This section of the John Carpenter Web Page concentrates on those projects of JC's that, for one reason or another, never came to fruition. A director as prolific and with such a long career as JC will always have a few fave projects awaiting that cash injection, or some murky tales of studio dealings that killed off a movie. This page is a completely unofficial look at these projects.
Be warned that this information is not to be taken in any way as gospel. This may not have been exactly what happened but it sure makes interesting reading.
NOTICE: It has come to my attention that certain sections of this page have been used as material for other articles, without acknowledging this page. I would like to remind you that all text and layout on this page is copyright Marc Bright, except where otherwise stated and where this does not infringe on the existing copyrights of any mentioned parties. Please credit this page if you use any of this information.
While reading thru some ancient old magazines recently, I discovered that Carpenter was offered STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE back in the day...but then, I don't think there was a director in Hollywood at the time that wasn't. - Chris
From a 1985 issue of HEAVY METAL magazine, it was reported that J.C. was slated to direct Dan Ackroyd and John Candy in ARMED & DANGEROUS. - Chris
I believe I heard rumors of him being briefly attatched to DEAL OF THE CENTURY which was ultimately helmed by Billy Friedkin. Who knows?? - CHRIS
1997 - This was JCs reported project after EFLA and before Vampires. The news first started with:
Pressman Films is currently in pre-production on a feature film set in the Mutant Chronicles universe, but with different continuity than the comic. An ambitious science fantasy thriller, Mutant Chronicles is being shot in England under the direction of Stephen Norrington.
This was the first announcement before JC's name was attatched to the project. This project seemed very exciting, it was based on a series of comics about a future inhabited by mutants. The film was going to be pretty huge and shot on location in London, JC's first directing stint over here. The news was confirmed in Empire Magazine Nov 1996:
John Carpenter has signed to direct Mutant Chronicles, a fantasy adventure which may shoot in the UK.
A few interviews with JC confirmed this was his next project after EFLA, they were even lining up a set of spin-off action figures for this movie. Then everything went quiet for a while and it became apparent that JC was no longer attatched to the project. An anonymous e-mailer informed me that he was working on the FX for this movie (he said they were pretty fantastic) when he found out JC was no longer going to direct. Apparently JC had requested a larger budget than the producers were willing to put up, so JC left the project. The latest news was that it may now become a Jackie Chan vehicle!
At about the same time of the Mutant Chronicles episode I received this interesting bit of info from Tom Alaerts:
I read in the french magazine Mad Movies (specialised in horror and sf) that JC would make Mutant Chronicles later. His next movie would be...(suspenseful music sounding)... a western with an sf twist: an extraterrestial lands in the wild west. The script of this is written by the writer of the Shawshank Redemption and a few other megabucks movies. (That would make it Frank Darabont).
This seemed like a creditable rumour given JC's love of westerns but I have heard nothing else about it since.
It seems that this project was kicked around between the quiet years of the low budget duo (Prince Of Darkness and They Live) and Memoirs Of An Invisible Man. JC was attatched to quite a few projects in this time, I bet there are some interesting stories to be told from these years. This is what TL has to say:
Shadow Company was from a script by Shane Black, writer of LETHAL WEAPON, THE LAST BOY SCOUT, LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, etc. It was written around the time of LETHAL WEAPON (there is even mention of "Shadow Company" in LW) and concerned a group of soldiers that had been rendered virtually immortal though some sort of biological tampering. It was loaded with black humor (an example: a poker game where body parts take the place of chips) and was a very hot script for a while here in the Land of Odds. I didn't realize JC had been attached.
It sounds like it was an interesting idea, though very similar to the Emmerich/Devlin scripted Universal Soldier, a very lame Van Damme vehicle. Carpenter was quoted as saying "And this time it is going to be REALLY sordid," after signing on for it (just after They Live apparently).
