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George A. Romero's other Resident Evil scripts still exist!

Ark2000

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I'm sure that Romero did indeed wrote more drafts, just based on what i heard from other sources. As for those couple drafts which are still listed as 1st one, well that could mean few different things. Those could be just some minor polish Romero did on dialogue or some other scenes, which is nothing unusual when it comes to the scripts. Not to go into too much screenwriting details here, but sometimes writers don't even list some minor work they did with the script on the cover, specially if it was done in short time between writing the original draft and then "fixing it up". Sometimes it can get confusing if the so-called "new draft" still has the same date, but different format, cover page, etc. To give you an example, i have couple drafts of one script which are listed as same draft but like i said, each is in different format and i swear there's only like couple lines of dialogue which are different between the two. I don't wanna guess did Romero also did some other work on the script between the drafts, like revisions or re-writes, because there's already way too little info about his other RE script drafts. But i'm sure that he did worked on it more than what people think, since i think he left the production few months after writing his 1st draft.
 

Bran

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It's good for fans, but bad for me. I was hoping to introduce all this information with respect to Romero in a documentary... I kinda feel like just tweeting out the information is just... well, it just doesn't sit right to me. Especially as my documentary is going to be free to watch, and is looking to be pushing over 2 hours in length.
 

Bran

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Just wanted to give a quick update. I have been having a BLAST at Living Dead Weekend at the Monroeville Mall... I got an update for when I can continue the research, found a producer interested in my documentary, and also...

...met the "assistant" that played Resident Evil 1 for George. So, I got lots of info coming. The documentary is in full swing, research continues, and it looks like to might be getting picked up into a bigger production.
 

Ark2000

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Good news Bran! Would love to see this get even bigger, and who knows, maybe it will get lot of attention. Of course, i'm not expecting something like "Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau" or "The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened", but i know this will still be something which lot of people will love to see, and hear more about background of entire cancelled film. Too bad Romero is no longer with us, i can only imagine how great it would be to hear in full details his side of the story. Personally i would have liked to ask him about his decisions to change some parts of the story like characters (Chris as a Mohawk) and creatures (making Hunters into half-cybernetic monsters).
 

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Good news Bran! Would love to see this get even bigger, and who knows, maybe it will get lot of attention. Of course, i'm not expecting something like "Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau" or "The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened", but i know this will still be something which lot of people will love to see, and hear more about background of entire cancelled film. Too bad Romero is no longer with us, i can only imagine how great it would be to hear in full details his side of the story. Personally i would have liked to ask him about his decisions to change some parts of the story like characters (Chris as a Mohawk) and creatures (making Hunters into half-cybernetic monsters).
Some of these questions I will be able to have Peter Grunwald answer.

But, yeah, everything is sounding good so far. Really good. I'll know more in a few days.
 

Bran

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While I cannot give specifics, the project is in full pre-production, and you will see a full public announcement around the beginning of the year. I think a lot of people are going to be pleased.
 

Ark2000

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Hey Bran, are these the ones you'll be mentioning in your documentary, and does McElroy draft you got has the same date?


Section: 88. Resident Evil, 1997-1998 box folder

Resident Evil by Alan McElroy first draft, May 29, 1997 46 7

Resident Evil storyline by George A. Romero and Peter Grunwald, August 1998 46 8

Resident Evil screenplay by George A. Romero first draft, September 29, 1998 46 9

Resident Evil screenplay by George A. Romero first draft, October 5, 1998 46 10

Resident Evil screenplay by George A. Romero first draft (copy 1), October 7, 1998 46 11

Resident Evil screenplay by George A. Romero first draft (copy 2), October 7, 1998 46 12

Resident Evil screenplay, undated
47 1
 

Bran

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Hey Bran, are these the ones you'll be mentioning in your documentary, and does McElroy draft you got has the same date?


