Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Thing I Hate Most...

Some people hate when they are halfway through a new script and read in the trades that someone has just sold a script with a similar idea for big bucks... making their script into a retread... a seeming rip-off.

*I* hate when someone sells a script for big bucks that has a similar idea to... a film of mine that has been sitting on the shelves at Blockbuster for 3 years.


My script GRID RUNNERS was the story of a cop in the future trained in a VR simulator against the mega-villain Dante... and when Dante is cloned into reality, the cop must face the one opponent he knows he can not beat. A producer liked the script, thought it might make a great big budget theatrical. He had a connection at Paramount, so we had a meeting. The guy at Paramount told us sci-fi was dead at Paramount, except for STAR TREK movies. So the project got set up as an HBO World Premiere Movie and I was paid, well, okay money. Sci Fi Entertainment Magazine came out on set, wrote an article (I was even mentioned!) and a couple of months after that issue hit the news stands... Paramount bought this script called VIRTUOSITY for a whole bunch of money.

VIRTUOSITY was the story of a cop in the future who trained in a VR simulator against a mega-villain named SID... and when SID is made real by nanotechnology, the cop must face the one opponent he knows he can not beat.

Produced by Paramount, by the way.

The same thing happened on NIGHT HUNTER - three years before BLADE but with many of the same *scenes*. And I mean the same scenes. Vampires in a rave? Vampires having a meeting around an executive board table? Vampire hunter rides a motorcycle? Vampire hunter uses cool weapons and uses martial arts?


Back in 1992 I wrote (and registered with WGA) this 30 page treatment called SPLICERS about gene splicing dogs and scorpions to create the ultimate tunnel dog / weapon. I scripted it about 7 years ago, with the dog-scorpions designed to go after Osama Bin Laden (hiding in a cave somewhere). Since then, I've had all kinds of producers read the script. At one point, it was almost made. Another time it landed me an assignment. There is one D-gal in town who loves it, and tries to get everyone she works for to make it.

Now, from today's Hollywood Reporter...

CREATURE FEATURE FOR POLLEY, BRODY
"Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody have been cast in "Splice," a science fiction thriller being directed by Vincenzo Natali. The story explores a dark vision of the world of genetic engineering in which two young scientists (Polley and Brody) become superstars by splicing different animal DNA to create fantastical new creatures. Production is slated to begin in November in Toronto."

Can't wait to see it in the cinema.

- Bill

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Yesterday’s Dinner: Salad at Fuddruckers.
MOVIES: Saw THE KINGDOM... and wished it had more investigation. It was always too easy to find the clues. When Chris Cooper finds a clue, it leads *directly* to a suspect. Later in the film, a major clue is *literally* handed to Jennifer Garner at a crime scene by a bad guy. Kind of an "I did it!" moment. Lots of stuff that was too easy. And I hate shaky cam. There will be a post on that.
DVD: Watched HARD BOILED again - a great John Woo film. Real characters. Real moments... and babies.
Pages: Only a couple of pages on SLEEPER when I'm supposed to be doing *more* than 5 pages to make up for a couple of days.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

amazing, bill, how well you handle these, shall we say, "interesting coincidences". Is that a result of some special meditation practice or just sufficient beer?
-ObiDon

Jim Endecott said...

Bill,

Sounds like a common thing. Do you have any recourse or is it par for the course?

-Jim

Ian said...

Bill, from what I've seen, Splice is about splicing animal DNA into humans, which seems different than your treatment (though it's been a while since I read it). It also looks like less of an action flick. Maybe your script and the upcoming movie both owe an equal debt to Species? :)

And while Hard-Boiled is good, I always thought The Killer was better. HB gets a bit lost in the action at the end.

Bushdoctor said...

Bill,

Man O Manischevitz. It's enough to make a person go out and start shoving buses over.

-R.McN.

Anonymous said...

I think you need a good agent and an even better attorney, amigo.

wcmartell said...

It's the basic concept and the title - I know the two are completely different. But I'll bet money that sometime I will be pitching SPLICERS and they will say "Next!" because it's "Too much like SPLICE".

VIRTUOSITY could have gone to court - SID calls the hero "Little man" in teh script... and that's what Dante calls my hero (because Dante is, like, 7 feet tall in the script. In the film he's *shorter* than the hero). But you can probably only sue a studio once in this biz... after that you're in some other biz. The producer decided he would rather keep his connections at Paramount than sue. I could not sue - I no longer owned the script.

16 BLOCKS was another pisser - even though it is different than SOFT TARGET, both are about cops escorting a witness to court... with a million people trying to kill the witness. And both end up having dirty cops behind it. And both dirty cops are friends of the lead. The bigger pisser is that SOFT TARGET the movie sucks big time and is nothing like the script.

Hey, what you gonna do? I'm just going to write another script.

- Bill

Bushdoctor said...

Bill,

I read your SOFT TARGET (excellent title) and enjoyed it quite a bit--strong suspense. And I'm gonna try to rent it because I gotta see that escort chase scene. Makes me think of Run Lola Run--they missed a great opportunity in that film by not having an actress with a rack doing all that running. Lola's physique was very non-entertaining.

As for starting a legal proceeding, besides blacklisting oneself there's all the money and the interminable delays and worst of all the acid circulating in one's veins for months on end. Bad mojo.

All best,

R.McN.

Terry said...

Man, I'm glad I'm not the only one. I spent 9 months working on a script until I saw IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH.

I went home an burned it. Paul Haggis had beat me to it.

I hate when that happens.

- tlcampbell

Laura Reyna said...

It hasn't happened to me yet so I have something to look forward to. ;-)

The closest I've come to this is a scene in FEAST of two aliens humping that is similar to a scene I have in a script... of two aliens humping.

I'm hoping there's a couple of more scenes like this in movies so no one thinks I'm ripping off that scene. I thought of my scene way before I saw the FEAST scene.

The only one of your movies that I've seen is NIGHT HUNTER. The bare-bones idea is similar to BLADE but everything else is completely different.

Left on my own I don't think I would have made a connection between the 2. I'd have assumed there had been other 'good vampire hunting bad vampires' movies before, like in the 70s. But I'm no Vampire movie expert.

Kester Pelagius said...

On the up side I've now got some sci-fi titles I'd never heard of to keep an eye out for. GRID RUNNERS sounds like it might be fun. As does your vampire flick.

Why have I never heard of them?

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