• The new B5TV.COM is here. We've replaced our 16 year old software with flashy new XenForo install. Registration is open again. Password resets will work again. More info here.

A Call to Arms: Fighting for the original cast

Favorite recurring character: All seasons

  • Yes, I have

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, I haven't

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    0
A Call to Arms

Some of you may have heard the recent rumors about the upcoming B5 feature film, “The Memory of Shadow” – how the money people are talking about recasting many of the roles from the original series with “name” actors,

I am here to tell you that this rumor is true and that unless the powers that be are convinced that tinkering with the cast will hurt them in the pocketbook, they will do what they want to do, without regard to JMS’s wish or ours. The only people in a position to convince them that there’s money on the line are US.

WE are the ones who watched the show in great enough numbers to keep it on the air for 5 years. WE are the ones who made the reruns and B5 S5 such a success on TNT that they spent millions of dollars on two extra TV movies and a half season of Crusade before they pulled the plug on that show for reasons of network politics as much as anything else. WE are the ones who lobbied and wheedled and threatened until a very skeptical Warner Bros. finally released the series, the movies and ultimately Crusade on DVD – and then bought the DVDs in such numbers that the studio decided to make this feature film in the first place.

WE are the ones who will provide the all-important opening weekend opening box office and the initial word-of-mouth. It is perfectly true that a feature film like this can’t succeed if only the hardcore fans go to see it. It will have to attract non-fans, folks who have never even heard of the series. But if WE don’t make sure the film “opens” it won’t stay in theaters long enough for non-fans to discover the film. If WE don’t provide the positive word-of-mouth the film won’t succeed.

I’ve heard that some fans don’t believe the rumor, that recasting the roles seems so obviously stupid and counter-productive that they don’t think Warner Bros. would ever do such a thing. I was skeptical myself when I first plugged into the ‘net after an absence of several month (hurricanes are such a bother) But I’ve since checked with a few individuals whom I trust implicitly and who are in a position to know about such things. They assure me the rumors are true. The studio is pressing for this, and since they write the checks, there isn’t a lot the production office can do about it.

I’ve also heard that other fans are so upset about the reported story line or indications that a given actor or character may not be in the film that they’re not interested in the project at all. Big mistake. Some have even suggested that the story line and the cast changes are part and parcel of the same thing – that the studio dictated a story that prominently featured new characters and reduced the old ones to cameos that could be cast with “name” actors as part of some deep, dark plot to remake B5 in some new image of their choosing.

Wrong

I don’t know the story line for the new film. But I DO know that it is the story that JMS chose to pitch to the studio for the first B5 film.

Did I just say “First B5 film”?

Yes, I did.

Everybody wants this film to succeed. If it succeeds, WB will want a sequel, the studios always do. If they do a sequel JMS can do a story that uses the original characters more. Everybody signing up to do the sequel to a successful movie will get a bigger payday than they did on the first. Maybe it makes more sense to do something that ties up some of the threads from Crusade and Rangers in movie #1, with the original cast in supporting roles. Then do the Teep War or some other story in movie #2. But this only works if the original cast plays the original characters in movie #1.

And that’s where you all come in. We need you to write letters – real, snail-mail, printed and hand-signed letters, to get the attention of the folks holding the purse strings. We need to remind them that ultimately we, too, hold the purse strings. We buy the tickets at the box office.

An ad hoc committee of fans has been working on ways to get the studio’s attention, including press releases and getting stories into the mainstream press. You can help by participating in a letter writing campaign with a bit of a gimmick to help it stand out from similar campaigns. Go to www.keepb5alive.com. Download one of the “B5 Bucks” designs on the site. Print them out, cut them out, and include them with your letter. We’ve also provided form letters that you can hand-write your own address and comments on, but I have to tell you – the studios pay a lot more attention to individuals who took the time to compose a letter of their own than those who merely signed a form letter that somebody else wrote. Just don’t forget to include the “ B5 Bucks” whichever you do.