Section: 88. Resident Evil, 1997-1998 box folder

Resident Evil by Alan McElroy first draft, May 29, 1997 46 7

Resident Evil storyline by George A. Romero and Peter Grunwald, August 1998 46 8

Resident Evil screenplay by George A. Romero first draft, September 29, 1998 46 9

Resident Evil screenplay by George A. Romero first draft, October 5, 1998 46 10

Resident Evil screenplay by George A. Romero first draft (copy 1), October 7, 1998 46 11

Resident Evil screenplay by George A. Romero first draft (copy 2), October 7, 1998 46 12

Resident Evil screenplay, undated
47 1
You missed a couple things, but yeah. Also, there are apparently more drafts than this. According to my sources, George wrote into 1999. I'm trying to confirm that. Considering the people that should be coming on board, won't be hard to do.

I'll be headed there soon. I was already contacted by the Archives and set the date to go.
 

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This is all very exciting...especially considering there's a copy of McEllory's script available. The draft of Romero's script that circulated online for 20 years is the one dated October 7 1998, which seems to be the second-to-last - unless, as Bran says, there were more. I remember Romero said at one point they did multiple passes - I reckon they never changed the script so dramatically to make it worth of the "2nd draft" label, but there might be some very interesting differences between the different versions.
 

Bran

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I'll let you know. Part of my research is to get to the truth of the matter.

I can remember a few plot synopsis that were supposedly Romero's. One sounded similar to the McElroy draft information I recovered years ago. Another just sounded made up (zombies could only be killed through dismemberment, etc).

All my research I will be mostly keeping to myself. I'll probably share some details, especially on the McElroy draft, but a lot of the extra stuff I'll be saving for the documentary. Considering there are people planning to go there just so they can leak the details over Twitter... I need to keep some of the extra info I have to myself, otherwise the documentary is kind of dead in the water.

But, I'll be able to clarify some things.
 

Ark2000

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You missed a couple things, but yeah. Also, there are apparently more drafts than this. According to my sources, George wrote into 1999. I'm trying to confirm that. Considering the people that should be coming on board, won't be hard to do.

I'll be headed there soon. I was already contacted by the Archives and set the date to go.
I also read old reports about Romero's 1999 drafts, like how his final draft "from mid '99" was much better than first one from previous year. And like Hardware said, Romero did mentioned he did "five or six drafts" in Fangoria interview. It would't surprise me that he did worked on it for at least six months, but this just causes more questions, like how different were his later drafts. I've seen drafts of movie scripts which were almost completely different from ones before, and i've seen ones which are almost exactly same, despite lot of time between each of the drafts, so anything is possible. Also, once again, wish you good luck Bran, and thanks for answering my question!
 

Ark2000

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This is all very exciting...especially considering there's a copy of McEllory's script available. The draft of Romero's script that circulated online for 20 years is the one dated October 7 1998, which seems to be the second-to-last - unless, as Bran says, there were more. I remember Romero said at one point they did multiple passes - I reckon they never changed the script so dramatically to make it worth of the "2nd draft" label, but there might be some very interesting differences between the different versions.
I posted some info about rumored differences of Romero's drafts before, and Bran also talked about it over the years, but again, these are just rumors which by now are years old, and unconfirmed. One constant thing i did noticed lot of people mentioned were possibility of Romero's scaling down the action (read, budget) in his other drafts. Also, good to know that McElroy's script is not only not lost in time like many have thought, but also how at least now we know when he wrote his first draft. He must have worked on his script longer than Romero worked on his, because i think, and Bran can correct me if i'm wrong, McElroy was involved between January of 1997 and May of 1998 before, apparently, they rejected his script due to its story (?). Who knows how many drafts he wrote, in one article from December of '97 it was reported how he was just "finishing final touches on it", and that draft which was reviewed in PSM leaked out in May of '98.