This was an early project collaboration with Dan O'Bannon (writer of Dark Star and a college friend of JC's). Chris says:
THEY BITE is something he was working on with Dan O'Bannon years ago. It has been hinted that Dan lifted some of these ideas (as well as the plot of IT: THE TERROR FROM SPACE) for ALIEN.
Tom has added some extra info on this project:
Another project from his younger years was a movie with a title that sounded like They Live (perhaps they exist) about gigantic insects that have been living for millenia under the earth and now want to reclaim it. Sounds like Lovecraft to me.
This one sounds interesting, very similar to Quatermass and The Pit, which we know JC is a definite fan of. Here is an update from Chris:
THEY BITE dealt with alien organisms that took over their hosts. It was more along the lines of THE THING than THEY LIVE.
This is another one that was in development after They Live. Contradictory reports put this or Shadow Company as the film JC wanted to make after They Live. Chris says:
VICTORY OUT OF TIME was a script J.C. wrote with his wife, Sandy King. It is the film he wanted to do after THEY LIVE, but ALIVE FILMS didn't want to put up enough $$$. Thus, Carpenter sued, and the falling out with the Alive deal.
This may well have been the intended third in the "low budget trilogy", it is a pity it never came off.
Again, Chris has supplied this info:
J.C. also co-wrote and planned to direct a script by Tommy Lee Wallace entitled AT MIDNIGHT. Little is known about it.
Tommy Lee is a long time collaborator with JC and he directed Halloween III. Chris adds:
AT MIDNIGHT, the J.C. Tommy Lee Wallace script was supposedly very much "a comic book inspired" script. Whatever that means. Must've been a Tales from the Crypt concept."
Two reports from the informers here:
I actually have the script...but never read it. Cher reportedly made Carpenter walk from the gig.
Carpenter's name was connected for a while to Pin Cushion, a post-apocalyptic thriller starring Cher. This movie has been trailing hollywood for some years now and I once read that John Woo was also involved at one point.
Why would Cher do that? Strange. Tom adds this bit of info:
...it occurs after a viral apocalypse. I believe Cher would have been the person with the medicine.
Also, J.C. was intially going to direct William Peter Blatty's EXORCIST III (Legion), but when it became clear that Blatty really wanted to be directing it himself, J.C. stepped aside and Blatty did infact, make the movie.
A great movie it was as well (I personally think The Exorcist is boring). JCs take on this would have been interesting to see.
This info was sent to me by Tom Alaerts, a huge JC fan and a regular contributor to these pages. This project sounds like a dream, Campbell is one of my fave writers (check him out), not only because of his fantastic imagination but also because he sets a lot of his novels in Wales. Anyway, here is what Tom has to say:
Years ago (not long after They Live) there was an excellent one-off talkshow on the BBC, it was called "Horror Cafe", members were JC, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, and a woman writer I forgot. ... it would be interesting if someone on the net still had it on tape for a transcript for your site. .... JC started raving about Campbell's book "The Hungry Moon". Barker immediately suggested JC would film this book. JC got real quiet at this moment. Campbell has never been adapted to the screen and he didn't forget this flattering situation. Later I read an interview where he repeated that he would really like JC to direct one of his books. Then again, which horror author wouldn't want this?
I really like The Hungry Moon, a JC/Campbell collaboration could have been great. As Tom says, if anyone has any more info from this programme then please send it to me. Sounds like this was never really in the works though. This is stricly under the 'just chatted about it' development stage heading. It got no further.
In the beginning of his career, around the time of escape from ny i think, he was going to do El Diablo with Kurt Russell but it was cancelled because of problems with the studio. You all know it turned into rather good tvmovie later on.
This is a pretty good movie, I always thought that it was a perfect script for a JC western, pity he didn't get the chance to make it. Chris has something to add to this-
....never became a J.C. film 'cause Carpenter wanted Kurt Russell and the studio wanted....John Travolta. It's too bad...this film had sooooo much more potential under J.C.'s direction.
