"Congratulations, Mr. Giancola!": a you-make-the-movie game

Here’s a game that kids from 8 to 80 love to play!

You are a big-time, hot shot Hollywood movie producer. For your next big project, you have just purchased a nifty little script called Time Chasers by David Giancola. Now you get to decide:

  • who will direct it
  • who will star in it
  • what script/story changes would you insist on
  • who will rewrite it
  • do you change the tile
  • do you envision it as a sci-fi movie, a rom-com, a comedy, an adventure movie, a musical, a scathing social satire . . .

For purposes of the game, we assume that Mr. Giancola’s film does not exist, so this is not a remake, but the world’s very first look at the Time Chasers saga. You can choose to make your version of Time Chasers any time from 1994 (when the version we know debuted) to today. The cast you choose must all be from the same era; for example, if you decide to make your TC movie in 1999 with Harrison Ford as your star, don’t make Lady Gaga your co-star (she would have been unknown then) or Alfred Hitchcock your director (he was an ex-director by that time).

The four main roles you should cast are:

Nick Miller – our hero
Lisa Henson – local reporter/love interest
J.K. Robertosn – boo! hiss!
Matthew Paul – his flunky

Feel free to add other cast members as you see fit.

There’s a decent story to be found in that Time Chasers script. Who among us could best bring this classic tale to life on the silver screen?


I’d have to think for everyone, but a friend of mine says that Nick’s original actor somehow resembles Robin Williams. I don’t see it myself, but that’s what he says.

And though he was more for voice acting in this regard, I’d have probably cast Tony Jay as J.K. Robertson just to have his voice. He’s done evil (or at least morally low) businessmen too with Shere Khan on “Tail Spin”…


Let’s get J.K. Simmons in as J.K. Robertson. There’s name synergy, there, and I think he’d work really well in the role.


Making it’s box office debut in 2001, I would cast Heath Ledger as Nick Miller, and Julia Roberts as Lisa Henson in A Dark Time Chaser’s Tale. The gritty action comedy would be directed by Christopher Nolan, and produced and written by Quentin Tarantino.

Ben Stiller would play the role of Matthew Paul, while Rufus Sewell plays JK Robertson, and is beheaded by Julia Roberts in the movie’s penultimate scene (spilling buckets of blood), as she turns out to be a cyborg assassin from the future. Finally, the rocking soundtrack features songs from the likes of Queen and Thin Lizzy.

What do you think, sirs?


Keepin’ it 1994 style, yo.

TITLE CHANGE == Time Flies
DIRECTOR CHANGE == David Fincher (yeah, he was still working in music videos at the time but, hey, here’s the alternate universe where he got his start a little earlier)

Nick Miller == Dennis Quaid
Lisa Henson == Susan Sarandon
J.K. Robertson == Michael Douglas
Matthew Paul == Danny DeVito

Because why not.


The Great Muppet Time Chase !!

Nick Miller - Kermit
Lisa Henson - Piggy
J.K. Robertson - Sam The Eagle
Matthew Paul - Gonzo

Musical comedy, of course.

I know Henson and Raposo were no longer with us in 1994, but we’ll think of someone good!


What, no Uncle Deadly for J.K.?

And I guess Fozzy would play Morty?


Sam has the vocal chops, though. Plus, we all remember Fozzie’s stellar driving skills from the first Muppet movie.


New Title - Eraser Time
Director, David Lynch

Nick Miller - Kyle MacLachlan
Lisa Henson - Sheryl Lee
J.K. Robertson - Isabella Roselini
Matthew Paul - Jack Nance

And there would be a large beetle, for no good reason, played by Danny DeVito

I wouldn’t rewrite much, but there would be many scenes that would be filmed backwards then played forwards.

Rewrites, if any, would be handled by Dr. Seuss


New Title: Tangents
Director: Ridley Scott
Genre: Deep and meaningful scifi

Nick Miller: Harrison Ford (in his 80s prime!)
Lisa Henson: Michelle Pfeiffer
J.K. Robertson: Malcolm McDowall
Matthew Paul: Willem Dafoe

The focus of the movie would be on the tangents created by Nick’s time travel with Nick and Lisa getting lost in the threads of time and Matthew Paul is not a flunky but a dangerous mercenary whose focus is on money and nothing else.


To me, he always resembled MacGyver-era Richard Dean Anderson. I think RDA would work well in the role, too.

Which I guess would make recurring MacGyver guest star Teri Hatcher a natural choice for Lisa. Just have to pull her away from the Lois and Clark set for a bit. (RDA was apparently working on a couple of MacGyver TV movies at the time. I somehow either missed or forgot about those.)