Side Note, and some fun facts; From what i could gather, it seems McElroy had a really busy year in '97, which could explain why it took him so long to finish writing his Resident Evil script. Not only that he was working on movie adaptations of Spawn and Resident Evil, but he also was writing movie adaptation of another video game, Doom. And adaptations of three more different comic books, Suture Girl, Witchblade, and Scud: The Disposable Assassin. He was also re-writing one of his old scripts into ultimately rejected version of Die Hard 4 which would take place in jungle. And something called Alien Earth. And yet from all that, only Spawn got made, and from what i understand, after his script was re-written.
 

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I posted some info about rumored differences of Romero's drafts before, and Bran also talked about it over the years, but again, these are just rumors which by now are years old, and unconfirmed. One constant thing i did noticed lot of people mentioned were possibility of Romero's scaling down the action (read, budget) in his other drafts. Also, good to know that McElroy's script is not only not lost in time like many have thought, but also how at least now we know when he wrote his first draft. He must have worked on his script longer than Romero worked on his, because i think, and Bran can correct me if i'm wrong, McElroy was involved between January of 1997 and May of 1998 before, apparently, they rejected his script due to its story (?). Who knows how many drafts he wrote, in one article from December of '97 it was reported how he was just "finishing final touches on it", and that draft which was reviewed in PSM leaked out in May of '98.

Side Note, and some fun facts; From what i could gather, it seems McElroy had a really busy year in '97, which could explain why it took him so long to finish writing his Resident Evil script. Not only that he was working on movie adaptations of Spawn and Resident Evil, but he also was writing movie adaptation of another video game, Doom. And adaptations of three more different comic books, Suture Girl, Witchblade, and Scud: The Disposable Assassin. He was also re-writing one of his old scripts into ultimately rejected version of Die Hard 4 which would take place in jungle. And something called Alien Earth. And yet from all that, only Spawn got made, and from what i understand, after his script was re-written.

McElroy was hired sometime at the beginning of 1997. Spawn was most likely written in 1996. I believe McElroy did one for draft. In my opinion, I think it was the poor reception of Spawn that caused him to be fired. No confirmation, though.
 

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McElroy was hired sometime at the beginning of 1997. Spawn was most likely written in 1996. I believe McElroy did one for draft. In my opinion, I think it was the poor reception of Spawn that caused him to be fired. No confirmation, though.
I hardly think it was Spawn that got him fired - McElroy has been working steadily at least since the late 80s and that same year he co-created the Spawn animated series which was very successful: established writers don't get fired for something like that. My two cents is that he, like Romero, did what Constantin Films didn't want: he wrote a horror movie, while they wanted something different...essentially what Anderson (who took at least a couple of ideas from Romero's work - the laser wireframe being one of them) did: a PG-13 action movie in disguise. I am pretty curious to read his draft, as the man definitely has a certain taste for horror (he wrote the first "Wrong Turn" movie, which I liked a lot - people ****ed on it and yet praised that dumb-as-hell sequel they made a few years later).

EDIT: Actually, I don't think one could say McElroy and Romero got fired from "Resident Evil". Writers don't really get fired from movie projects: they are let go if their work is not approved for whatever reason, but they are never really fired...producers are not even allowed to say that, as it would make the writer look bad and **** off the latter's reps. Cinematographers get fired (I know the feeling). Directors get fired. Editors get fired. And getting fired never looks good on anyone's resume. But writers, usually, are contracted to write one draft: if the draft doesn't meet the producers' expectations and they don't like his\her style, somebody else is brought in. No hard feelings or stains on somebody's backtrack. The only person who ever said that Romero got "fired" was Okamoto in an interview, but it was either because of poor translating or that the man only understands Japanese corporate mentality and so cannot conceive that a creative person might not work on a project anymore without being "fired".
 