Can you imagine Tony Manero in a western?
Halloween III was supposed to be the start of a new series of Halloween themed movies, based around the annual event but not featuring Micheal Myers. I personally thought this was a great idea, but as we all know number III bombed and the Akkads went back to shoving Micheal Myers borefests into our faces. Now the most frigthening night of the year is continually associated with a tired old slasher movie killer. Anyway, does anyone know what (if any) other Halloween themed ideas were in the pipeline?
This is one of JC's baby projects. He has wanted to do a remake of this old classic for years, but much like James Cameron and Spiderman, various things have got in his way. There is still some hope for this one, but I would not hold my breath. Chris says:
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON: Originally John Landis was gonna make this in the late 80's a 3-D pic. Nigel Kneale was gonna script it. Then, it went to Joe Dante. Much later, it became Carpenter's and a script by Bill Philips was commissioned. I have this script...it entertains a few good ideas...but needed A GREAT DEAL OF WORK. Currently, Universal is considering hi-tech remakes of all their Monster properties...and it said John Landis is once again doing CREATURE...this time as an URBAN COMEDY with a black cast.
This seems like a completely lame idea, can we please have a remake of a classic monster movie without loads of in-jokes and cliches?
Sandy King interview about the creature of the black lagoon remake: (another loose translation)
JC partially accepted to remake village of the damned because then the studio would offer him the creature remake... Rick baker already designed a fantastic new costume...but then the production responsable of Universal changed, and the project...fell into the water. I still hope john will one day make this movie.
This old project of JCs has not been re-opened, but I thought you might be interested in this little piece of info, supplied by Bill Myers from the JC mailing list:
This reminded me, a couple years back I recall reading that Carpenter was very excited about re-making The Creature From The Black Lagoon. His idea as I remember it was sort of a Thing meets Prince of Darkness concept. It concerned the idea that the Creature was the missing link somehow, and so the groups that would be affected most by this revelation (the church, and scientists) attempt to hunt the creature down to keep anyone from finding out. Please, anyone with more info, I only have the sketchiest of details and I may be completely off target, so feel free to correct me. But that seemed like it would have fit nicely right into Carpenter's oeuvre.
When he dons those black sunglasses he cuts through the smoke and sees the real deal. John Nada is back to give us a little bit more info on JCs most eagerly anticipated non-project:
RE: the comments on Carpenter's CREATURE remake, ... he (JC) did VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED as a favor to the studio, who promised to do CREATURE if he did VILLAGE. While the film was in production, the studio chief changed, they dumped VILLAGE as far as any decent release or promotion and dropped the CREATURE project. It's no wonder JC is gun shy in his dealings with the big studios.
Here is something special, a review of the script for this great unmade JC project, from a source I have decided to keep Anon for now:
Just read the script to CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON by Bill Phillips. It is excellent. The story is basically the same as in the original (a group of scientists studying in the jungle head to the lagoon to do research on an ancient find). In the original, what lured in the scientists was an ancient fossil of the gillman's webbed hand. In this version, they find an inca-like pyramid that was build underwater and may have housed a missing-link species. Of course, there is still one creature swimming around. Other differences:
-There are more characters to make a higher body count.
-A great deal of violence.
-The creature is more human in his actions -- he loves mirrors, but hates seeing himself -- and more animal in his appearance -- sharpended teeth, water sacks that drain when he comes out of water, and pores which leak ink as a defensive reaction.
There's also this luny guy running around who had a previous -- and nearly fatal -- run-in with the creature. He kills almost as many scientists as the creature does. His part seems almost written for Kurt Russell. He wants to kill the creature at any cost, while the rest of the cast is trying to keep it alive, considering it to be one of the greatest finds of the century. There's still the beauty and the beast water ballet scene involving the creature and the lead heroine. She is swimming on the surface of the water. He is mirroring her actions just a few feet below. On all accounts, I think it could be one of Carpenter's best. Why the studio dropped it is beyond me.
