‘BENJAMIN SNIDDLEGRASS AND THE CAULDRON OF PENGUINS’
PRODUCER JON PETERS
SIMON MAYO: And here in the studio with us today is Hollywood producer Jon Peters.
JON PETERS: Hi, Simone.
MAYO: It’s Simon, actually.
JON: Simon Actually? I got told it was Simon Mayo. Sorry about that, Si. Mixup.
MAYO: Well, er… Jon, you’re actually here to discuss a very exciting project that you have coming up. The film adapation of ‘Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins’.
JON: Yeah, that’s right. Big picture. You see, I’ve done Batman, I’ve done Superman, so I’ve done all the superheros. So what’s next?
MAYO: So, Jon, why don’t you tell us how you became involved in the project?
JON: I won the rights in a card game.
MAYO: A card game?
JON: Yeah, Texas Hold ‘Em. I was playing Harvey Weinstein. Kicked his ass. Said I could have his Porsche or film rights to a wizard book. I already had twelve Porches.
MAYO: . . .
JON: Yeah. That’s how we do it in Hollywood, baby.
MAYO: There’s a lot of speculation – a lot of questions coming in from Twitter, for example, about who you’re going to cast in the title role. Are you going to go for an established teen actor, someone from television, or are you going to go the Harry Potter route and do a big casting call to find an unknown?
JON: At the moment, I’m in talks with a very, uh, distinguished actor. Very hopeful there.
MAYO: And who would that be?
JON: Christoph Waltz.
MAYO: Christoph Waltz?
JON: Yeah, ya know? From Inglorious *Mhmm*. I walked out of that movie thinking ‘That guy has the eyes of a goddam killer! Perfect for Ben Sniddlegrass’.
MAYO: (Pause) I might go to one of our twitter questions now, Jon. This is from ‘CherryXXX69’ in Peckham. He says ‘Please ask Jon if any changes will be made to the story to suit the US audience?’ Because they’re very English books in a way, aren’t they Jon?
JON: Oh yeah. (Sighs). Well, you see, we did some polls, did some tests and I gotta tell you – the climax, the battle at the end, needs some work. It just ain’t big enough. So I talked to our screenwriter. I said ‘Penguins, they’re boring. I don’t wanna make a movie about fluffy penguins. So why don’t he fight a giant spider in the third act?'
MAYO: A giant spider?
JON: Giant spider! With a sidekick too. Needs some comic relief. Maybe a gay guy, or a black guy, or a robot guy? A gay, black robot!
MAYO: Just on the spider thing – I don’t want to be picky, Jon, but the movie is called ‘Benjamin Sniddlegrass and Cauldron of Penguins’.
JON: Not any more. The title tested badly in the target demo. Turns out most American teens don’t know what ‘Cauldron’ means.
MAYO: I see.
JON: And they don’t like his name.
MAYO: ‘Benjamin Sniddlegrass’?
JON: Yeah, too lame, too faggy.
MAYO: So what is the film’s current title?
JON: B-Snid and the Spiders from Mars.
(A long pause).
MAYO: Jon, thanks very much for coming on the programme.
JON: Hey, no problem. It was a pleasure. Love the show, Steve.