This may seem like a silly gimmick. So were the Budweiser frogs. Silly gimmicks are memorable, they get attention. They WORK. So can this if Warner Bros. gets socked with thousands and thousands of letters containing these novelty items. And that’s the key – make them realize that this isn’t an issue that concerns only a few fanatical fans of particular actors but something the vast majority of the fan community cares deeply about and that we will have to consider whether or not the B5 movie WB eventually puts in theaters is really B5 or some pale imitation that we, as loyal fans, can and will rightly ignore. Go to the site, download the materials, join the fight. The casting decisions are being made right now The countdown to the start of shooting has begun. The window during which we can make our voices heard is closing, but it hasn’t closed yet. Don’t let it close until you’ve added your voice to the chorus.

Print out a letter, preferably one you’ve written yourself, today. Sign it, add a hand-written note and your address if necessary. Print out an envelope, stuff it, with some B5 Bucks, seal it, put it on the counter with your car keys. Make sure you mail it tomorrow.

We’ve been here before folks. Our backs against the wall, no chance in hell of getting what we want. We’ve been here every single season, we were here at the end of S4 most of all. We were here trying to get the show released on some form of home video and ultimately on DVD. We were here trying to get a feature film off the ground at all. We’ve always tried to do the impossible and we’ve always been told that we never could. (One SF entertainment news web site won’t run a story on this controversy because they haven’t seen an official announcement of the film from WB and they don’t believe that anybody is ever going to make a feature film based on a “little” cult show like B5)

We’ve always succeeded in the long run.

Faith manages.

Start writing.

Joe
 
I have already mailed in my letter, and it has yet to return, so presumably somebody opened it and read it. However, this was three weeks ago, and I'm not sure the "B5 Bucks" had yet been conceived of.

Should I send out another letter, including the new stuff? I'm quite prepared to. And I'll drum up whatever B5 support I can elsewhere, regardless.
 
Re: A Call to Arms: Fighting for the original cas

They suits will probably just pass the buck. :p
It makes me want to pound the desk. ;) :rolleyes:

Any chance of some £5 notes? :)
 
Re: A Call to Arms: Fighting for the original cas

Well this is pretty disturbing. I mean this rumor has been around for a while, and I was more than skeptical about whether or not to believe it, but after seeing Joe's post, I have to move my position from skeptical to believing it to be true.

Looks like I have a letter to write tomorrow, and a couple friends to inform to write letters tomorrow as well.

I like the B5 Bucks idea, and will of course do that. I think if anyone has already sent a letter without them, to go write a second letter with them.

Joe,

Do we have a confirmed mailing address that WILL work we can send to? Other addresses up here people have said some were returned to them as invalid. Anything you can do to let us know the right place to send these will help.

Thanks
 
Re: A Call to Arms: Fighting for the original cas

Recoil,

I sent mine to the Warner Bros. address keepb5alive.com had for California. That was two or three weeks ago, as I said, so I'm thinking that one worked.
 
Holy jumpin' cock-suckin' Leprechaun, this is actually serious. :mad:

Joe, I'm taking your word on this and some mail will be mailed tomorrow.

This mail will consist of three sheets of paper:
A page-long letter written by myself, politely, but with the appropriate touch of mighty GKarsEye attitude, attempting to knock some sense in those jerk-offs, including pointing out the educated guess that no one but William Shatner was offered the role of Captain Kirk for Star Trek: the Motion Picture. :rolleyes:

I also pointed out that:
- I speak for my sister, a recent Babylon 5 fan thanks to the DVDs that the fans made successfull, who will also only see a film with the original cast; and
- I have never written such a letter or officially complained with anything entertainment related before, so this is a big freakin' deal.

The other two items in the envelope will be the Delenn and Sheridan versions of the Babylon 5 million bucks sheets with my sister's and my names printed, signed and addressed.

Seriously, this is just beyond retarded...
 
Wait, I'm not finished...

Some have even suggested that the story line and the cast changes are part and parcel of the same thing – that the studio dictated a story that prominently featured new characters and reduced the old ones to cameos that could be cast with “name” actors as part of some deep, dark plot to remake B5 in some new image of their choosing.