A much talked about movie for years, but things seem to have gathered steam recently. One recent visitor reported that a mate of his had chatted to an FX company that were in pre-production on this movie, with JC and Kurt Russel set to team up again for it. Another e-mailer has pretty much told me that things are hotting up, people are very interested, but the relative financial failure of the original movie and EFLA is making people nervous. Apparently the suits are waiting to see how The Thing special edition does when it is finally released. The most recent rumour is that the sequel will be based on the Dark Horse comics.
The THING 2: I have the Dark Horse comic....well the first ish anyway...and it was only a two part mini-series. I know Carpenter liked the comic; he stated that in an interview last year. It was successful enough to spawn two or three more limited series. The scenario for the direct sequel, it picks up with MacCready trudging across the frozen landscape, and encountering somekind of military group. They tag him a murderer at first, but they've already found Childs, and he sets things (no pun) straight. Unfortunately, the meat of the story must begin in the second part. I have it on order at my local comic shop and will keep you posted. - Chris
The info on this was added to in the news reports of October the 29th - A mysterious spy has dropped in to give the definitive word on this rumour -
John Carpenter and Kurt Russell are prepared to do a Thing 2, so is Universal. The rerelease of Escape From NY spawned EFLA and Universal has been planning a Special Edition of The Thing. I've seen some of the extra footage and footage cut out from the original film and it is awesome. Anyway, Universal is scared because the rerelease of EFNY made a lot of money, but EFLA did not, and Universal took a big bath on The Thing back in 82. Remember, The Thing cost $13mill, peanuts by today's standards, but back then, Universal felt it lost a lot of money. Universal wants to go ahead with the project, but will probably wait to see what the rerelease does first. Working against Carpenter in all of this besides his health (2 packs of smokes a day could kill anyone) and working in the cold is his auteur notion that he must have complete control over the project. Remember that Debra Hill said that she knew of several projects that could have put Carpenter on the same level as Spielberg if he would only learn to work with others. Unfortunately, she states, she saw him turn down one to many projects that would have really helped his career. This is another notion that seems to worry Universal. The two people who won't be back for The Thing 2 are Ennio Morricone and Rob Bottin. I hear Ennio was really unhappy with how his music was handled and mixed into the film and Rob Bottin is of course making his directorial debut with Freddy vs Jason movie. So what does this all boil down to? The buzz around the biz is The Thing, while once regarded a flop, many consider it to be JC's best and while everyone including JC is interesting in doing it, everbody seems to be a little hesitant. It would seem the enitre community is waiting for the rerelease to see how the public feels about it.
I can't really add anything to that, it is a great clarification of the Thing II rumour and more besides. This news also points out JC's health problems and the suspected rift with Morricone over the original music. The same source has some interesting things to say about The Thing Special Ed. as well, basically there is wuite a bit of FX footage cut from the final version nd it is debatable who owns the rights to this and whether it will go into the Special Ed. I say that all of this stuff is too good to just be available to LD owners, lets call for a full scale re-release of the movie right now. It has become a classic since '82 and horror films are in the public eye at the moment.
Big Trouble sequel? The Films Of John Carpenter has some interesting news on a possible sequel to Big Trouble... Alert spy ARGOS has mailed me with this, umm, interesting little rumor:
I'm not too sure whether this is old or new but....I think I read this in Variety, an article about movies making transition to t.v. in terms of made for television sequals or just plain syndication (like a t.v. show, SE7EN)...anyhow, they mentioned a sequel to "Big Trouble in Little China" called "More Trouble in Little China"....
Hmm, I remember this rumour from a while back. A few people contacted me who had read the script, it was pretty lame and never reached production. Maybe it is back on track. Even if it is, JC is not attatched to it at all, which will dissapoint Jack Burton fans, who could they get to replace Kurt Russel? Chris says:
BIG TROUBLE II was infact slated as a TV film and neither Carpenter or Russell were ever involved.
