The fact I’m not at Fantastic Fest right now is something I’m not only extremely unhappy about, it’s something that makes me feel like less of a journalist just on sheer principle. There’s something extremely frustrating about seeing other colleagues posting on Facebook and Twitter, going on and on about all the awesome things that are happening at the festival, knowing I’ve already missed out on so much great stuff. I wish I was there. I should be there… but I’m not. Hey, life goes on, right? Anyway, sounds to me like one of the most unusual things to come out of the festival so far is an intense action remake of the Orson Welles 1941 cherished classic film, CITIZEN KANE, which looks as if it’s being remade with Michelle Rodriguez in the lead, and is titled CITIZEN JANE. For Fantastic Fest this year, there was a press release for director Robert Rodriguez appearing during the event, and Michelle doing a boxing fight with Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League. According to an article at SlashFilm, the hallways of the Alamo Drafthouse were lined with one-sheet posters for CITIZEN JANE, mini-posters were affixed to each chair in the boxing gym, and there were postcards available as well. These advertisements directed people to an official website – CitizenJaneMovie.com – which contains some details about the supposed film, including the following plot synopsis:
“The 70th anniversary of the film that started it all.
Citizen Jane stars Michelle Rodriguez as Charlotte Foster Jane, a lethal assassin hell bent on avenging the murder of her parents in this guns blazing, action packed retelling of Orson Welles 1941 classic, Citizen Kane.
She will do anything for her Rosebud… “
Here is the Fantastic Fest teaser trailer…
There is now quite a bit of speculation over whether or not this is a legitimate movie, or some lavishly produced joke. The marketing seems a bit heavy for a fake film, but the concept behind this seems a bit ludicrous, even for a maverick director like Robert Rodriguez… who simply must be connected in some capacity. Obviously something like the trailer could’ve been easily produced in house at Robert’s Troublemaker Studios, for probably little to no money. Maybe this is a testing of the water to see if there’s enough interest to actually make this thing. SlashFilm notes, the September 5, 2011 release date would mean the 70th anniversary of CITIZEN KANE‘s September 5, 1941 release date. They also note that for those thinking this could just be a joke to coincide with next year’s Fantastic Fest, the dates for next year’s festival are actually September 22-29, so the release date wouldn’t connect with that. Then there’s another clue which creates a bit of controversy. On the official website, there is a copyright notice for “Urban Arson”, which is an anagram for Aaron Burns – a visual effects supervisor that worked on GRINDHOUSE‘s PLANET TERROR segment, and a man who apparently has a feature directorial gig on a dark comedy called BLACKTINO. His film is a $1 million project and is described as follows on the film’s Facebook page:
“blacktino” is a dark teen comedy about an overweight half-black, half-latino nerd named Stefan Daily. He was raised by his black grandmother in a medium sized suburb of Austin, TX. Struggling to find his place in a mostly white high school,
Stefan finds sanctuary among the eclectic mix of social outcasts in the school’s Theatre Department. In the tradition of the great teen comedies of the last thirty years “blacktino” will ensure that the torch of “teen angst” continues to burn bright.
BLACKTINO already features Robert Rodriguez alumni like Daryl Sabara, Danny Trejo and Jeff Fahey. The Facebook page for that film also had a post back in early August welcoming Michelle Rodriguez to the production. Also interesting, Urban Arson is listing as the production company on BLACKTINO as well. Hmmm…. could CITIZEN JANE somehow be a really big publicity stunt for BLACKTINO? We’ll keep tabs on this as best we can. Either way, I kinda want one of those posters for my wall, regardless of whether or not the film ever actually gets made.