Wednesday, 13 August 2008
The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made by David Hughes (Titan Books)
Actually, I've already finished it, because once you pick up Hughes' marvelously entertaining and highly informative tome (published again in a revised and expanded edition with new chapters) you won't be able to put it down (and not just because I'm quoted in it).
Examining the production histories of a host legendary unmade projects (Spielberg's Night Skies, Burton's Superman et al) and several that have come to pass since the book's first incarnation (Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Thunderbirds), Hughes leaves no stone unturned and no ego unruffled — well, all except the unnamed screenwriter on the aborted Outer Limits movie who director Rupert Wainwright refers to as a "complete prick".
But as readable and solidly research the book is, there's a marked sense of disappointment and frustration to so many of the chapters, not just at the sense of what might have been regarding various projects but also at the development process itself that churns through writers and money and ideas — a lot of which, judging by Hughes' script descriptions, simply don't work. As Oscar-winning producer David Brown explains, so many times you end up with eleven first drafts rather than eleven drafts by one writer.
The quote on the cover proclaims, read it and weep. I couldn't put it better myself. Terrific stuff.