So, this one seems to have stalled completely. This update was sent to me by Aitken:
I recently had the opportunity to ask Peter David about the sequel to BTiLC. He told me that it was not a full script, only a 30-page treatment, and that the only recurring character was Egg. He didn't seem to like that, so I guess the actual plot was not his. He didn't indicate that there was any hope of it ever getting made, the whole idea is pretty dead.
A few people have confirmed this, I would love to get my hands on a copy of this treatment. Te backs this up with:
Just to add a bit of info to your "Unfinished Symophonies," I believe that the treatment for MORE TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA was written by Peter David, a well-respected comic book writer (the Hulk, Star Trek). I had never heard about it actually going to script, so I don't believe he wrote anything beyond the treatment. I've been trying to get ahold of it for years, but to no avail.
This update came in on April 8th: Patrick, over at the Films Of John Carpenter page reports this -
Falcon from the Big Trouble In Little China sequel site just dropped a note telling us he's ending the campaign to get his sequel idea, More Trouble In Little China, made into a feature film. This decision comes because of a letter to him from J.C. himself! Here's the snip from J.C.'s note:
"I'm flattered that you enjoyed BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA. It is one of my favorite movies of the ones I've directed. I'm gratified that many viewers discovered Jack Burton and the ghosts of Chinatown on video and cable. Because BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA was not a box office hit, there is no incentive for Taft Productions or 20th Century Fox to make a sequel.I think the idea of a television series or movie makes more sense. Regardless, neither Debra Hill nor myself have anything to do with these decisions."
Despite the sad news, it's great to know that J.C. takes the time to talk to the fans and acknowledge them and their efforts. That's pretty darn nice of him, I think.
I agree with Patrick, it is nice to now that JC cares about acknowledging the fans. I think a TV movies is a great idea.
This was a rumour that JC sparked off in a few interviews. Apparently they have an idea for a script for this movie, but I think the fact that EFLA didn't exactly set the box office alight will dampen enthusiasm for this project.
Updated 23rd Nov 2000 - An Escape... TV series is in preproduction. Rumour has it that if this series (Exec produced by JC and Sandy King) does well then Escape From Earth may become a real project.
JC was reportedly making a documentary on this fantastic director for the BFI. Unfortunately they wanted it shot onto tape, JC refused and the project is now up in the air.
About the howard hawks tribute: we originally would make it for canal+, as part of a video-encyclopedia made by contemporary cinema people about people who influenced movie history...after a while, we didn't hear anything about this project anymore... but then the British film institute proposed us to make the movie with them but they had a very classic idea about the documentary... so the project fell into the water because of artistic divergences, but one day ore another we'll make it.
Carpenter was once slated to direct Eric Von Lustbader's novel THE NINJA.
I can sort of see how this might have come about, after all, Ninja and Samurai stories are basically Eastern Westerns.
A few people have mentioned to me how JC was attatched to this Stephen King adaptation before Christine. He eventually left this project and the resulting film was very flat and tepid. TL adds a bit more info to this (Tom also helped out with this one)
This was a script by the late, great Bill Lancaster, who also wrote THE THING. They were going to do FIRESTARTER immediately after THE THING and I think they got deep into pre-production before the plug got pulled. I think it was a budget crisis of some sort, but I'm foggy on the details. I'm sure the performance of THE THING didn't help their case any. So we got Mark Lester instead. Love those suits up in the Black Tower!
Chris has this to say about this amazing sounding project:
And lets not forget, Carpenter & Debra Hill attempted to regain control of the HALLOWEEN franchise a year or so ago (96). J.C.'s concept for a new film would have seen Michael Myers blasted off into space...landing on a space station outpost!!