Ok, seriously, then what is your guess as to why they would recast the actors? I mean do they really think they're gonna get Julia Roberts to put a bone on her head and be Delenn or something? No way are they gonna get better than B-list celebs (except John Voight and DeNiro, they have no more shame). No one strong enough as a celeb to get people to go just to see them. And if they do, so what? Movies with famous people tank all the time.

I honestly cannot see any potential benefit to anyone by doing this, including a financial benefit.
 
What pretext do we use, for those of us who wrote in a month ago? "Hi, I still haven't heard from you?"

I have thought about writing a second letter, because I forgot to put my personal bio information in there. With science fiction, I'm not sure anymore if I'm in their "target audience" anyway, I thought without that information my letter might actually carry more weight.

But I have nothing new to say that I didn't say a month ago. When sources very close to JMS himself assured many of us on several different boards that this was indeed, not a hoax or a horrible joke, but was indeed very real.
 
Re: A Call to Arms: Fighting for the original cas

The only pretext I would say is using those bucks. Trying to use a standard writing campaign tactics is a great idea. Having everyone do that will really help the cause be recognized by the studio.
 
Re: A Call to Arms: Fighting for the original cas

The only pretext I would say is using those bucks. Trying to use a standard writing campaign tactics is a great idea. Having everyone do that will really help the cause be recognized by the studio.

Ah, yes, that is true. Show that you are organized and that many more people are now taking it seriously.

I'll work on this in the next couple of days. But has it been decided if the address we all used was wrong? I know there have been some returned letters. Perhaps if it were addressed on the envelope less specifically?
 
Re: A Call to Arms: Fighting for the original cas

Who says you need a pretext to write a second time? Chances are that whoever reads your next letter (a) won't be the same person who read the last one and (b) wouldn't remember who you were if he/she were the same person. You are of course free to point out that you've written before and that you're sending them a million B5 Bucks (or several million) to remind them of what they are apt to lose out on if they do something as stupid as recast the movie.

There is one thing that seems to have gotten a letter bounced that we know of: to specific an address. Use the "Feature Film Production" address at the Keep B5 Alive site, don't mention B5 or "TMoS". If the production doesn't have an office on the lot the studio mailroom doesn't know what to do with it. The other thing that could get a letter bounced is story ideas. The studios don't accept unsolicited ideas for the same reason JMS avoids them - they open one up to possible lawsuits. By all means say you'd love to see Peter Jurasik playing Londo on the big screen, but don't offer any plot suggestions about how he might be worked into a story. Don't forget, if TMoS is a success there will be at least one sequel and the studio will want to keep its options open.

As for why they'd do something that dumb - studios do dumb things all the time, for one. For another the movie biz is a very uncertain one, and people try to do what they can to hedge their bets. It isn't a matter of them wanting Julia Roberts for Delenn, just somebody who has some kind of track record in American feature film, somebody with some sort of following. Also there is the Movies vs. TV mentality which is even stronger at Warner Bros. than at most studios. (The biggest hurdle in getting B5 released on home video was the contempt WB has for TV. Not only didn't the people at Warner Home Video think there was a market for TV shows on home video, they didn't want to waste their time, talent and money putting out TV shows even if there were some kind of small market because they saw themselves as an arm of the movie studio, doing big important work, not that TV crap. There is still that kind of caste system in Hollywood and the Movies vs. TV snobbery still exists, for all that the studios all would have gone bankrupt years ago if not for their TV divisions, and despite all the stars who started in TV and ended up in films.)

Some folks at WB probably just don't think a Bruce Boxleitner can "carry" a movie, and maybe they're right. What they don't realize is that he doesn't have to - the story is what has to carry the movie, and it will.

Regards,

Joe
 
Re: A Call to Arms: Fighting for the original cas

Do we have a confirmed mailing address that WILL work we can send to? Other addresses up here people have said some were returned to them as invalid. Anything you can do to let us know the right place to send these will help.

