Killing Priscilla, the behind the scenes docu by Lizzie Gardnier is a study in Hollywood's money machine attitude toward film making that has killed creativity for all the a handful of top directors. Stephen Elliott, the director of the much lauded Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is followed as he attempts to bring to fruition a project that must succeed to restore his faltering Hollywood career. As Elliott mounts production for Eye of the Beholder with actors Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd, Gardnier's camera provides access to the method and madness of casting, finance, and pre-production decision making film makers must comply to make their film.
Elliott is subjected to numerous meetings with "the suits", the money end of film making which require the charming and affable director to lie and assume a "in charge" attitude that will ensure his production funding. However, the inevitable interference by executive producer, Mark Damon, a B-list actor of the 50s, the distribution company, and assorted others work against the director to all but sabotage the film shooting schedule and completion.
It is to his credit that Elliot managed to maintain his drive against the Hollywood mentality that had little interest in the film except for its ability to bring in the audience dollars in the end. Actor rehearsals, costume tests, production meetings with stunt coordinators, and interviews with lead actor McGregor provide excellent backstage commentary. In the end, Eye of the Beholder is sunk by ambivalence and misguided American studio executives whose ideas about film register at the maudlin level of crass Adam Sandler juvenile humor and women exposed in their underwear for salacious effect.
Film students, aspiring film makers, and those interested in why Eye of the Beholder was such a befuddled mess should tune into Killing Priscilla to discover how everything can go wrong and did in this film.
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