What I know as a certainty is that the producers of the film genuinely wanted to make a movie that would reflect well on Ishmael. Without being obliged to in any way, they allowed me to have some input at the script level, and I was able to moderate (but not eliminate) some of the excesses that have troubled movie-goers.
It was not an independent production, it was a studio production, which means the producers had to deliver the goods that presumably work at the box office. The studio (Touchstone) wanted action, violence, and conflict—not philosophy—and that’s what they got. Those are the realities of Hollywood.
If I’d had my druthers, I wouldn’t have made a feature film at all. Ishmael doesn’t lend itself to that. But it would work as a four-part mini-series, and that’s what I would’ve made (provided any network would run it—an unlikely proposition at best).
posted: 07 Jul 1999
updated: 02 Apr 2002