Resident Evil - Unproduced (Rejected) script by Alan B. McElroy from 1997-1998

Ark2000

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First, hello to everyone here. I am huge fan of Resident Evil games, so finding this site was great.

Recently, i found out that George Romero's (in)famous rejected script from October of '98 was not the first version of the script that was written for movie adaptation of the game. Instead, Constantin Films hired Alan B. McElroy in early 1997 to write the script for the film.

Of course, just like Romero's script, McElroy's was also rejected. While Romero's script did leaked out years ago, McElroy's never did, even though some gaming magazines did managed to get a copy and talked about it in articles.

I'm curious to find out anything about McElroy's script, so if anyone happens to know something about it, please feel free to share. I heard that there were more than one article about it in some gaming (and movie?) magazines but i couldn't find any clues to at least confirm it's true.

Unfortunately it seems that the script got lost in time, even though there always is hope that it will show up somewhere. I know that if i ever manage to find it, this will be the first place i'll talk about it. Based on little info i know about it so far, yeah it's not exactly like the game, but honestly i'd still rather preferred if this one was turned into a film.

I also happen to be one of the fans who really liked Romero's script, even though it had some problems, like some changes which weren't needed and some of the dialogue, although i would be curious to see what would happened if they kept him on the project and let him fix the script (he did said somewhere how he wrote more drafts) and make the film, maybe just to see Kurt Russell as Chris and James Woods or Peter Stormare as Wesker, who apparently were his choices for those roles.

As for other versions of the script by other writers which were also rejected, i would't mind finding out more about those as well, like rumored script by Kevin Williamson (writer of Scream), but finding out anything more about McElroy's is what i'm most interested in.
 
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Ark2000

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#2
PlayStation Magazine article from May of 1998 had some more info about the script, and it included plot synopsis of it. Some sites include this synopsis. From crimson-head.com;

"After reading last month's article on videogame movie news in this very section, a PSM fan involved with the Resident Evil film has leaked a copy of the script into our eager hands. The version of the script that we got may not have been the final shooting version, but it is one of the later revisions. The story is written by Alan McElroy, the same guy who wrote the Spawn movie. While it's definitely not the greatest screenplay ever written, it does manage to capture the feel of the game quite well, and may turn out to be a pretty good movie, especially for action/horror buffs. WARNING: If you do not want us to spoil what happens, do not read any further. But if you are a big Resident Evil fan like us, you have to know what the movie is going to be like!

It all starts off with a disturbance in the Raccoon Forest, where strange animals are mutilating campers and park rangers. A S.W.A.T team is sent in and is quickly destroyed by the mysterious creatures in the forest. At this point, the government gets involved. It recruits Wesker (who is in an asylum for some reason that is never explained) to break into a lab in the forest, presumably to rescue some scientists there. Wesker recruits his team members based on the specialties: Barry Barton is the all around military expert who has retired and now runs a restaurant, Chris Redfield is the expert at combat, Jill Valentine is a munition expert, and Brad Vickers is the medic. Unknown to the rest of the team, however, is that Brad is actually an imposter named Mike-- he is trying to find his girlfriend Becky, who was on the original S.W.A.T team sent into Raccoon Forest.

The team sets down in Raccoon forest and is almost immediately attacked by wild mutated dogs. They make a run for the lab.mansion in the middle of the forest and just barely make it there alive. They all get inside of the mansion, and that's where things really heat up. They confront more of the dogs, along with giant wasps, tarantulas, and of course, zombies. It's all-out tension and action as the group keeps losing members to each new threat, and ammo runs lower and lower. Eventually they find the scientist they are supposed to rescue, and it turns out that the whole situation was an insidious trap. They were to be infected with the T-virus and then allowed to escape to spread the virus to the rest of the world. Jill and Chris (the only ones left) get a hold of the antidote and escape from the building just as it is exploding, only to be pursued by the tyrant (who actually turns out to be a mutated Wesker). They finally fight off the Tyrant, take the antidote, and walk off into the sunset.

The films current form is ultra violent. It will be interesting to see whether it's toned down for a PG-13 rating, or if the director just goes all-out for an "R". It is also interesting to note that no mention is made of either the S.T.A.R.S. team or Umbrella Corp. But overall, the screenplay is a good basis for a potentially great movie, and we can't wait to see how it turns out!"

