Dangerous Minds has a screenshot of the rejection letter. The plot seems the same in the ’94 version of the script as in the final movie, only in this early version Mark Wahlberg’s character, the “porn actor with a large penis” hits rock bottom and becomes a star again after his parents die. At any rate, Fox characterized this script concept and storyline as “poor,” as well as the concept and characterization as only “fair.” And the recommendation? “No.”
What happened here? Dangerous Minds thinks this:
Mainly the memo transmits an unsurprising lesson, which is that it’s always easy to reject a 186-page script (that’s very long, in case you don’t know) about a bunch of losers working in the porn industry, even if it’s by one of the brightest talents in L.A.
As a result, Anderson shelved the script and made Hard Eight. New Line later took on the film. Boogie Nights came out in 1997, and is still beloved almost 20 years later. This initial rejection just goes to show how lucky we are that Boogie Nights got made.
(via Dangerous Minds)