I had heard this as well, I think even JC himself mentioned it an interview. I always thought it was a bit mad and JC was pulling our leg, but who knows? Some added info:
ardeth bey - Actually, it was Tarantino who came up with the Myers in Space idea. After Reservoir Dogs, and during the production of Pulp Fiction, he had gone on record saying he would like to take the Halloween franchise over, since JC was one of his favorites. JC seemed interested in being involved with it once again due to Quentin, who pitched his idea Space Station idea to Akaad. Akaad hated it, so both walked away.
.... was considering taking on the movie version pf Peter Benchly's THE BEAST. Wes Craven was also attatched briefly to this project before it became a forgettable telefilm.
Very little info on this one here, but again, the redoubtable Chris has this to say:
Carpenter considered (at two different points in time) a telefilm sequel to THE FOG.
Could have been good. Could have been very good.
This is what Tom has to say about JCs foray into the Hong Kong movie genre (which he managed anyway with BTILC) -
I once read an interview with Tsui Hark (the one hong-kong producer-director with perhaps more talent than John Woo, because he's more versatile: check out The Blade for example, not the latest Van Damme vehicle, anyway John Woo couldn't save his Van Damme movie either). Tsui said he was a fan of JC (for example he loved Big trouble's pastiche of hongkong movies) and that they had talked/agreed(?) about "doing a movie". So TH went off to LA but JC was nowhere to be found. Well, that's TH's version of the story and all I read about it. Probably this is too meager too include in the list. It could have been great: JC making a real, excessive, no-holds-barreled, hong-kong movie...
Chris has come up with some more info on another JC project that was bandied about -
Anyway, there was a sequel once announced for THEY LIVE: It was called HYPNO-WAR: THEY LIVE 2. I don't think it was ever considered for long, but the title was thrown out there.
Chris also gave me a snippet of info on another unfinished JC project:
Another unfinished project that I recently remembered comes from a story from director Bob Clark. According to Clark, he and a pre-Halloween J.C. briefly toiled on a thriller set in the Appalacian mountains. Don't know much else about it, other than it might've been a HILLS HAVE EYES thing. Carpenter eventually moved on to do HALLOWEEN.
The Bob Clark project was considered back in 1975. It predated HILLS HAVE EYES and was infact, about a family of murderous Apalachians. I don't think a finished script materialized. Also, according to a FANGORIA interview, Clark claimed to have planted the seed for HALLOWEEN in J.C.'s head. Clark had directed BLACK CHRISTMAS, and at one point, while working with Carpenter, said he'd like to do a BLACK sequel, this time setting it on....yep, HALLOWEEN. The similarities end there. He doesn't believe Carpenter stole anything from him.
Information on this movie is pretty scarce and it has gone through a number of phases.
Phase 1 - Chris says:
Meltdown was a script that J.C. wrote years and years ago...before the China Syndrome was made. After that film came about, J.C. said that Meltdown was kinda pointless. Anyway, this was written when J.C. was still writing scripts as a gun for hire, so he no longer owns it...
In the early and mid 70's JC attempted to write his way into Hollywood, this period produced a number of scripts (El Diablo, The Eyes Laura Mars,etc.) that went on to be made with any input from JC.
Phase 2 - Patrick Kerr says:
.... I checked my back-issues of Cinescape ['94] and sure enough, there it was: Meltdown - The Plot: This action-adventure tale, scripted by John Carpenter, follows a terrorist group with unpredictable results. Not much, but it's something. It goes on to list Dolph Lungren as star and John Dahl as director...
Phase 3 - More recent developments have Meltdown as a new film starring Casper Van Dien and directed by Ate De Jong. Dahl is listed as the screenwriter with the original story credited to JC. This film should be out in '99.
This script seems to be based on JCs Prometheus Crisis script.
This is a really fantastic idea, guaranteed to wet the appetites of any avid JC fan. File this under rumour : my source has this to say:
I just recently came across an interview with JC from last year in which he had been approached to do a remake of Quatermass and the Pit aka Five Million Years To Earth. It had something to do with In The Mouth of Madness, H.P. Lovecraft, and Nigel Kneale. ever hear of it? I'm sorry but I don't have the interview on my to give a great amount of details.
I would love to hear any more info on this one.
Chris says -
Another nuke melt-down flick that was based on a novel. Carpenter was talking about directing it. It never came to be.
The novel was written in '79, has anyone read it? See the Meltdown entry for more information.
Chris has a little bit of info on this one -
All I know about this is the title. Perhaps it was the Bob Clark collaboration. Don't know.
Let me make this clear, the Peter Briggs script was never intended to be used by JC, so this is not really an unfinished project. But, this is of interest so I put it in this section. David Fakrikian has the definitive version of the events at his Snake Plissken page. This is a snippet of that info -
As you may know, two different Escape From L.A screenplays were written before the movie was made : one by Coleman Luck in 1986, the other by English screenwriter Peter Briggs, of "Aliens vs Predator" fame.- The Coleman Luck version was ordered by Carpenter & Russell, and based on an outline by both of them. It came to nothing.- The Peter Briggs version was written "on spec", meaning he did it on his own, without getting paid for it, in the hope of selling it to the rights owners. However, they, (the right owners & Carpenter & Russell), never got to read it, as it wasn't distributed or promoted at all.The two versions have not made it to the general public. However, in a Looker exclusive, Peter Briggs have kindly agreed to shed a little light on his own take.
If you follow this link it will take you to the outline of Brigg's script on David's excellent site. Chris adds this:
.....And oh yeah, I've been searching for the Coleman Luck screenplay for Escape From LA for years...with um, no luck. I do know that LA was massive insane asylum in that script, and it ended up with poor Snake finding out that he was a clone in the end! If anybody has access to the actual script, I'd love to get my hands on it.
Anyone care to help Chris (and myself) out in locating a copy of this script?
This one is from Mohammad Khan's Carpenticized Side Of The Web page. - Mohammad had an interesting conversation with Peter Briggs, and this subject came up -
John and I (Peter Briggs) met up a couple of years back. In the 80s, I wrote a draft of a Robert Mason book about the Vietnam war called "Chickenhawk". I sent the screenplay to his agent, and never heard back from him. (This was back in the days when I was a film cameraman, and before being a writer). So, anyway. I was invited by a friend to a party at the National Film Theater here in London, after a showing of "Mouth of Madness" Surprisingly, Carp remembered "Chickenhawk", and talked for about 10 minutes on how great it was.
As Mohammad points out, JC may not have really been setting up to film this novel. The novel is based on Mason's experiences as a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam war. Chris has this to add:
The Chickenhawk thing is interesting. I think I might've heard J.C. actually mention it at one point...saying that he'd love to do it, but thanks to typecasting, probably never would.
Tom Alaerts has filled us in on this project:
...a few years ago, I read in a french mag that JC was going to make a movie of "Blood on the moon" (I think that's the good title), a very grim book by the god of crime, James Ellroy. It is actually one of Ellroy's first books. Actually, the book had already been made in the very forgettable movie "Cop" by James Harris (the producer of some of Kubrick's earlier -and better- movies). The cop with a loose attitude to morals was played by James Woods in the original one. Since LA confidential has been a success, perhaps this project may surface again. BUT the magazine also stated that Jonathan Demme also was very interested, and considering the commercial merits of the 2 directors in recent years, I think it is more likely that Demme would make it.
Cop, great performance by James Woods but not exactly a fantastic film. I love James Ellroy, as Tom rightly points out, Ellroy is the godfather of crime novels (but even that doesn't do him justice, he is not just a great crime writer, he is a great writer). The thought of JC doing an Ellroy novel is brilliant, but as Tom points out, it just seems really unlikely now.
Here is Tom Alaerts (who now owns 50% of this site by default!) to give us some more information -
JC was offered to make Fatal Attraction, this was before they asked Adrian Lyne. But jc wasn't interested because the story reminded him too much of "Play misty for me" (The 70s Eastwood movie about a DJ who is harassed by a female fan.). Anyway, I believe it would have been a seriously different movie, I think the erotic tension would have been less steamy in a jc version but otoh, it is very well possible that the terror from the 2nd part would have been more edge-of-the-seat.
Cheers Tom, as one vistor to this page has said -
Without you and that Tom Alaerts guy I would be totaly clueless as to what is going on. Thanks.
Doug Cummings has given us a whole load of info on this JC nearly-project:
... JC and "The Stars My Destination" (1958). He tells the author of "Order in the Universe" in the book's opening interview that he had always wanted to film "The Stars My Destination," but recently gave up the notion because he decided the book was unfilmable. TSMD (published as "Tiger! Tiger!" in Europe) is one of the major acknowledged classics of SF literature, written by wonderkind Alfred Bester. ... recently reprinted by Vintage Press, but it would require an audacious energy and visual imagination reserved for someone like Gilliam or the Coen's. OTOH, Carpenter (in lieu of "Big Trouble in Little China" and "In the Mouth of Madness") would be a much better pick than Paul Anderson ("Mortal Combat," "Event Horizon"), who reportedly was in talks with producers Walter Hill & David Giler ("Alien" series) on a script adaption they recently wrote.
Then John Nada stuck his head round the door and added this -
... he did a script of it but then realized that so much of what works in a novel, can't work in a film because it's all in the character's head. He also felt that the demands of the effects for some scenes were just too much and would look "cheeseball" when they were great moments in the book. He did admit that it might be possible to do the effects today, but that he still didn't think the film could be effecitvely translated to film and that he likes it too much to want to screw it up.
I think we have all the info on this movie, all within 5 days! Isn't the 'net fantastic?
Compupaz drops this info in:
I was reading an old interview with J.C. during the release of THEY LIVE. While mentioning that Jim Danforth had contributed some animation effects to the picture, J.C. also stated that he'd like to team with Danforth on a completely animated feature in the future. Of course, this is ANCIENT stuff now, but I figured you might find it interesting any how.
That would be so cool, I really hope JC comes up with something like this. A completely new departure. Of course, this is very old news so the chances of it happening have disappeared.
J.C. always wanted to remake Howard Hawks' ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS orginally starring Cary Grant. Well, Carpenter recently admitted that this would be his dream project with Kurt Russell in the CG role and Sam Neil and Jeff Bridges as his co-stars. I think it'd be terrific myself....of course, Carpenter could remake OCTOMAN and I'd be thrilled.... - Chris
FANGS: A script J.C. wrote as a gun for hire. Although it was strictly an exploitation pic (that was never made), Carpenter took it seriously...and had a lot of fun with it. He claimed there where scares and jumps all over the place. It dealt with a horde of nasty rattlesnakes which are inadvertantly unearthed when a housing project begins building in some desert lot. I guess the homeless snakes then sought revenge. Typical scenes included a man who hears a rattle...thinks it's his infant...and finds a rattlesnake in the crib! Yeah, we're talking about rattlesnakes under beds, in sofas...everywhere! Wonder if there were any in the john! - Chris.
Sounds like was probably made as Silent Predator, a recent TV movie.
GREY WOLF EXPRESS is a script that Debra Hill mentioned in a post HALLOWEEN pre-FOG interview. It was being written by Carpenter and herself for television. What it was about, or whatever became of it is anybody's guess. In the same interview, Ms. Hill claims there will NEVER be any sequels to Halloween.... - Chris
Just thought I'd drop a line to say that about a year ago Empire magasine ran a small in production note to say that John Carpenter was attached to Jaws 5 - premise being sharks in a post apocaliptic world if I remember correctly. Sorry I don't have the issue number. I'm not sure what became of it. - Jo
If you have any John Carpenter news (DVD and video releases, sightings, actors he has worked with, etc.), please let me know.