This weekend, you can catch The Death of Dick Long, a dark comedy with some oddball charm directed by Daniel Scheinert. The filmmaker is best known for working with fellow director Dan Kwan as a duo known as DANIELS. And here’s a piece of trivia: instead of continuing to give us more wholly original and peculiar movies after their 2016 breakout film Swiss Army Man, the duo had an opportunity to meet with producers that could have led to them directing Deadpool 2. Since director David Leitch ended up being at the helm of the comic book sequel, they obviously didn’t get the job. But why? Well, DANIELS had a very good, respectable reason for not taking the meeting for the meta Merc with a Mouth’s sequel.
While making the publicity rounds for The Death of Dick Long (watch the trailer here), Daniel Scheinert talked about passing up a meeting with 20th Century Fox to direct Deadpool 2. Scheinert explained to IndieWire:
“My dad was so upset that we didn’t take the meeting for ‘Deadpool 2.’ I’m sure they took meetings with tons of people. But we were like, ‘We’re not right for that,’ and didn’t take the meeting. Dan and I legitimately think we’d do a bad job on that kind of movie at this point in our careers. Directing’s really hard, but if you’re really passionate about it, it’s worthwhile to follow your impulses — whereas trying to continue a franchise or punch up someone’s script, or diving into some IP is a really challenging thing. It’s not us being like, ‘Ooh, we’re original filmmakers.’ We’re just trying to be self-aware about what we’re good at.”
To be clear, DANIELS said that they “weren’t even offered” Deadpool 2. But it still takes a keen sense of self-awareness to turn down a potentially career-changing opportunity like that meeting. You can’t help but respect the fact that they both know their limits as filmmakers right now and know exactly the kind of movies they want to make. While DANIELS has the kind of dark but comedic storytelling sensibilities that would serve Deadpool well, there have to be some indie filmmakers out there who don’t make the leap to studio blockbusters, all so we can keep getting movies like Swiss Army Man and The Death of Dick Long. Scheinert confirmed as much:
“Obviously, when it comes to someone else’s material, I’m attracted to things like death of ‘Dick Long,’ not ‘Deadpool.’”
(The Death of Dick Long was written by Billy Chew. You can read our full review of the film here.)
The duo currently have quite an exciting project in pre-production. It’s called Everything Everywhere All at Once, and it’s set to star Michelle Yeoh and Awkwafina. We first heard about it over a year ago, but all we know so far is that it’s been described as an inter-dimensional action film. They’ve actually been working on it for a few years, and it sounds like it might finally come together soon. Scheinert said:
“It’s not officially greenlit, but we’re so close, and we’re so bummed it took another three years to write it. It’s about a 55-year-old Chinese woman trying to finish her taxes. It’s kind of like if Dan Kwan’s mom was in ‘The Matrix.’ [laughs] If I were to pitch the real movie, it would take me 10 minutes. I’m so excited about it, but it is bonkers.”
Honestly, we’re glad that filmmakers like these aren’t quite so eager to jump into the studio blockbuster arena. It means we keep getting original oddball movies that aren’t easy to fit into a specific genre, and if their next project is as original and intriguing as something like Swiss Army Man and The Death of Dick Long, then we’ll be there on opening day.
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