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Ark2000

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You are probably right about Constantin not liking more of a horror versions of Resident Evil that McElroy and Romero did. I think it was Romero who said something about how they expected more of a war/action film with not much violence and horror, while he probably didn't give a **** even if his version would end up with NC-17 rating, and McElroy's script was also described as more of a horror with creepy atmosphere. Obviously Constantin still had second thoughts about "more of an action film" decisions as well, if the rumors about Kevin Williamson's script are true, since it sounded like, well, more of an action version of the story.

And i also think that Spawn or the quality of his script wasn't what really got McElroy fired. He was a very good writer of action and horror films and great guy for the job of mixing the both, but sadly nowadays he still mostly gets lot of **** for some of the 2000's films he worked on. I can't defend something like Left Behind, but what happened to Ecks Vs Sever, "the worst-reviewed film in the history of Rotten Tomatoes", is not his fault. That film was another victim of studio's taking the film away from director and changing the **** out of it in post, but even before that McElroy's script was completely re-written by other uncredited writer. Not to go into too many details, but i read his early script for that film, when guys like Wesley Snipes and Jet Li, or Vin Diesel and Stallone were supposed to star in the film, and let me tell you, that was a damn good action thriller and miles better than the mess which got made, and it made me even more interested in his other scripts like Resident Evil.

Even his original script for Wrong Turn was re-written, from original story of robber on a run who finds a cabin with mountain men and then battles against them, to group of people vs inbred cannibals, but at least in that case we still got a fun film. I even liked Wrong Turn 2, and while the new film he also wrote has some problems with story and characters, i thought it was better than average horror film for modern time.
 

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Anderson didn't take anything from previous drafts. His script was written around the same time as Romero's. The reason why there is very little connection to the original games, other than superficial details, was because it wasn't meant to be a Resident Evil film. When Anderson later got hired, he added Umbrella, Raccoon City, the T-Virus, and the Licker into the script, replacing the generic elements originally there. There has been no evidence that Anderson ever saw any of the previous work.

Something happened that caused McElroy to be let go... Romero hasn't always written his own screenplays, especially for some of the projects he planned to do in the 90's. He was given a copy of McElroy's (that's why it exists in the archives). In both cases, neither McElroy or Romero delivered what Eichinger wanted. Both wanted gory horror films, whereas Eichinger wanted something less gory, more commercial. The question of whether they abandoned McElroy due to box office of Spawn is my own theory not backed by evidence. I just found it suspicious that he delivered the script in May 1997, there was supposedly one rewrite, and then Spawn releases August 1st, and nothing happens on the project until almost a year later.

All of this comes from archive interviews and those that were there. I'll have an even more complete picture in the next 12 months.
 

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Anderson didn't take anything from previous drafts. His script was written around the same time as Romero's. The reason why there is very little connection to the original games, other than superficial details, was because it wasn't meant to be a Resident Evil film. When Anderson later got hired, he added Umbrella, Raccoon City, the T-Virus, and the Licker into the script, replacing the generic elements originally there. There has been no evidence that Anderson ever saw any of the previous work.
That's a bit of an urban legend that stemmed from an old Fangoria article (I still have that issue) that said Anderson originally wrote a script called "Undead" which was supposed to be his homage to RE because he discovered Romero was already working on it. It didn't go that way according to all other sources (including Anderson himself): he wrote the script once he got the job - and he did it for free because Constantin had ran out of development money for the project. The references to the games were kept to a minimum at Capcom's request - according to Anderson, he was able to incorporate characters from the videogames in the sequel (Jill, Nemesis) because Capcom was more OK with it. At the time of the first film, they were worried that the movie would've been less exciting had it featured the original cast because the fans already knew who was going to survive...which sounds pretty contrived to me (it's like tossing the whole book away when you're adapting a novel), but, considering some of the messy decisions people at Capcom (including Okamoto himself) were making around that time, it could be true. I mean, in RE2 (1.5) Elza was originally supposed to be Speyer's sister, but then she was changed into an original character in order to not alienate new players...only for her to be turned into Claire at Sugimura's insistence because there were not many links to the first game...which makes me suspect Hideki Kamiya was forced to take the blame for other people's decisions.

