The other future project I discussed yesterday with Joe Johnston is the long-rumored “Jurassic Park IV.”
If you weren’t reading my work on Ain’t It Cool, you may not have read my report on the proposed sequel that was written by William Monahan and John Sayles. It led to Sayles accusing me of breaking into Steven Spielberg’s personal computer at one point, which was just nuts. I did no such thing, but I guess the project was supposed to be under lock and key.
You can read that original report here.
That was back in 2004, and I figured they must have moved on by this point, even if they did have two giant A-list names on that script. For those of you who don’t remember the report, here’s the most important part of the article:
“There”s the eight-year-old-boy side of me that thinks that a DIRTY DOZEN-style mercenary team of hyper-smart dinosaurs in body armor killing drug dealers and rescuing kidnapped children will be impossible to resist. And then there”s the side of me that says… WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!
[The main character] is put in charge of training these five dinosaurs, X1 through X5, and the first thing he does is name them. ‘Any soldier worth his pay has a name to answer to, not a number,’ he says. So we are introduced to Achilles, Hector, Perseus, Orestes, and Spartacus, each of them a specially created deinonychus, which is sort of like a miniature T-rex. They have super-sensitive smell and hearing, incredible strength and speed and pack-hunting instincts, and they have modified forelegs, lengthened and topped with more dextrous fingers, as well as dog DNA for increased obedience and human DNA so they can solve problems well. All of this is topped off with a drug-regulating implant that can dose them with adrenaline or serotonin as the situation demands.”
Seriously. That’s what the script was about. A commando team made up of gun-toting super-smart dinosaurs.
It was the single most insane thing I’ve ever read from a major studio. It still blows my mind that they were considering it at any point, much less that they got William Monahan and John Sayles to both work on it. Spielberg spent a fair amount of time in the press at the time crowing about how great their new idea was, and I seriously wish they’d just gone ahead with it. Even if it turned out to be godawful, it would have been unforgettable.
Since Joe Johnston has said several times now that he’s attached to direct the film, I told him that I’d read that draft, and I was curious about the state of development on the film right now.
Drew: Is that still in the offing, or have you moved on now to a new idea?
Joe: We have. There is an idea now for number four that is different from the first three, and that is more or less the beginning of a new trilogy, in that it sends the whole franchise off in a new direction. It’s not about the dinosaur park anymore. It’s about all-new characters. So Steven’s busy right now with the stuff he’s doing and I’ve got to do “Captain America,” but hopefully afterwards, we’ll find time to develop it. And really… it’s something different that we haven’t seen before in the “Jurassic Park” world.
Drew: I’m sorry we won’t see the Sayles/Monahan idea.
Joe: Well, you know, Universal and Steven will want to keep making these movies as long as they’re successful, and who knows? We may see the Monahan/Sayles version come back.
It sounds like no matter what, we’re still a long way from any dinosaurs making their way to the screen, but at least I can finally confirm that the version I wrote about is no longer the version they’re interested in making.
Again, my thanks to Mr. Johnston for his time yesterday, and to Universal for putting us together. Look for the rest of the Joe Johnston interview, as well as my chats with Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving, as we continue our coverage of “The Wolfman” all week long.
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