Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Riskiest Money

J. Todd Harris is a movie producer. That means that he gets films made. “I’m just like any other guy that goes and tries to find projects and tries to find financing and a director and a writer and actors,” he says. “Producers have no discernible skills, so they just kind of take advantage of everybody else’s.” For a guy with no discernible skills, he’s had a remarkable run of success, producing some 32 films since 1995’s Denise Calls Up. Along the way, he’s been involved with broad comedy (Dudley Do-Right), horror (Jeepers Creepers), romance (Happy Hour), and even gritty drama (Urbania, which played Sundance in 2000).

But one film Harris hasn’t been able to get made — not yet, anyway — is a big-screen version of Gilligan’s Island. Happily for him and fans of Little Buddy, he’s working with an intellectual-property company that has as one of its aims just that, and it was in that context that he met Ross Schwartz, son of Gilligan’s creator Sherwood Schwartz. And in 2005, Schwartz the Younger gave Harris a copy of Bottle Shock, a script he’d written about the Paris tasting of 1976, when California wine scored a highly symbolic (but also literal) victory over the mighty French.

Recalls Harris, “I read it, and I liked it, but I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it.” Then he remembered the Lhormers: he had gone to college with Marc and to business school with Brenda, and the two had gone on to run the Sonoma Valley Film Festival, which featured a number of Harris’s projects. “They told me, ‘If you ever find a movie that we could do up in here in the Napa-Sonoma area, let us know.’ I sent it to them, and they liked it, and they thought they could raise some money. And they had just programmed a film called Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School,” directed by Randall Miller and written by Miller and his wife Jody Savin (the film had previously played at Sundance). Marc and Brenda thought Randy and Jody would be good directing and producing partners on Bottle Shock.

Miller and Savin, says Harris, “liked the script but thought it needed to punch up the romance — you really don’t want to have a wine movie without a love story. And they heightened the father-son relationship, which I think is a very relatable element. They wanted to do certain things — they were used to doing their own material. So we made a deal with them, and we started doing fundraisers.”

Cut to October of 2006, when Del Mar wine collector Robert Baizer and his wife Diane Jacob headed north to Napa to harvest grapes for the Napa Valley Reserve. Explains Baizer, the Reserve is “a winemaking club with a vineyard located in St. Helena, founded by Bill Harlan of Harlan Estate. That fall, we invited our good friends Ralph and Gail Bryan of La Jolla to join us as our guests. While hand-sorting berries on the conveyor line at Napa Valley Reserve, Ralph mentioned to me that he had received a terrific screenplay from Todd Harris.” (The connection: Todd’s wife Amy Powers, who wrote the lyrics to Zhivago, a musical developed at the La Jolla Playhouse, where Bryan and Baizer had served as producing partners on the original production of Jersey Boys.) “As we picked out raisins and twigs from what would ultimately make our 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Ralph told me the story of Bottle Shock. After hearing it, I knew I needed to read the screenplay myself.”

Read it he did, and in December, Robert and Diane headed north to Napa again, this time to meet with the creative team behind the film. They were impressed that Miller and Savin had already broken into Sundance and that they had managed to attract a killer cast for an indie, one that included John Goodman, Danny DeVito, and Marisa Tomei. So, “Diane and I decided to provide the seed capital — the very first, and riskiest money into a film, allowing it to commence preproduction.” Further, the two “hosted a get-together at Arterra in April of 2007 to educate interested friends in San Diego about what we were doing.”

The event was one of several, says Harris, picking up the story. “We went to Napa, San Francisco, San Diego, Palo Alto, even Costa Rica. We did presentations with nice wine, with the director and some of his past work, and with our track record and vision for the film.” Miller had managed to attract Alan Rickman and Bill Pullman, with whom he had worked before, and “it gave us the momentum we needed to raise the money so we could shoot in the summer.”

They shot over five weeks in August and September of 2007. By early November, they had a rough cut to submit to the judges at Sundance. “Out of the 3600 films that apply, they take 125.” On the night before Thanksgiving, they decided to take Bottle Shock. “We had five screenings, and it played to 1500, maybe 2000 people. An amazing number of people stayed for the Q&A after the film. Now, we’ve got three or four different companies making offers. In a perfect world, the film will be in the theaters between late summer and early fall. It can be a nice alternative to the goofy end-of-summer films and slip in there before the ultra-prestige films of the fall. It’s an unabashed crowd-pleaser, which was unusual for Sundance — no drugs, no sexual confusion, no living in the gutter.”

The Hollywood Reporter went so far as to call it ‘“Rocky’ for wine aficionados,” a film that “gives crowd-pleasers a good name.” (Particularly hopeful, in my opinion, was their assessment of Rickman as English wine merchant Steve Spurrier, the man behind the Paris tasting: “One of his juiciest roles in recent years…able to satirize British haughtiness without falling into caricature.” From the trailer: “You think I’m an asshole. I’m not, really; I’m just British and, well, you’re not.”) Says Harris, “I think their review was pretty spot-on.”

Note: As part of its annual Vintage fundraiser, the SanDiego Museum of Photographic Arts is hosting a Judgment of Paris Rematch Dinner, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 11, 2008. The dinner, which will use “updated vintages,” will be held at the museum and catered by the Pamplemousse Grille. In addition, Bottle Shock director Randall Miller will be on hand for a discussion about shooting a film in wine country and for a Q&A. Cost is $575 per person ($475 tax deductible). See mopavintage.com for more information.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

San Diego Ritz Carlton greases the political skids

Sempra's covid donations run out
Next Article

Bay Books Cafe: cook the books

It’s an artistic mix of egg, pepper, red onion, queso fresco, radish slices, and avo.