MEMORABLE SCENES: While the movie's dialog isn't exactly top-notch, quite a few tense scenes stand out.

- Team members sneak their way across a room filled with corpses that might be zombies (ooo, creepy!).

- A giant spider corners the team when they run out of ammo, with zombies also about to bust in.

- Team members get trapped in a service elevator, where they are surrounded by mutated hornets.

- And what RE movie would be complete without a Jill Valentine shower scene?"
 

KevinStriker

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#3
I also happen to be one of the fans who really liked Romero's script, even though it had some problems, like some changes which weren't needed and some of the dialogue, although i would be curious to see what would happened if they kept him on the project and let him fix the script (he did said somewhere how he wrote more drafts)
Yeah, I was always under the impression that Romero's script that was leaked was a draft, obviously not a final shooting script.
Meaning Yoshiki Okamoto's statement “Romero's script wasn't good, so Romero was fired.” is not only blunt as hell, it feels really dismissive to me.

But "not good" can mean anything. "Not good" might mean "expensive", which Paul W.S. Anderson's was not in 2003.
 

Ark2000

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Yeah, I was always under the impression that Romero's script that was leaked was a draft, obviously not a final shooting script.
Meaning Yoshiki Okamoto's statement “Romero's script wasn't good, so Romero was fired.” is not only blunt as hell, it feels really dismissive to me.

But "not good" can mean anything. "Not good" might mean "expensive", which Paul W.S. Anderson's was not in 2003.
I wish there was some real official explanation for why Romero's script was rejected. He and some other sources mentioned how everybody, including Capcom, liked his script but Constantin Films didn't for various reasons (budget, plot etc), then there are some others who claimed how it was Capcom guys who rejected his script... And yes, that leaked draft is Romero's first draft. I have a scanned copy of the script which is dated October 7, 1998, and it clearly has "First Draft" written on cover page. Also just to mention, i remember reading somewhere how one of Romero's later drafts was changed so that Chris is a S.T.A.R.S member and not native American like in first draft, but i don't know is this true.

Here's something i found online, bit difficult to read though, so i apologize, but i tried to figure this out the best i could. Some details about Romero's work on the film from 2002 issue of Fangoria (#211). April 1998 issue (#171) also included something about this but nothing from that one is online, too bad because maybe it also included some info about McElroy's script.

https://archive.org/stream/Fangoria_211/Fangoria_211_djvu.txt

Parts where Romero's involvement is mentioned;

"The next day, however. Bolt discovered that Constantin owned the rights and that Romero had just become attached to the project. Undeterred, Anderson decided to write his own script, in homage to the game, called Undead. “My idea was very much a ripoff of Resident Evil,” Anderson confesses. “It’s like I was going to make a version that would probably get me sued. It had exactly the same elements: the mansion in the woods, underground laboratory, big corporation doing genetic testing — ^terrible ripoff.” But before he had completed a finished draft, Constantin’s deid with Romero fell apart. “To be honest, I heard rumblings that it wasn’t going terribly well with Romero, and that it might not happen,” Anderson admits, “so even from the outset I was writing Undead with an eye to it becoming Resident Evil.”


"...Constantin unhappy with Romero's take, the two parties finally came together. “Bemd [Eichinger, producer and head of Constantin) said, ‘Let’s have a look at what Paul’s writing,’ ” explains Bolt, who runs Impact Films with Anderson. “Bemd was ecstatic, and we joined forces. It’s great, because we were talking to them about doing an overhead financing deal, so it all sort of happened simultaneously. So they own half of [Impact], and hopefully this will be the first of a number of films we make under this arrangement, both games based and otherwise.”

Whereas the previous attempts at adapting Resident Evil had adhered closely to one or more of the games, Anderson took a different approach entirely, coming up with the concept of a prequel, a film that lays the groundwork for the Resident Evil universe and explains what went on before the original game’s events. “What we’re trying to do is make a movie that works within the universe of Resident Evil and doesn’t contradict it,” Anderson explains, “so you’re not just giving the fans the game as a movie, you’re giving them a new adventure.”


