The article title may seem like an outrageous claim, but I’d bet my life on it. Read on to find out more!

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I’m going to let you in on a little industry secret that will increase your chances of selling a script one hundred-fold. That is no exaggeration, my friend. Of course, a major concession will have to be made. You will need to write somebody else’s story. Or, at least, the core of the concept will not be yours. But this shouldn’t matter to you. Writing other peoples’ ideas is how the Hollywood screenwriting business operates.

So how does this magical pill work? Well, we all know that Hollywood is an IP-driven business. They want their Twilights, their Avengers, their Lara Crofts, because all of these properties already have a built-in audience. That’s what Hollywood is paying for when it buys a Harry Potter. An audience they know will spend money to watch their films.

But there’s a loophole to this strategy – a way to appeal to audiences just as big, but that will cost the studio nothing more than the price of your script (pennies compared to a deal for The Hunger Games). If you’re a studio head looking for any bargain you can find, that sounds like a deal too good to pass up. So what’s the loophole?

The public domain.

These are properties that have lapsed past the required 92 years in which a property can be owned, and are now available to anyone to write about. There are TONS of great (and popular!) stories that are available to you in the public domain.

And Hollywood loves these properties. Sure, they don’t have the “newness” factor of, say, a Katniss Everdeen. But in a way they have something better. LONGETIVITY. A proven track record that they’ve worked over and over again.

Now when I first started writing, I hated the idea of the public domain. Why would I write some bunk idea from a guy who died 200 years ago? Ahh, but here’s the thing. Nobody said you had to write the same story they did. And actually, you don’t want to write the same story. You want to put a NEW spin on the story. You want to make it yours. And the options to do this are as endless as your imagination.

You could write a version of Alice in Wonderland that takes place in the BDSM world. Or Romeo and Juliet set 3000 years in the future. You can also invigorate a property by changing up the genre, time, or origin of the character itself. Write a romantic comedy about Dracula. Write a Western about Frankenstein. Turn Cinderella into the bad guy. Or a man! I actually had that idea once, about an average-looking plumber named Syd E. Rella who finds himself at a large charity auction and strikes up a flirtationship with the beautiful CEO of the biggest company in the city.

There are so many examples of these scripts selling. There was a dark serial killer script where Peter Pan was the killer and Hook was the detective that sold a few years ago. A script about The Count of Monte Cristo set 30 years in the future that sold two years ago. Snow White and the Huntsman sold for 1.5 million bucks and we all know how much money that movie went on to make. One writer even got creative and went past Pinocchio to focus on his father, Geppetto.

The point being: Let your mind roam free. Find a popular property in the public domain and put your spin on it. I PROMISE you that saying, “I have a script about a bored suburban man who builds a time machine in his basement that’s based on H.G. Wells, “The Time Machine,” is going to get a lot more attention from agents than, “I have a script about a bored suburban man who builds a time machine in his basement” by itself. Whether it’s fair or not, that’s how the business works.

So with that in mind, here are the top 25 works/authors in the public domain. Feel free to suggest any that I missed in the comments section. If they’re obvious ones, I’ll add them.

THE 25 MOST BANKABLE WORKS/AUTHORS IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN

1) Alice in Wonderland
2) The Wizard of Oz
3) Cinderella
4) Frankenstein
5) Peter Pan (better lay off this one for awhile)
6) Robin Hood
7) Sleeping Beauty
8) Edgar Allan Poe’s work (The Raven, Tell-Tale Heart, etc.)
9) H.P. Lovecraft’s work (selected stuff – do your research)
10) H.G. Wells’ work (The Time Machine, War of the Worlds)
11) Pinocchio
12) Brothers Grimm (Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel)
13) Jules Verne’s work (Around the World in 80 Days, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea)
14) Mark Twain’s work (Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn)
15) Robert Louis Stevenson’s work (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Treasure Island)
16) All the Greek myths (Zeus, Medusa, etc.)
17) Shakespeare’s work
18) The Count of Monte Cristo
19) Dracula
20) Robinson Crusoe
21) Sherlock Holmes (This is touchy one though. Do your homework)
22) Sleepy Hollow
23) The Great Gatsby (just entered the public domain)
24) Gulliver’s Travels
25) Charles Dickens’ work (Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations)

My suggestion would be to find one of these characters/stories that appeal to you and then find an angle that’s never been done before. That’s how your script is going to stand out. Feel free to test your public domain loglines in the comments below. Upvote the best ones and who knows, we may just find a few great scripts to write. For more works in the public domain, check out this link here, and this one here. Looking through each list, I’ve already found a handful of ideas I’d want to turn into movies. Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game?” Sign me up!

  • Lucid Walk

    Vote up for top comment!

  • G.S.

    Based on my existing backlog of concepts, I have to say, this article has made me very happy…

    …but also a little confused. One of my biggest personal problems is that I get an idea, world-build like crazy, hit a wall, get a NEW idea and start the process over again, leaving me a great many developed but unwritten screenplays. The way the spec-writing game seems to be played doesn’t help matters. A lot of advice is given about writing in the hot new genre, or using the latest thematic element that’s selling. Were I to follow these trends, I’d be feeding the beast that keeps me from finishing screenplays.

