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February 12, 2004

Godzilla Totally Overestimated the Number of Giant Lizards in New York.

Daniel Radosh

And now the latest developments in the Peter Landesman sex slaves saga. Over at The Boston Globe, Cathy Young picks up the ball and... I was going to say runs with it, but it's more like dribbling in place. (Plus, her lackadaisical spelling is almost as self-defeating as my Googlebaiting was, but I'm a blogger, we're supposed to be freewheelin'.)

More intriguingly, The Daily News notes that Times has now received an official complaint about the overselling of Plainfield, NJ as Anytown, USA. As Vito put it, "If American flags flutter from porches and windows, it must be elsewhere as there are no porches here, nor flags." (I think that's on the official tourist brochures.) Though the Times has repeatedly declared the case closed, ombudsman Dan Okrent says he's "spending some time" on it.

But the controversy has not stopped Landesman from achieving his most important goal: the creation of a presidential commission on domestic trafficking selling the film rights. Start your Fandangoing now -- Sex Slaves On Main Street is slated to hit the big screen as The Girls Next Door (not to be confused with The Girl Next Door), co-scripted by Landesman and directed by Roland Emmerich. According to Variety the plot is just a little bit different from the original article. There are three storylines. "One will center on a Ukrainian girl promised a better life in America and coerced to become a sex slave. Another will revolve around a young Mexican girl kidnapped and pressed into prostitution. The third concerns her brother, who joins forces with a cop who discovers he is the father of a young daughter who also has been kidnapped and is likely a sex slave."

According to Landesman, "There is no controversy about the article," oh, and by the way, he could not have been more surprised that Hollywood was interested. "I didn't expect this, because it is such a dark and disturbing story. I didn't immediately see the movie, but after hearing Roland's vision, it was perfectly clear."

Yes, studios do tend to shy away from stories about sex, violence, and international intrigue, don't they? I'm sure the words "It's Traffic meets 8mm by way of Hardcore" never crossed Landesman's lips, even if some people who know him were saying immediately after the article appeared that he's always about the movie deals. (Yes, I know who 'Angela' is, and that she and PL were once friends.)

When Landesman flipped out on me after my original questioning of his article, the reaction seemed so out of proportion to my relatively minor questions. Now I wonder if he wasn't worried worried about queering his film deal. After all, Emmerich tells Variety, "I had heard such things might exist in places like Thailand and Russia, but when Peter spoke about how it was taking place in Mexico and America, I was completely shocked." No US-angle, no picture.

But don't worry, the film won't be sensationalized, says Emmerich. "I absolutely will direct. There are so many silly movies made, I feel strongly this is a story that should be told, one that touched my heart." Emmerich, of course, will produce crap like Eight Legged Freaks, but he only directs those important stories that touch his heart: Godzilla, Independence Day, Stargate, Universal Soldier.

Shorter this post: "Her brother, who joins forces with a cop who discovers he is the father of a young daughter who also has been kidnapped and is likely a sex slave."

Next up: The Times tries a new spin.

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