Lately I’ve been hearing about so-called ‘honest trailers’ when some bored teenager or grandmother decides to redub the previews for films that didn’t exactly set the box-office alight and left their audiences disappointed. I could imagine some Johnny Depp-soundalike dubbing over a trailer for THE LONE RANGER, saying ‘hello – my ego got in the way of this being a good film; yes I’m Tonto unbrained’. That is for another time. One film I have seen that left no mark at the box office is TRAP FOR CINDERELLA, British director Iain Softley’s first film since INKHEART.
Softley came to prominence with BACKBEAT (1993), the story of Stuart Sutcliffe, the fifth Beatle, who I actually thought was the brother of the Yorkshire Ripper or a character out of X-MEN (wait, that’s Scott Sommers). Sutcliffe was played by Stephen Dorff, back when British films always cast Americans as quintessentially English – like Forest Whitaker as a British squaddie in THE CRYING GAME (1992) - or the cast of THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984), wait, that was American.
Softley followed it with a Henry James adaptation, THE WINGS OF THE DOVE (1997), one of Helena Bonham Carter’s better pre-Tim Burton movies. More recently, he made THE SKELETON KEY, with Kate Hudson (remember her). So he’s had a bit of a spotty career. I would say he was in a funk, as opposed to a Cornelia Funke, the author of INKHEART.
So, what about TRAP FOR CINDERELLA?
I imagine the ‘preview’ runs as follows:
A Lionsgate logo (the old one) quickly flashes across the screen, embarrassed, eager to disassociate from the following footage.
IMAGE: A fake-looking fire burst through a window.
VOICEOVER: A tragic deployment of poor CGI leaves young Mickey with a disfigured face.
IMAGE: We see TUPPENCE MIDDLETON as young Mickey with a few scars on her face after ‘reconstructive’ surgery.
VOICEOVER: Well, maybe not that bad. She picks the strangest friends.
IMAGE: We are introduced to KERRY FOX, almost twenty years after SHALLOW GRAVE (1994) and over twenty years since AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE (1990), looking very matronly as Mickey sits up in bed,
MIDDLETON: Who are you?
FOX: I’m your best friend.
VOICEOVER: Memories are lost.
FOX: I’m taking you back to England.
MIDDLETON (re-dubbed): How do I know I’m from there?
FOX (re-dubbed): With that accent?
VOICEOVER: Lawyers will be called.
IMAGE: Mickey in her lawyer’s office.
MIDDLETON: Are you J?
ACTOR PLAYING LAWYER (re-dubbed): Oh, you mean the Elijah Wood lookalike? No, you’ll bump into him in the street.
IMAGE: Exterior. Fitzroy Square, London NW1. ANEURIN BARNARD, the Elijah Wood-lookalike co-star of EMANUEL AND THE TRUTH ABOUT FISHES, walks past TUPPENCE MIDDLETON.
MIDDLETON (re-dubbed): I shouldn’t know you. But maybe I do.
BARNARD (re-dubbed): How about we go to my place and fornicate?
VOICEOVER: Sex will be gratuitous!
IMAGE: Mickey and her ex, post-coital.
BARNARD: The last time we met, you said you never wanted to see me again.
MIDDLETON (redubbed): With moves like those, I’m not surprised.
VOICEOVER: At the heart of the mystery is money.
IMAGE: Mickey’s friend (FOX) in her front room.
FOX: Your aunt is dead. When you turn twenty-one you will come into a great deal of money.
MIDDLETON (redubbed): Gee, that’s really strange, seeing as how I ended up in a fire.
VOICEOVER: A diary will reveal the truth.
IMAGE: Mickey in her flat (she got the keys from her ex) reading through Do’s diary.
MIDDLETON (redubbed): Jesus, did I really wear black eyeliner and black leggings. What a cliché.
VOICEOVER: The truth about a friendship.
IMAGE: Do (ALEXANDRA ROACH) outside the bank where she works, waves to Mickey.
ROACH (redubbed): Mickey, it’s all right, it’s a flashback.
MIDDLETON (redubbed): My God, I haven’t seen you since I went on holiday and nearly drowned in a swimming pool and we saw your dad copping off with my aunt, even though that isn’t apparent until two-thirds of the way through the movie.
ROACH (redubbed as Do writes on Mickey’s hand): I’ll give you my number.
VOICEOVER: Two girls will get ever closer.
IMAGE: We see Mickey and Do in a bar wearing identical wigs.
VOICEOVER: Until the boyfriend gets fed up.
BARNARD (to MIDDLETON): Why are we always with her?
VOICEOVER: Trendy parts of London will be name-checked.
ROACH (to a cabbie): 1 Rivington Street, please.
VOICEOVER: But we’ll still end up in France.
MIDDLETON: Let’s visit my aunt in France. She’s poorly.
ROACH (redubbed): Will we end up nearly off the edge of the cliff owing to your bad driving?
VOICEOVER: Frances de la Tour will act her co-stars off the screen without even speaking.
IMAGE: FRANCES DE LA TOUR as Mickey’s aunt, in bed, looking around, and then closing her eyes with deep resignation.
VOICEOVER: The dialogue is that trite.
IMAGE: FOX as Mickey’s friend confronts Do by the swimming pool.
FOX: I know what it is like to be you!
ROACH (redubbed): You played Janet Frame, not young Margaret Thatcher.
VOICEOVER: It all leads to murder.
IMAGE: A gas pipe is interfered with.
CUT TO: A man confronts Mickey.
ACTOR WHOSE NAME I DIDN’T CHECK: I know what you did. I want one hundred thousand euro.
MIDDLETON (redubbed): I uncovered my top for large portions of this movie and I didn’t earn that!
VOICEOVER: From the novel by Sebastian Jaspert, an author you’ve never heard of -
IMAGE: MIDDLETON fighting with FOX.
VOICEOVER: And a film you won’t want to watch!
IMAGE: The ‘friend’ (FOX) in Mickey’s flat.
FOX (to MIDDLETON): Hello, Do.
CAPTION: TRAP FOR CINDERELLA
VOICEOVER: Not really worth the price of admission, except if you have a brand ‘Unlimited’ card.
REST OF CREDITS, audience check their Twitter accounts, etc.