MTV.com has up a piece with director Frank Darabont in which he discusses his upcoming movie The Mist — part of his ever-expanding personal canon of Stephen King adaptations — as well as his long-in-the-works Fahrenheit 451, which an industry friend told me has some casting news in the chamber, ready to be announced in the next couple weeks.
The most interesting tidbit, though, may be Darabont’s pointed evaluation of the time he spent crafting a screenplay for Indiana Jones IV, a period he calls “a tremendous disappointment and a waste of a year.”
Darabont says the experience only confirmed his feeling that he couldn’t be “chained to a computer anymore, not for the paycheck,” noting that Steven Spielberg loved the finished product and wanted to make it his next movie, only to have Lucas — whom Darabont calls one of the most stubborn men he knows — put the kibosh on it. Still, Darabont won’t reveal exactly what it was that Lucas objected to, or how his story might be different than the greenlit product, penned by David Koepp. “At this point, I don’t give much of a damn what George thinks,” says Darabont, “but I wouldn’t want to harm my friendship with Steven.” For the full piece, click here.
Props to Darabont for shooting so straight. Though puzzling, it’s hard to believe — despite the seeming 40 or so writers who have taken a crack at its script over the past half dozen years — that Lucas would completely shitcan a story that presumably he signed off on, especially if Spielberg loved the script. One would have to think that some trace elements of Darabont’s story might remain. Otherwise, is Spielberg suddenly that hard up for a franchise revisitation, sitting around, waiting to entertain whimsical new Indiana Jones yarns on the off chance that one might catch Lucas’ fleeting fancy?
Though he’s a writer I’ve long admired (hey, I even dig The Paper, what can I say?), we won’t know the success of Koepp’s script for a year or so (or until it leaks out all over the Internet). One thing is for certain, though: as evidenced by the Star Wars prequels, maybe Lucas’ story sense shouldn’t be the principal controlling force in the franchise reboot.