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The Third Society Part 2 - Jacque Ruffner PDF Print E-mail
Written by By Mitch Persons   
Dec 25, 2004 at 07:00 PM
"So now I'm twenty-three years old, and I’m something of a success, and I’m driving around in this Mercedes, and everybody’s kissing my butt, and in the meantime, I start drinking. When I was fourteen years old I had a really bad sled-riding accident where the entire left side of my face became almost paralyzed, and to kill the pain I took codeine. On top of everything else, I get bruised frequently, so it was a very easy excuse to go to the USC Medical Center doctor and go, ‘My face hurts. Can I have some more codeine?’ So I’d be taking codeine, and I’d be drinking a six-pack and taking Tylenol. Some weeks I would spend a thousand dollars on alcohol alone. One of the executives at Warner’s said to me, ‘If you don’t kill yourself by the time you’re twenty-five, you actually may turn out to be one of the greatest producers and directors that Hollywood has ever seen.’
“Well, I heard that, and even though I continued to drink and take pills, I had a germ of a idea in the back of my mind for a great action film. I called it TRIAD, and it was about this ex-motorcycle racer-turned-cop Cody Reynolds, and he has this Asian partner, Michael Li, and this Hispanic girl friend, and everybody gets embroiled in an international kidnapping and bank robbery plot. I actually had gotten some investors interested in the story, but they objected to the girl friend as being too ethnic, and to Cody’s partner being an Asian. They told me it would never work. That was the wrong thing to say to me. If I believe in my heart I can do it, I will. I also started to have second thoughts about men in the lead roles. I thought, ‘Why can’t the women be the protagonists of a film?’ The captain of the police department was originally written as a fifty-ish white male. I blue-penciled that and rewrote the captain as a black woman. Then big, male Cody became female Alexandra Jones. And that’s how THE THIRD SOCIETY was born.
  “I knew (THE THIRD SOCIETY) was good, and I knew I wanted people to see it. It’s about this young girl, Alexandra Reynolds, and her sister, Erica, who are living quietly in Hong Kong in 1975. One day their parents are brutally murdered by a drug lord, Dragon. Even though Alexandra and Erica witness the murder, Dragon cannot be prosecuted, so the U.S. government puts the two girls into the witness protection program, changing their names to Alexandra Jones and Erica Smith. Eventually Jones becomes a cop. “Twenty-five years later, Dragon’s henchmen, hold up a bank and take Erica hostage. Jones and her partner, Michael Li, try to rescue Erica, but she is whisked away by plane. Jones is then told that Erica will be killed within twenty-four hours unless a billion dollars is transferred to one of Dragon’s accounts. The rest of the story is how Jones manages to track down Dragon and his henchmen, and rescue her sister.
“Simple plot, but lots and lots of action. In order to convince investors that I had a gem here, I had to come up with a trailer that would really knock their socks off. We shot the trailer, shopped it, went through the typical ‘Will you take it to a distributor, try to get pre-sales, try to get actors and actresses involved,’ and it finally got to a point where we took it to Cannes. We were staying at this hotel and we sat on the steps in front of our suite, trying to convince people, ‘Hey, take a look at our trailer, it’s really cool,’ but nothing much happened.
“So I was far from encouraged. We got back to the U.S., and had some development meetings with some other distributors, and they were saying, ‘You need this, you need that.’ Everybody was telling me what to do, but nobody was delivering. It just got to the point where I went to Fred Mercer and said, ‘Look, I believe in this film, and we’re going ahead. And that’s exactly what we did.

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