    Right now, I’m working on a screenplay that takes a different angle for the zombie genre that I haven’t seen explored. I’m 40 pages into the first draft. Do I table it for now and jump on one of the big public domain ideas I’ve come up with only recently? Or do I power through the one currently open on my desktop?

    • ChadStuart

      No, finish your draft. Always finish, no matter what. You’re going to need to put it down before going back to it for the second draft, you can work on the other script during that time period.

    • carsonreeves1

      No! Much better to finish what you’re working on. Always finish what you’re working on if possible.

      • gazrow

        Agreed! I’m half way through a broad/sex comedy that I doubt I’ll ever sell and to make matters worse it’s easily the toughest script I’ve ever attempted to write but I’m still determined to finish the fucker! :)

        • carsonreeves1

          I wish I had the link but James Gunn said his career sucked until he forced himself to stop abandoning the bulk of his projects and finish everything he started.

          • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

            Biggest challenge for any artist is finishing.

          • Midnight Luck

            “The easiest thing to do on earth is not write.”
            -William Goldman

            It seems most writers are in agreement, a better quote would be:

            The easiest thing to do on earth is to not finish.

          • charliesb
        • Kirk Diggler

          You had me at broads and sex.

          • gazrow

            LOL. :)

    • Midnight Luck

      Like most all writers and producers say, DO NOT follow whatever the hip, “it”, “hot” craze is (and that includes even this article, or the biopic frenzy) because there is no guarantee, and it is actually more of a guarantee, that by the time you finish writing, somewhere in the long timeline of putting all the pieces together; by the time it is bought, money has been gathered, people are put in place, it has been filmed, and is ready for release, NONE of it will be “HOT” any longer.
      I’d say Just write what you have passionate for.
      And finish, no matter what.

  • ChadStuart

    Way back when I wrote with a partner, back when Shakeseare adaptatons were all the rage, we wrote Hamlet as a vampire story. Worked like a charm and we landed our first manager off of that draft. It didn’t sell, but it opened plenty of doors for us. This is a method with a long history. It will continue to be around for some time, I suspect.

    • Mr. Blonde

      Kind of like when I had an idea in 8th grade to do MacBeth as a story about a street gang. Then, a couple years later, “Sons of Anarchy” came out and it was too similar to continue on with. No idea is so special that nobody else in the world has thought of it.

      • Midnight Luck

        That is also pretty much what “William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet” was back in the 90’s. DiCaprio and Co. were basically a scrappy street gang with guns and suped up cars set in fictional Verona Beach.

        It was a great update to Romeo and Juliet.

    • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

      One of the best things about borrowing Shakespeare, too, is that it gives you all the intricate plot machinations. For any of Shakespeare’s plays, you can leave behind the characters and the language, and just take the plot and you’ll still be way ahead.

  • Doug

    This is exactly what’s wrong with Hollywood. How many more f***ing Frankenstein, King Kong, Lone Ranger, Zorro, Three Musketeers, Count of Monte Cristo, Jules Verne, H G Wells, Alice in Wonderland, Robin Hood, The Most Dangerous Game, etc movies do we really need? Did you see I, Frankenstein? What about the last King Kong movie? The Lone Ranger? War of the Worlds? Peter Pan??? They all sucked beyond belief. It doesn’t matter what “angle” you take with them, they are all going to suck.

    • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

      I don’t think that’s totally true, though I have to agree that when I saw the list up there, I groaned.

  • Magga

    OK, I’ll try…
    When Alice, a downtrodden teenage girl, skips school to go the the cinema all by herself, she sees a white rabbit jumping into the screen. She follows it and goes on an adventure through movie history and all its genres, until she reaches the point where it’s time for a woman like her to take charge and become the hero.

    I guess that needs a lot of work, but if I can make Alice be a femme fatale in black and white, a Hitchcock heroine, a victim that needs to be rescued by a cowboy and then finally some Hunger Games-like heroine, it could be cool. Of course it’s as much Forrest Gump of Purple Rose of Cairo as it is Alice in Wonderland, but brand is brand.

    Alice in Hollywood?

    • Magga

      Or maybe Alice travels into the public domain, and we follow her through every story on this list

    • scriptfeels

      A good scene for reference would be the opening of paprika when she transitions through various movie genres chasing after a criminal.

      • Magga

        Been meaning to watch that.

  • brenkilco

    Looking through each list, I’ve already found a handful of ideas I’d want to turn movies. Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game?” Sign me up!

    A gag I’m guessing since this is one of the most frequently adapted stories in history. From the original movie version by the makers of King Kong back in the thirties to one in the nineties featuring Jean Claude Van Damme. How many total movies and TV shows have there been based or inspired by this little story. I’d guess easily a couple of dozen. Call me an idiot. But I only recently tumbled to the fact that the title is a pun.

    Public domain is really going to start getting interesting in the next few years as works of people like Hemingway, Hammett and Fitzgerald start losing copyright protection.

