogApril 25, 2009 4:01 AM

i love all the richard stanley fans on here and the guy can't even sniff a job. I don't count The Island of Dr. Crap as his film, but I do love me some Dust Devil and Hardware.

Is John Boorman still alive? Give that man 100mil.

Greg RiveraApril 25, 2009 10:11 AM

I would love for whatever amount of money to go to any director with a specific development or vision for a project that they are trying to get made. David Fincher has been trying to get another Heavy Metal animated anthology style movie made during the last couple of years. I understand that sometimes throwing money at certain filmakers can can lead to more problems than it solves, especially when they feel the need to depict every penny spent on the project leads to an (unnecessarily) prolonged running time. Certain directors don't need a truckload of cash to make a good movie - Robert Rodriguez always brings a movie in under budget. Maybe this is not the case with David Fincher; I wouldn't know. All I know is, I've greatly enjoyed some of his movies (Fight Club, Seven, The Game) others not so much (Panic Room, Zodiac, I have not yet seen Benjamin Button)...and I also know that I really, really want to see that Heavy Metal movie.

saitamaboyApril 25, 2009 1:25 PM

Tarantino doing a live action of the manga "Monster." That would be kickass.

entizariApril 25, 2009 1:28 PM

Don Coscarelli, so he can send out the Phantasm series on a big note - or like some of the other directors mentioned here, use it to make inteference-free films for the rest of his life...

on Wong Kar-Wai, I'd be afraid for the man if he were to get this much money. no one would ever hear from him again (though after My Blueberry Nights... :|)

Rhythm-XApril 25, 2009 10:55 PM

Maybe if we give Wong Kar-Wai 100 million bucks he can "find" that "lost" ASHES OF TIME footage.

broomApril 28, 2009 10:55 AM

Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Stephen Chow
Guy Maddin
Hideaki Anno

GuidoApril 29, 2009 11:46 PM

Besides those mentioned:
Jan Svankmajer
The Brothers Quay

Dreaming Dept.:
Fellini (sigh!)