We're targeting the Burbank address. We *know* that it's correct, the only thing we can think of that went wrong is that, with no official announcement of the movie yet, some clerk was confused at the mention of TMOS on the envelopes. This time we suggest just sending it to Warner Brothers Feature Film Department at the address on KeepB5Alive.com. This will force them to open the letter and be showered by B5 Bucks.

Fewer than ten letters were reported returned so we hope that little damage was done by returned letters.

Thanks for writing!

Jan
 
Re: A Call to Arms: Fighting for the original cas

B5 bucks rule :cool:

Glad to see the fires of activism are still burning, and it's good to hear the thoughts of JDM. I've already sent three letters, to warners in the states and the UK, and Winchester films in London (a few blocks down from where I work..)

I guess I can send a few of these tasty greenbacks out as well...
 
Re: A Call to Arms: Fighting for the original cas

The whole scenerio of recasting, if it turns out to be true, seems completely unnecessary to me. Why not just have JMS supplement the original cast holdovers in addition to new characters portrayed by studio-friendly actors? If there is a certain holdover the studio doesn't like then simply exclude them from the movie or give them a brief cameo role and nobody complains.

The logic of trying to secure "name" actors for a role is certainly understandable from the studio point-of-view because they like "bankable" stars that they hope can draw from a wider demographic pool of potential customers. But to do something like recasting a science fiction program, a genre with a track record of borderline fanatic devotion from many of it's meticulous followers, obviously opens the project up to a fan backlash. Why take that risk?

Sure the new Battlestar Galactica survived the "reinvisioning" but the "Battlestar Galactica" name was well-established in the public while the actual original program was decades old and was not as ingrained in the public as Galactica merchandise. I don't believe that Babylon 5 has the luxuries of distance between the last air-date and the fact that the characters are freshly ingrained in the public because of RECENT first-run and syndication airings as well as the DVD's having been released to success. Remember the original Galactica wasn't released on DVD until just before the miniseries aired and the new media blitz had begun.

As a compromise, if JMS and the studio both agreed to drop a few of the actors (Perhaps Jerry Doyle?) yet keep a similar character type then JMS could always develop yet another "mirror" character. If I described a tough-talking and uncomprimising woman of authority in C&C you would answer:
a) Takahima (whatever her name is from the pilot)
b) Ivanova
c) Lockley
d) All of The Above.

The correct answer is "D". Sinclair leaves the show and we get Sheridan. Pat Tallman is the 'Teep, then Andrea Thompson, then back to Pat Tallman. It's happened many times and no one seems to complain much.

Or JMS could just go off with a different storyline and abandon all but the bare minimum of the original characters. This would still be controversal to some, but to a lesser extent than a full re-imagining. The rumored plot seems to have taken this approach and I, quite frankly, find the brief outline that I was shown to be quite unexceptional if it is in fact true.

I haven't posted in some time (I just finished working on a friend's movie) and when I first heard the "recast" rumors a couple of weeks before I read them on this and other boards from friends in the media business who are B5 fans I initially laughed it off as someone trying to have fun at the fans expense so I didn't want to post it on this forum and cause unnecessary concern. But the more I thought about it the more I considered the possiblity becoming a reality. Joe's original post seems to confirm at least that the topic has been discussed at the studio level (Though I would be interested in knowing at least what type of source has provided you with the information, Joe) but that still doesn't necessarily have to mean anything at this point. Lots of ideas will be thrown out in the pre-production process. Most will not stick.

Yet the fact that I understand that a few of the principle original cast members have still not received any contact from JMS could suggest, depending on the current stage of pre-production, that at least some of the original actors are not in the plans to this point. This could be due to recasting or omission of their characters from the script or a multitude of other more innocent reasons. Again, it could be too early in the pre-production to contact the actors will fixed dates of filming, but remember that the actors have to free up their schedules and contracts must be negotiated so they would need to be contacted well before-hand.

