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Bob Weinstein: ‘We Want the Miramax Name Back, I’ll Tell You That Much’

The journey to get The Road on the big screen has been fraught with nearly as much peril as the plot of the book. As you'll likely recall, it's been nearly a year since the film was originally scheduled to be released, but now that the it's due in theaters nationwide next week, Weinstein Company co-founder Bob Weinstein is in good spirits. We caught up with him last night at the New York premiere of The Road and spoke to him about the demise of Miramax, sibling rivalry with his brother Harvey, and their attempts to convince Wes Craven to direct Scream 4.

How did you end up choosing John Hillcoat to direct the movie?
Nick Wechsler, the producer of this movie who produced Sex, Lies, and Videotape, chose the director of this film along with Marc Butan, one of the executives at 2929, so they brought it as part of the package, but I was familiar with his movies.

Yes, we've heard that the previous film depicting the relationship between the two brothers in The Proposition that wanted to kill each other resonated with you and Harvey?
Well it was about two guys, two outlaws, in the 1860s. They were outlaws together, but they worked together, they were outlaws together, and they loved each other, but by the end of the movie they're trying to kill each other. It sounds like my daily life with my brother. I'm only making a joke.

It's been publicized that Miramax isn't doing so well, while the Weinstein Company seems to be in good shape. [Ed. Note: Disney decided to cut Miramax's releases to three films a year, cease operations in New York, and reduce its overall budget by 70 percent.] Does that provide any vindication for you?
You know what, we are past the time of caring whether anyone else does poorly, we are just happy we are doing good. We are very fortunate we had Inglourious Basterds [and] Halloween making money for the company. We think that The Road will do well; we've got Nine; we've got A Single Man. We've got a lot of good things coming up, so we are very happy. We think we've turned a corner.

Definitely. I guess the saying "living well is the best revenge" can be applied as much to business as anything else.
We want the name back, I'll tell you that much.

2009 seems like it's been a good year, what's up for the Weinstein Company in 2010?
Well, in 2010, I'm going to be starting to make on a whole other level Scream
4
. I'm redoing that trilogy, so we are making Scream 4, 5, and 6 with Courteney Cox, Neve Campbell, and David Arquette. Kevin Williamson, who wrote the original, is doing it. We are in negotiations with Wes Craven.Spy Kids, which Robert Rodriguez did, we are doing another one of those, too.

What made you want to revisit Scream?
You know what? I got tired of watching a lot of lousy horror movies out there, and we felt we made one of the best ones ever in terms of those, so we are ready to make a comeback on that. All I can say is we made three great ones and we changed the course of horror movies and we are ready to do it again.

Is it going to be much of the same? Or are you going to spice it up
in any way?

The same and more. Technology is taking over in a much vaster and different way than before and that's going to play a large part of it. We've got a great plot — old characters are going to meet new characters, so it is not just cashing in.

New blood, eh? What about Megan Fox? Perhaps you could kill her in the opening scene, just like Drew Barrymore?
I'm not announcing who we have other than the older cast. All that will be announced.

Do you have them locked in?
The old cast is locked in.

You're still choosing who will be in the new cast?
The new cast will be announced along the way.

And if Wes doesn't do it, you'll get another director?
We are confident we are going to reach an agreement with Wes. I can't say we have, but we are confident.

Photo: Patrick McMullan