Posted by Posted by Dark Beige On 14:29



Present are Jack Steinbaum, executive producer, Michael Saint, producer, Bill Freely, writer and Steven Seagal, lead actor and executive producer.

10:31 am: Coffee and croissants are offered. All accept bar Mr Seagal, who asks for a glass of French tap water. Apologising profusely, Mr Steinbaum explains that we do not have any at present, and then sends an intern out to France.

10:39: The meeting begins. The main item of discussion is the current draft of the script, which has caused disagreement amongst Mr Seagal on the one side, and Mr Saint and Mr Freely on the other.

10:42: Mr Steinbaum outlines the disagreement: Whereas Mr Freely has written a tight, entertaining script about a white policeman who has to go undercover in the world of black music to infiltrate a top criminal organisation, Mr Seagal thinks that the new draft has put his character, Tommy Riolla (AKA "Tha Riol 1") in a bad light, which will lead audiences to look on him less favourably.

10:47: Mr Seagal concurs. He feels that in the new draft "Riolla is a pussy" who "no real Seagal fan is going to believe in".

10:49: Mr Steinbaum asks Mr Seagal to expound on his reasons for reaching that decision.

10:50: Mr Seagal feels that the scene early on in the film where Riolla is blasted out by an angry black lieutenant for blowing up the precinct is kind of cool in that it shows he is a bad ass who will do whatever it takes to get his man, and approves of his comeback to the Lieutenant’s threat that "next time it’s going to be your badge!" with "I never collected badges anyway".

However, Mr Seagal still feels that the very fact the police sergeant even raises his voice at him may undermine his authority. As Mr Seagal sees it, the lieutenant would be too scared to even mention it, despite the millions of dollars of criminal damage caused.

10: 55 Mr Seagal agrees to the dressing down as long as the lieutenant says it with a shaky voice and a tear in his eye.

10:56: Mr Seagal also approves of the fact that three female characters who Riolla encounters in the film are all attracted to him; one who he is flattered by but rejects (though his contract still stipulates that she is an ex-Playboy playmate), one who is killed, and one who he eventually has sex with.

However, Mr Seagal is alarmed that there is a delivery girl who brings him a parcel in the second act who in no way seems to be overcome by his total manliness. He feels that she should either make it clear that she wants him right there and then, or wear a boiler suit, shaved head etc, to underline her lesbianity.

11:00 It is agreed that the delivery girl will look at Mr Seagal and lick her lips seductively.

11:01: Mr Seagal said nothing, but stared out of the window intently for nine minutes.

11:10: In one of the film’s key scenes, Riolla is "beaten in" by a Los Angeles street gang. This shows that white Riolla has been accepted by the black gang – a rare honour. It is also in line with Freely’s research that this is what would really happen.

Seagal is very unhappy about this. He feels that the gang would be too scared of him to even suggest the initiation, let alone go through with it. Even if there were ten of them, he feels that the audience will be unable to get their heads around how Riolla could possibly lose.

11:13 Mr Freely and Mr Saint strongly disagree. They feel that the scene is vital for a number of reasons.

11:15 Looking for some compromise, Mr Seagal wonders whether it might be made clear that Riolla is at all times letting the gang assault him – and possibly even have some apologise to him in trembling voices as they commit their cowardly act. Mr Seagal even mooted the idea of one of the gang visibly urinating themselves in fear of Riolla, though this was universally shouted down.

11:29 Mr Seagal agrees to the scene on the provisos that there are 30 men, he still gives as good as he gets for much of the fight, and at least two gang members get seriously injured.

11:41 Mr Seagal feels that a scene where Mr Riolla argues with long time mentor Jake Steel, ending in Steel reminding him "You can’t walk on water, you know!" is flawed, as it clearly isn’t true.

11:54 Mr Seagal feels that the character of E Zee Dogg, the rapper who he teams up with to beat the bad guys, is given too much dialogue. When they are on screen together, Dogg gets 4% more lines than Riolla – Mr Seagal has looked into it.

He also feels that Dogg does not show him enough, respect, particularly disliking the line "Now, you'se my dogg!" This line was meant to show that Riolla and Dogg had got over the racial barrier between them, but Mr Seagal feels that some fans could think he is being likened to a household pet. Mr Seagal feels that the dynamic between them should be reshaped into something more like teacher and pupil; perhaps Riolla teaches Dogg how to read?

12:02 Everyone else strongly disagrees.

12:04 Intern returns from France with tap water


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