Toyota's offshoot brand Scion was designed to appeal to teens and early twenty-somethings looking to buy their first cars. Their web site is so cool it makes cool people feel like nerds. It makes me feel like... what's one level below a nerd? Okay, maybe two levels. Anyway, I bought one of their cars a few weeks ago. Unfortunately for Scion's much wished-for youthful image, so did a lot of other people a wee bit outside the target age range. Variety reports that instead of breaking out the Geritol, Scion will try to appeal to the youth market by hiring Roman Coppola (CQ)to direct a series of short films called The Fist of Oblivion to run on the automaker's site starting in November. Its star will be an ex-cop kung-fu master who's hunting down a friend who framed him for a crime. Also, he's a puppet.
I honestly can't decide if I'm more baffled by the choice of Roman Coppola or the puppet protagonist that looks sort of like a younger, foamier Paul Reiser. Sure, Coppola's got a name from a famous moviemaking family and he's directed a lot of music videos, but I doubt he's showing up on any kid's list of Cool Directors. [If he would just follow up 2001's intriguing CQ with something a little more high-profile, rather than acting as a second-unit director on other people's projects, I think he would. Although, to be fair, he also produces, acts and does pretty much everything else one can in the film industry. - Zach]
Remember when BMW came out with its web series, The Hire? It was back in 2002 and starred Clive Owen as the ultra cool "Driver" character. Not a Clive Owen puppet, but the real Clive Owen -- perhaps the most James Bondian actor to never actually play James Bond. Ridley Scott was one of the producers. John Woo and Ang Lee both directed short films for the series. James "Godfather of Soul" Brown played a version of himself who'd sold his soul to the devil, who the Driver had to race to spare the entertainer from eternal damnation. Now that's cool.
It's uncertain whether the puppet will even drive one of the Scions. If he pops out of the steering wheel during a crash like an airbag, then I'll take back any doubt I had about the project.