Authors: David Hughes
Tags: #Education & Reference, #Humor & Entertainment, #Movies, #Guides & Reviews, #History & Criticism, #Reference, #Screenwriting, #Video, #Movies & Video
E-BOOK ISBN 9780857687319
A division of Titan Publishing Group Ltd.
144 Southwark St.
First updated and expanded edition: February 2012
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Tales From Development Hell
copyright © 2003, 2011
David Hughes. All rights reserved.
To Sandra, ‘Kocham Cie’.
The views and opinions expressed by the interviewees and other third party sources in this book are not necessarily those of the author or publisher, and the author and publisher accept no responsibility for inaccuracies or omissions, and the author and publisher specifically disclaim any liability, loss, or risk, whether personal, financial, or otherwise, that is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from the contents of this book.
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My sincere thanks are due to several key players who rescued this book from Development Hell:
the producer who shepherded it into production and pulled double duty – quadruple duty if you include this second edition – as editor and continuity person;
the script researcher and production assistant whose diligence makes up for my negligence;
the agent who negotiated the deal and made sure the writer didn’t get screwed;
Steven de Souza,
who provided several terrific characters, and whose vast contribution seems almost sufficient to warrant shared story credit under Writers Guild regulations;
James V. Hart,
whose tireless efforts gave me a whole subplot I would not otherwise have conceived of;
another great screenwriter much too gracious to take credit where it’s due;
who provided excellent guidance on the rewrite;
Beth Palma Diaz
for invaluable research assistance;
Also deserving of a place on the credit list are the following key collaborators:
Grant Hawkins, Ted Henning, Lee and Janet Scott Batchler, Adam Rifkin, Don Murphy, Forrest J. Ackerman, Ralph Bakshi, David Cronenberg, Ron Shusett, Paul Verhoeven, Gary Goldman, Matthew Cirulnick, Steven de Souza, Jim Uhls, H. R. Giger, Jere Cunningham, David Koepp, Terry Moore, Neil Gaiman, William Farmer, David J. Schow, Richard Friedenberg, James V. Hart, Tom Topor, Darren Aronofsky, Wesley Strick Dean Devlin, Kevin J. Anderson and Glen Morgan.
Finally, special thanks to Sandra, Harry and Jenna for giving me peace, love and understanding while I worked on the Second Edition.
WELCOME TO DEVELOPMENT HELL
“Trying to make a movie in Hollywood is like trying to grill a steak by having a succession of people coming into the room and breathing on it.”
— Douglas Adams
his is not the book I set out to write. Originally, I planned a kind of mainstream version of my earlier book,
The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made,
covering some of the best unproduced scripts in recent Hollywood history. However, like so many movie-related projects before it, a degree of ‘Development Hell’ crept in, which turned this book into something else entirely. I already knew that the stories behind many unmade movies were more interesting than the movies themselves would ever have been. What I also discovered was that some of the films which suffered most in development
eventually get made — albeit with varying results — and the stories behind those projects are, to me, just as fascinating. Thus, as far as this is book is concerned, the development process was a positive experience — which is more than can be said for the various case studies it documents.
Why do so many Hollywood films go into development, only to wind up in Hell? What is this place to which so many promising-sounding projects and perfectly serviceable scripts seem to be banished, many of them never to be heard from again?
To understand the concept of Development Hell, one must first understand what
is. Producer Jane Hamsher, whose credits include
Natural Born Killers
has described development as follows: “The writer turns in a script. The producers and studio executives read it, give the writer
their ‘development’ notes, and he goes back and rewrites as best he can, trying to make everyone happy. If it comes back and it’s great, the studio and the producers will try and attach a director and stars (if they haven’t already), and hopefully the picture will get made.”
That’s development, in theory. In practice, it’s more like this: