Raiders of the Lost Ark
Aug 16th, 2009 by mike

Story Conference Transcript
January 23, 1978 thru January 27, 1978
George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Larry Kasdan

Back in 1978, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg got together with Larry Kasdan to hash out the story for Raiders of the Lost Ark. The meeting was recorded and transcribed. (I guess that’s what you do when you’ve got a few bucks and you’re afraid of forgetting brilliant ideas.)

Fast forward to 2009, when a scan of this 126 page (!) transcript started circulating online. It’s a remarkable read. You can see the characters and plot being built from the ground up. Also, tacked on at the end is an additional conversation between Debbie Fine, Larry Kasdan, and Phil Kaufman.

Download the original document here.

Download the easier-to-read transcript here.

Feeling adventurous? Read it with Stanza on your iPhone! I’ve translated the file into ebook format here:

Mystery Man on Film has a good analysis of the document here.

Thanks to Moedred’s Journal for providing the transcript in text format.

Day of the Dead
Oct 30th, 2008 by mike

Fans of George A. Romero’s dead films know that the third entry was a compromised vision. Romero’s early draft of Day of the Dead would have cost more money than he could raise, so he cut back. Wonder what could have been? Check it out:

Download screenplay

Oct 30th, 2008 by mike

by Sam Hamm
It hasn’t been easy adapting Alan Moore’s epic comic into a satisfying screenplay. Terry Gilliam wanted to do it for awhile. Later there were rumors of a script by David Hayter to be shot in Prague with Darren Aronofsky at the helm, but he left the project. Next up was Bourne Supremacy director Paul Greengrass. As of 2007, director Zack Snyder (300, Dawn of the Dead) has the project. IMDB credits the new screenplay to David Hayter and Alex Tse.

Download screenplay

I Am Legend
Oct 30th, 2008 by mike

Everyone who has read Richard Matheson’s book wanted this movie done right. Previous versions featured Vincent Price (Last Man on Earth) and Chuck Heston (The Omega Man). This adaptation was in and out of development for awhile — Arnold Schwarzenegger was attached back before Will Smith took the role of John Neville. When Akiva Goldsman came on board as a writer, he went back to the Protosevich script and collaborated with him on a new draft. Hear a revealing interview with Goldsman on KCRW’s The Business.

Oct 30th, 2008 by mike

scriptment by James Cameron
Cameron was planning on doing this story of genetically altered life forms immediately after Titanic. He actually had 200 page scriptment written at that point, but it was put aside for a while.

Years later, Cameron’s mysterious Project 880 turned out to be Avatar after all. (This wasn’t surprising, since Lightstorm Entertainment asked us internet folks to stop hosting the Avatar materials online.)

Confused? See the Joblo story here.

Ain’t it Cool has a synopsis of the scriptment here.

There’s a neat run-down of creatures, locations, and crafts at

Oct 30th, 2008 by mike

by Brendan Hood
Rewrites, test screenings, and reshoots turned a promising spec script into a movie that no one wanted to see. Read the whole sad story at the Creature Corner. Script hosted by

Star Wars
Oct 30th, 2008 by mike

Scripts by George Lucas
George wanted to do Flash Gordon. He couldn’t get the rights, so he created his own space mythology. These drafts fascinate me. In some ways, they’re very amateurish. But it amazes me to see how he formed the Star Wars galaxy through the course of rewriting.

The first three scripts are drastically different from one another, but there are certain elements that survived to appear in the movies. Some plot points and names were never used until The Phantom Menace. Unfortunately, some parts seem to have been discarded for good. I’d love to see the opening scenes from the rough draft on the big screen.

For more about these scripts, read John Flynn’s article, The Origins of Star Wars.  I’d also recommend the well-researched Secret History of Star Wars website and book.




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The Stand
Oct 30th, 2008 by mike

by Rospo Pallenberg, novel by Stephen King
George Romero has worked with Stephen King many times over the years. They planned on doing a theatrical version of The Stand, but it didn’t happen. Romero’s producing partner, Richard P. Rubenstein, ended up doing the mini-series after they parted ways. Read the Pallenberg script and an in-depth (if biased) history of the project, courtesy of Subterranean Cinema.

Oct 30th, 2008 by mike

Scriptment by James Cameron
Remember the huge legal battle over Spider-man? By the time Marvel and Sony had it figured out, Cameron was out of the picture. The final movie did use some of Cameron’s ideas, however. The genetically altered (rather than radioactive) spider and the organic web-shooters had their origins here.

One fan of this scriptment, Daniele Tomasi, has devoted an entire website to it. features the scriptment in English and Italian, with commentary and storyboards.

Download scriptment here.

Resident Evil
Oct 30th, 2008 by mike

by George Romero
Romero got the shaft on this one. A German production company bought the rights to the video game and hired the zombie master to write and direct the adaptation. (Romero had already done some Japanese TV ads for the Resident Evil 2 video game.) According to Romero, the producers didn’t really have any idea what they wanted. It was like they didn’t understand the game’s inherent gore factor, because they shied away from his concept and started over with Paul Anderson.

Download screenplay

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