When Your Movie is Canned After 4 Years Work, Write a Song About It

Tim Minchin is one of those utter pop-cultural geniuses, alongside the likes of Alan Moore, Tom Stoppard, John Finnemore, Edgar Wright and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, medium-transgressors who we are lucky to be alive at the same time as they are putting stuff out. Sometimes, along that journey, we are denied the results of their labour. In 2013, Minchin moved with his family to Los Angeles so that he could work on Larrikins, a planned Australian-themed animated musical film for DreamWorks Animation, which he wrote the songs for and was set to co-direct with Chris Miller. The film was set to have an all-star Australian voice cast, headed by Hugh Jackman. However, in March 2017, the project was cancelled, possibly in a decision by Comcast, who had bought DreamWorks Animation a year earlier. Tim Minchin called the outcome "unbearable", noting that he had turned down many projects during those four years, and that "there were 120 people working on that film." He and his family moved back to Sydney in January 2018.

When Your Film is Canned After 4 Years of Work, Write a Song About It, Tim Minchin,
When Your Film is Canned After 4 Years of Work, Write a Song About It, Tim Minchin, Screencap from YouTube.

Since then, Tim Minchin has written and starred in the rather fabulous dark comedy Upright, and continues to write and perform new songs. But in the process of leaving Los Angeles to return to Australia, he wrote the song Leaving LA, and collaborator Tee Ken Ng spent a year making the accompanying music video. Both are pretty damn inspired and feed off each other. The song portrays Los Angeles as a shallow, unrewarding two-dimensional town, epitomised by the 'ugly letters on a hill'. The video creates a two-dimensional version of Los Angeles in cardboard cutouts, animated like a zoetrope, the original form of animation that led to the very existence of cinema. But in doing so, create a fabulous visual spectacle, that punches home some of Minchin's greatest lines in this song, 'a stoned Emma Stone dressed a la La La Land, and…', an aeroplane described as a 'tube of monkeys' and those letters in their 'glorious two dimensions' casting their shadow, a Plato view of Hollywood. Enjoy. You'll watch it twice for the video alone, and then the earworm will have sunk in. No apologies…


About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.