At the Austin Fantastic Fest, a short campy trailer of Michelle Rodriguez growling and shooting a machine gun on an island of fire gun played to the appreciative audience. (See it embedded after the jump.) The trailer, and the accompanying posters of a black clad Rodriguez holding a gun, promised a remake of Orson Welles’ 1941 classic Citizen Kane. In Citizen Jane, with an announced release date of Sept. 5, 2011, Rodriguez would play a woman looking to avenge the murders of her parents. Various websites wondered if this was a spoof or a camp delight worth getting ready for.
It turns out that Austin-based filmmaker Aaron Burns conceived of the Citizen Jane push at Fastastic Fest as a mean to grassroots promote his upcoming feature debut Blacktino, the story of an overweight half-black, half-Hispanic nerd struggling to find his place in predominantly white Austin high school starring Danny Trejo, Jeff Fahey, and Daryl Sabara. “In Blacktino,” Burns explains by email, “the main character watches a trailer for a film called Citizen Jane, which features Michelle doing even more ridiculously awesome things… Michelle came down for the last day of production and gave me almost enough badass footage to make a full movie.”
Now that the Citizen Jane trailer is out in the world, Burns is having conversations about that actual possibility (as well as the possibility that he is a blasphemer of the first degree). “You know it’s funny because this Citizen Jane idea came out of my head as a joke from day one. Now, I’m actually getting offers from people who want to make it, and emails from others who want to see me dead for spitting on Orson Welles’ grave.” Burns is hoping to premiere Blacktino at the SXSW Film Festival in 2011.
What do you guys think? Should Burns’ next film be Citizen Jane? Is this grassroots marketing at its finest? Does the skeleton of Blacktino intrigure?