I am pretty positive Anderson got to read Romero's script - it was Constantin's property after all (they had paid him to write it). The scene with the laser corridor looks like an amalgam of two scenes from the Romero\Grunwald script: the one with the acid-shooting sentry guns with laser sights (which eventually form a reticule) and the one towards the end where the corridor leading to the core of the lab becomes a trap - in Romero's version, it turns into a sort of meat-grinder (and it's pretty remindful of the corridor where Milla fights a bunch of bad guys in the fifth film, with the neon panels and all). There are other similarities like the majority of the story taking place inside the lab with little time spent in the mansion - in one of Anderson's drafts, Alice gets to walk around the place a bit more, even exploring the courtyard where she finds a statue of Lewis Carroll. Also, the way the squad in the movie gets to the lab is VERY similar to the way STARS Alpha Team was supposed to access to the lab: they both reach for a secret door sealed by an electronic device. In Anderson's version, they crack the code of the fake mirror, in Romero's version Wesker slides his access card into a card reader...if I am not mistaken, in both versions the device is hidden behind a fake electric switch. And, maybe it's just the fact they all took cues from "Aliens", but it's pretty interesting to notice that in both Romero's script and Anderson's movie the characters spend a lot of time crawling through air-conditioning ducts...which is something that also happens in Romero's "Dawn of the Dead".
 

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It must be said that Romero's version was pretty much unfilmable - I mean, he put in almost every monster from the game...in some cases they just make a very brief appearance, but they would've still cost a small fortune to create (there are some b-movies out there that are all about one giant snake...in Romero's script it only has one scene and it shares it with Plant 42!). I am not sure it was his choice (that's something for Bran to explore)...it might've been some weird Capcom directive: Steven De Souza, the writer\director of "Street Figther", was forced by Capcom to keep introducing characters from the SF2 until the very last minute - the script was originally supposed to only feature the cast of the very first version of the game, which was already stretching it (De Souza had estimated that each character would've received about 10 minutes of screen time each), but then he was forced to incorporate characters like Dee Jay and Cammy which were going to be featured in the upgraded editions - he cast Kyle Minogue while on a plane flight to Australia because he saw her in a magazine. They even forced him to use Kenya Sawada because of some deal they had with him at that time...even though he didn't speak English (so he had to be dubbed - and you can tell it) and his character is pretty useless anyway.

Romero also put in too many characters - not only he had both Alpha and Bravo Team appearing, but he also added a couple of new faces as well...some scenes really play weird if you try to picture them: very often, you only have three characters doing something while the others are just hanging around in the background...it would've driven the 1st AD and the Production Manager insane to have that many actors on-set every day (each one needing somebody to drive them around and their own dressing room) along with all the extras\stuntmen playing the zombies and the whole crew...not to mention the producers having to pay these people a full salary to just stay there...and possibly getting angry phone calls from their agents because some of them were feeling underused.

Something that Anderson did right was keeping the cast tight and the bestiary even tighter (you only get zombies, dogs and one licker).
 

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I wouldn't say it is an urban legend... Anderson has talked about it more than once. Basically, sometime in 1998, Anderson played Resident Evil 2 and enjoyed it so much, he had Jeremy Bolt seek out the rights, only for them to find out that Constantin had the rights and Romero was directing. So, Anderson decided to write a script called The Undead, which had all the elements he wanted. This script was later presented to Eichinger, and made into the first movie.

I have seen no other evidence to contradict Anderson.
 

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I distinctively remember Anderson saying that when he approached Constantin they told him they had no money for the script and he did it for free. And I also remember that Fangoria article (which said Anderson had played both RE1 and RE2 nonstop after finishing SOLDIER) got disproven sometime later, which was a bit of a shock since, to me, Fangoria was like the Holy Bible back then.
 
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