J. Todd Harris is a movie producer. That means that he gets films made. “I’m just like any other guy that goes and tries to find projects and tries to find financing and a director and a writer and actors,” he says. “Producers have no discernible skills, so they just kind of take advantage of everybody else’s.” For a guy with no discernible skills, he’s had a remarkable run of success, producing some 32 films since 1995’s Denise Calls Up. Along the way, he’s been involved with broad comedy (Dudley Do-Right), horror (Jeepers Creepers), romance (Happy Hour), and even gritty drama (Urbania, which played Sundance in 2000).

But one film Harris hasn’t been able to get made — not yet, anyway — is a big-screen version of Gilligan’s Island. Happily for him and fans of Little Buddy, he’s working with an intellectual-property company that has as one of its aims just that, and it was in that context that he met Ross Schwartz, son of Gilligan’s creator Sherwood Schwartz. And in 2005, Schwartz the Younger gave Harris a copy of Bottle Shock, a script he’d written about the Paris tasting of 1976, when California wine scored a highly symbolic (but also literal) victory over the mighty French.

Recalls Harris, “I read it, and I liked it, but I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it.” Then he remembered the Lhormers: he had gone to college with Marc and to business school with Brenda, and the two had gone on to run the Sonoma Valley Film Festival, which featured a number of Harris’s projects. “They told me, ‘If you ever find a movie that we could do up in here in the Napa-Sonoma area, let us know.’ I sent it to them, and they liked it, and they thought they could raise some money. And they had just programmed a film called Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School,” directed by Randall Miller and written by Miller and his wife Jody Savin (the film had previously played at Sundance). Marc and Brenda thought Randy and Jody would be good directing and producing partners on Bottle Shock.

Miller and Savin, says Harris, “liked the script but thought it needed to punch up the romance — you really don’t want to have a wine movie without a love story. And they heightened the father-son relationship, which I think is a very relatable element. They wanted to do certain things — they were used to doing their own material. So we made a deal with them, and we started doing fundraisers.”

Cut to October of 2006, when Del Mar wine collector Robert Baizer and his wife Diane Jacob headed north to Napa to harvest grapes for the Napa Valley Reserve. Explains Baizer, the Reserve is “a winemaking club with a vineyard located in St. Helena, founded by Bill Harlan of Harlan Estate. That fall, we invited our good friends Ralph and Gail Bryan of La Jolla to join us as our guests. While hand-sorting berries on the conveyor line at Napa Valley Reserve, Ralph mentioned to me that he had received a terrific screenplay from Todd Harris.” (The connection: Todd’s wife Amy Powers, who wrote the lyrics to Zhivago, a musical developed at the La Jolla Playhouse, where Bryan and Baizer had served as producing partners on the original production of Jersey Boys.) “As we picked out raisins and twigs from what would ultimately make our 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Ralph told me the story of Bottle Shock. After hearing it, I knew I needed to read the screenplay myself.”

Read it he did, and in December, Robert and Diane headed north to Napa again, this time to meet with the creative team behind the film. They were impressed that Miller and Savin had already broken into Sundance and that they had managed to attract a killer cast for an indie, one that included John Goodman, Danny DeVito, and Marisa Tomei. So, “Diane and I decided to provide the seed capital — the very first, and riskiest money into a film, allowing it to commence preproduction.” Further, the two “hosted a get-together at Arterra in April of 2007 to educate interested friends in San Diego about what we were doing.”

The event was one of several, says Harris, picking up the story. “We went to Napa, San Francisco, San Diego, Palo Alto, even Costa Rica. We did presentations with nice wine, with the director and some of his past work, and with our track record and vision for the film.” Miller had managed to attract Alan Rickman and Bill Pullman, with whom he had worked before, and “it gave us the momentum we needed to raise the money so we could shoot in the summer.”

They shot over five weeks in August and September of 2007. By early November, they had a rough cut to submit to the judges at Sundance. “Out of the 3600 films that apply, they take 125.” On the night before Thanksgiving, they decided to take Bottle Shock. “We had five screenings, and it played to 1500, maybe 2000 people. An amazing number of people stayed for the Q&A after the film. Now, we’ve got three or four different companies making offers. In a perfect world, the film will be in the theaters between late summer and early fall. It can be a nice alternative to the goofy end-of-summer films and slip in there before the ultra-prestige films of the fall. It’s an unabashed crowd-pleaser, which was unusual for Sundance — no drugs, no sexual confusion, no living in the gutter.”

The Hollywood Reporter went so far as to call it ‘“Rocky’ for wine aficionados,” a film that “gives crowd-pleasers a good name.” (Particularly hopeful, in my opinion, was their assessment of Rickman as English wine merchant Steve Spurrier, the man behind the Paris tasting: “One of his juiciest roles in recent years…able to satirize British haughtiness without falling into caricature.” From the trailer: “You think I’m an asshole. I’m not, really; I’m just British and, well, you’re not.”) Says Harris, “I think their review was pretty spot-on.”

Note: As part of its annual Vintage fundraiser, the SanDiego Museum of Photographic Arts is hosting a Judgment of Paris Rematch Dinner, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 11, 2008. The dinner, which will use “updated vintages,” will be held at the museum and catered by the Pamplemousse Grille. In addition, Bottle Shock director Randall Miller will be on hand for a discussion about shooting a film in wine country and for a Q&A. Cost is $575 per person ($475 tax deductible). See mopavintage.com for more information.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Voice vs. ethnicity in picking the opera stars

Past singers were a mixed bag when it came to having “good looks”
Next Article

What makes a home in San Diego

Cedar fire, wary of Clairemont, rooming with my son in North Park, last vacant beachfront lots, building paradise above Rancho Santa Fe
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close