Going with that theme, I kind of want to get David Hasselhoff for J.K., but I don’t think he’d really work. George Peppard? (Checking… He died in… 1994. But he was still working on screen right up until then.) And then Dirk Benedict can be Matthew.

Oh, and let’s just throw in a Mark Hamill cameo as the cab driver.

Script changes: We definitely need to see more of the good future than a food court table. And, while we’re at it, the dialog in that scene needs to be rewritten. Naive and idealistic as he may be, Nick can’t possibly be that oblivious to the potential uses of time travel, and Matthew should certainly be able to think of some more profitable ideas.

Likewise, we need more out of the dark future. Corporations and governments weaponizing time travel is an interesting idea, but we need to see the effects of that. Shifting memories and changing histories. Mass confusion. Other time travelers. More action. Tie it back to the good future by using some of the same locations.

Title: Time Chasers isn’t very exciting. Or evocative. Apparently the original title was Tangents, and that doesn’t really work, either. Out of Time is closer, but feels cliche. No, wait. There it is. Staring right at us. Nick of Time.


As an evil executive, and therefore an overgrown toddler, I’m sure I know more about making movies than anyone who’s been doing it their entire career.

Directors, what do they know? We’ve got AI to handle that now. It can throw in random lens flares and put ugly filters over everything, and that’s all we need.

I dunno. For the hero, I recognise this name Jared Leto. Hang on, my assistant Debbie’s upset and saying something about “awful”, but I’m sure I know better.

Now the chick. None of these so-called actresses will have anything to do with me, using words like “sleazy” and “reprehensible”, so screw them. I’ll have those nerds downstairs make me a CG actress, and she’ll love me and won’t vomit when I make my move on her.

The bad guy. Seems like an ok guy to me. I saw a picture of a good-looking guy in the office the other day. Paul something. Newman? My assistant’s saying he’s dead. I don’t care, make it happen!

The flunky? I dunno, one of those comedy relief guys. Pick someone out of the token minority pile, Debbie. Might as well take care of that now.

Look, don’t bother me with details, sunshine. It’ll all work out once we start filming.

Writers?! Hahaha! Oh, we don’t use them anymore. Look, I’ve got clips from other movie’s we’ll rip off on my iPhone (gotta be an iPhone or how will people know you’re a Hollywood genius?).

Good point. The Chinese hate time travel, and we can’t lose that market. Ok, we’ll change the hero’s name to something like Max Awesome and use that for the title instead. There will be so many fast cuts and blurry CG that no one will know what’s happening anyway.

Hey, we don’t make genres here. You film some people in an empty room, throw some money at the nerds to make a cartoon around them, turn the whole thing into a tax writeoff, and walk away with all the money. Got it?



Directed by Spike Jonze
Written by Charlie Kaufman

Nick Miller – John Malkovich
Lisa Henson – John Malkovich
J.K. Robertson – John Malkovich
Matthew Paul – John Malkovich

It’s basically the same story as Time Chasers, but with a few small adjustments. Clearly.


I like what I’m hearing. Have your people call my people.

1 Like

Clap Applause GIF


Do you think we could get John C. Reilly to play John Malkovich?


It may be something of a task, but I’ll get in contact with my affiliates.


New title:
Ernest Flies Through Time
starting Jim Varney


Wait, let me try this again.

Director: Cambot
Script rewrites: Crow T. Robot
Title: Earth vs. Time
Nick: Joel Hodgson
Lisa: Tom Servo
J. K.: Trace Bolieu
Matthew: TV’s Frank
Nick’s plane: Petey
Cabbie: GPC
Security guard: Matt McGinnis
Future people: Mike Nelson, Jonah Ray, Emily Connor, Patton Oswalt, Felicia Day
1776 soldiers: J. Elvis Weinstein, Crow T. Robot, Beeper
Various cameos: Bridget Nelson, Beez McKeever, Paul Chaplin, Mary Jo Pehl

As they move backwards and forwards through time, Lisa’s voice changes, but no one comments on it.

In the good future, Nick and friends have soup at the food court, but in the bad future, soup is mankind’s deadliest enemy.

The genre changes with the time period. You can’t tie this down to just one genre.

Cambot insists that the movie must be shot with a commentary track by Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett, Hampton Yount, Connor McGiffin, Rebecca Hanson, Yvonne Freese, Baron Vaughn, and Kelsey Ann Brady.


Well… Frak me.

Now, I’m going to have to rewatch Time Chasers and figure out what’s his name’s … name… so I can add Jimmy Buffett to the cast.