They just didn't like my script, man." According to zombie king George Romero, this is what his failure to make Resident Evil comes down to. "The company that had it was a German outfit called Constantin Film," he says. 'They'd bought the game, but I don't think they knew what if was! The executive I worked with was a young guy who was turned on to it. But the head of the company just did not understand it, doesn't even know what a video game is. He wanted if to be something different. I mean, this is the guy who made Das Boot, so he wanted something prestigious. I told him that's not the spirit of the game. I did five or six drafts, but he just said, 'Forget it.' That was it."

Romero's story was set in a small town that is evacuated after the accidental spill of a top- secret, government-created biological weapon. As contaminated people start popping up as zombies, a crack paramilitary team is sent in to clean up the mess. They head for the source of the
contamination, a Xanadu- like forest mansion that houses a government research station. But human ghouls aren't the only things waiting
for the team: In their descent into the bowels of the research station, they have to fight, shoot and slaughter their way through zombie dogs, sharks and snakes! The deeper they go, the more outrageous their adversaries become, including human/animal hybrid killing machines.


Romero says his Evil would have contained "a lot of action, wanted it to be like the game and maybe visually like Day of the Dead, darker and confined. It's like a nightmare you can't get out of. You're in a corridor and you turn a corner or open a door and you're just in another small space. I was trying to stick with the game, and I worked with its designer. He gave us secrets from the second game, which had not been released yet. So some of the creatures and so forth came from that."


Btw, i don't know do many other RE fans and those who liked Romero's script saw this, but here is really fun script reading that Game Informer did;


And here is fake/fan made poster for Romero's version of the film. If i'm not mistaken, this was made at the same time when the script was written. Sorry for poor quality but couldn't find better picture of it, too bad because i actually kinda like this poster;

 
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Ark2000

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Here's the article which mentions one of the early versions of the script/story for the first film, and going from what else i heard, it's very possible that this could be the one which was supposedly written by Kevin Williamson after McElroy's and Romero's scripts were rejected, and either before or after another script (by yet to be identified writer) was also rejected, and just to mention for those of you who are also interested in these rejected scripts, that's the one which only had Jill and Chris as main heroes who lead the team into the mansion, and only had zombies and Tyrant as the monsters they would have to fight against.

http://knightofthecreeps.com/rumors.html

Shooting Blanks

February 7th, 2000

No matter how many rounds we pump into the godless abomination that is the RESIDENT EVIL movie.... the ****ing mugwump just won't die. Oh sure, it wants to... ever since Curious George Romero left the project way back when and got a job for Nintendo doing voice-overs for MARIO PARTY. Anyway, like any classic B-Movie bastard... RESIDENT EVIL rises again. This time around, its JAMIE BLANKS (director of URBAN LEGEND and son of BILLY) who is going to be at the helm. At a recent fraternity hazing, Blanks commented on the basic plot outline for RESIDENT EVIL... here's what he said:

"It's set in the not so distant future where all viruses and life threatening diseases ie cancer and Aids now are curable. However along comes a megalomaniacal evil corporation that invents an incurable disease and starts testing it out on some human specimens hoping to later infect the world so that the infected cough up their hard earned for a vaccine."

Of course, these human specimens turn into murderous zombies and go berserk in Racoon City and it's up to a specially trained group of police to take them down. Hijinx ensue.
 

Ark2000

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I don't think anyone ever included this article in anything about McElroy's script, so here it is. Interesting how his script included similar plot twist like in original game about entire rescue mission actually being a trap. This twist wasn't included in Romero's script, and as far as i know in any of the other rejected scripts;

https://archive.org/details/starlog_magazine-242

(September 1997, page 31)

The writer hopes to redefine haunted house movies with his next project. "I'm doing Resident Evil right now," he reveals. "It's based on the Sony Playstation video game, a terrifying game with an ALIENS kind of sensibility. Resident Evil deals with a strategic rescue team that has to go to a medical research facility where something has gone terribly wrong. One team was sent in and immediately killed, so a second team is put together. This ragtag group of guys from all over the country don't realize they're specimens in this experiment."
 
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Ark2000

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#7
Channel Midnight recently did a video about McElroy's script, and (maybe) soon he'll do one about Romero's script, so keep an eye out on his channel;