Still, as I have posted in the past, I believe that Babylon 5: TMoS as a feature is anything but a sure thing to reach the production stage. This whole thing sounds curious to me and conspiracy theorists could probably speculate that the studio could be trying to get out of some contractual agreement(s) by trying to get JMS or others to balk and walk away from the whole thing and save themselves a bit of money in the process. Regardless, the studio could call off the whole thing at any stage, really. So don't hold your breath, guys.
 
Re: A Call to Arms: Fighting for the original cas

I have already sent them an ordinary letter... but to ease their accounting... I will send them my "monetary contribution" in clearly recognizable form. As issued by the Central Bank of Minbar.

And since I suspect Joe is correct to mention that the window of opportunity for influencing their choices is ending... I shall send it today.
 
Re: A Call to Arms: Fighting for the original cas

My second letter reads as follows, for those who may be lacking insipration...
.....
10th January 2005
Warner Brothers Feature Film Development Dept.
4000 Warner Boulevard
Burbank , CA 91522

Dear Warner Brothers,
I’ve already written to you regarding my anticipation for the much rumoured Babylon 5 movie. As with my previous letter, I am writing to add my support to your studio in the project, and tell you again how I really can’t wait to see a big screen theatrical movie starring the original cast of my favourite TV programme. With Star Trek in noticeable decline, and the last Star Wars movie being released this summer, Babylon 5 really has the potential to take off as a blockbuster science fiction movie franchise.

Alongside the excellent script-writing and storyline from J Michael Straczynski, the cast of Babylon 5 really made the show worth watching. Mira Furlan as Delenn and Bruce Boxleitner as John Sheridan in particular really both stand out in my mind as the only actors to play those characters. I can’t imagine seeing anyone else in those roles.

I’d also really like to see these actors taking up their old roles up alongside big Hollywood names playing new characters, such as the rumoured Diane Baker role. The actress Jennifer Garner would be an excellent choice for this kind of role.

To show my support for your movie with the original cast in place, I’ve included a few B5 bucks. These are a fun means for people such as myself to demonstrate how much the show and original cast mean to them as fans and consumers. It’s also our way of promising to help support the movie financially when it is released, as we have done already with your excellent DVD releases. The bucks are from http://www.keepb5alive.com, a website that’s been viewed over 15,000 times in its one month of operation.

As I mentioned in my previous letter, I’m 26, live with my partner in London and work as a library systems administrator. I’ve been a fan of Babylon 5 since it was first aired on UK tv, and can remember being very disappointed that the spin-off series Crusade never reached its full potential. I’ve purchased the show on VHS and DVD, as well as its spin off material. I’m not usually the kind of person who writes to studios, in fact until I sent my first letter I’ve never done this before.

I wish you all the best in your production of this movie, and look forward to supporting it and seeing the original cast in place upon its release.


Yours



Ed Chamberlain
 
Re: A Call to Arms: Fighting for the original cas

Do we have a confirmed mailing address that WILL work we can send to? Other addresses up here people have said some were returned to them as invalid. Anything you can do to let us know the right place to send these will help.

We're targeting the Burbank address. We *know* that it's correct, the only thing we can think of that went wrong is that, with no official announcement of the movie yet, some clerk was confused at the mention of TMOS on the envelopes. This time we suggest just sending it to Warner Brothers Feature Film Department at the address on KeepB5Alive.com. This will force them to open the letter and be showered by B5 Bucks.

Fewer than ten letters were reported returned so we hope that little damage was done by returned letters.

Thanks for writing!

Jan

And thanks you, Jan, and Coloneyearth when you reported this news some time ago. If it isn't too late, then a second wave of letters, larger and more targeted than the first, can't do any harm. :)
 
Re: A Call to Arms: Fighting for the original cas

My second letter is written, printed out, folded up, and enveloped along side all six $1mill bills and one of the larger promise to buy a ticket slips, and the envelope is all addressed and ready to mail. All needs doing now is the application of a stamp and dropping in the out-of-town outgoing mail box at the post office.

:D

"We are an army, Mr Garibaldi. We're small, but we're growing."
 
Should the people outside U.S. write any letters as well?
Or are we talking about a U.S.domestic box office opening week?

Almir
 

Members online

No members online now.
Back
Top