    • carsonreeves1

      I like the old-fashioned setting of the story though. I don’t think it’s been done that way. It’s only been shown through a more modern take.

      • brenkilco

        Run of the Arrow used the idea in the old west. And The Naked Prey set it in colonial Africa. It’s been done every which way.

        • Scott Crawford

          The Simpsons did it! And on the audio commentary, showrunner Al Jean said that he didn’t think they ever would, given how many versions of the story there had been (there’s even one on Get Smart and Gilligan’s Island, The Man from UNCLE).

          Still it was a great episode, and the original story is a classic.

          • brenkilco

            The first film version, which the makers used as a warm up for King Kong, utilzing the same sets and some of the same effects, is a lot of fun. Actor Leslie Banks’ loopy performance as the evil count is something to see.

          • Scott Crawford

            You can see it for free on Amazon Prime!

      • Levres de Sang

        Zodiac must also have ignited additional interest in the original…

    • klmn

      From Wikipedia.

      “Film[edit]

      This story has been adapted to film numerous times. The most significant of these adaptations — and the only film to use the original characters — was RKO Pictures’ film released in 1932, The Most Dangerous Game. Joel McCrea stars as Rainsford; Leslie Banks portrays Zaroff. The adaptation by James Ashmore Creelman adds two other principal characters, brother-and-sister pair Eve Trowbridge (Fay Wray) and Martin Trowbridge (Robert Armstrong), who are castaways from a shipwreck. The Most Dangerous Game was co-directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack and Irving Pichel; also with a score by Max Steiner, the film was a favorite project of producer Merian C. Cooper. The production shared several sets with King Kong (1933), a simultaneous RKO project that also involved Schoedsack, Cooper, Wray, Armstrong, Creelman, and Steiner. The Most Dangerous Game was a modest success.[1][2]:51

      RKO produced a remake titled A Game of Death (1945), directed by Robert Wise, from a screenplay Norman Houston wrote. This film stars John Loder and Audrey Long, with Edgar Barrier as the mad hunter.[2]:206 In order to keep with events of that time, A Game of Death changed Zaroff into “Erich Kreiger”, a Nazi, and was set in the aftermath of the Second World War.

      In 1956, United Artists released another film adaptation, Run for the Sun, starring Richard Widmark, Trevor Howard and Jane Greer.[2]:206

      In 1961, the film Bloodlust! was released, directed by Ralph Brooke and starring Wilton Graff as the Zaroff-type character, and Robert Reed as the leader of a band of youths who become stranded on the island.

      John Woo’s first Hollywood directorial effort, the Jean-Claude Van Damme thriller Hard Target (1993), was loosely based on the same story. The locale was shifted to 1990s New Orleans, with homeless Vietnam war veterans voluntarily serving (in return for potential payment from a shady businessman) as human prey.

      In Surviving the Game (1994), a homeless man is hired as a survival guide for a group of wealthy businessmen on a hunting trip in the mountains. He is unaware that they are killers who hunt humans for sport, and that he is their new prey. Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson, the film stars Rutger Hauer, Ice-T, and Charles S. Dutton.

      In The Eliminator (2004), seven captured people are hunted at night for sport on an island as a betting game for the wealthy.

      In Beyond the Reach (2014), A high-rolling corporate shark and his impoverished young guide play the most dangerous game during a hunting trip in the Mojave Desert…”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Most_Dangerous_Game

  • Magga

    So I checked it out, and several Charlie Chaplin films are in the public domain. But is his character The Tramp free to use? I have an idea for it

    • brenkilco

      This is a really good question and might be worth some research. I believe there was a big copyright case a few years back involving Sherlock Holmes. The estate claimed that the copyright should run from the date of the last of Doyle’s stories. I believe, but don’t quote me, that the court determined the general copyright on a fictional character begins to run from his first appearance.

      • carsonreeves1

        Yeah, I started looking through that as well. Things get complicated. Since many characters continue on for years, it’s not clear when the “public domain clock” starts ticking, which is something I’m sure lawyers everywhere are exploiting as much as possible.

        It is strange though. Because a lot of other properties that came out at the time that Sherlock Holmes did are in the domain. But Holmes is only sort of in it (certain characteristics not brought out until later books, for instance, are not in the public domain).

        You’d think that somewhere online there would be answers to all this but it appears as if there’s an advantage to keeping the details vague. It allows the Doyle estate to have more power in negotiation. It is not known, for example, if the Doyle estate is getting paid for the BBC Sherlock show or the CBS Elementary show. They won’t comment on it.

        • Howie428

          I believe the issue with Sherlock Holmes is that the last few stories written by Conan Doyle were written after the date at which copyright still applies and gets routinely extended. Apparently those stories have a few character details that didn’t previously appear in the public domain stories, so the estate regards those as protected. In most cases producers will pay a fee to the estate just to be safe, but the fees and the protections are nothing like they would be if the earlier work was not public domain.

          Another big problem area on your list is with the Wizard of Oz. The book is public domain, but the movie is not. So you have to be sure that the things you use are in the book, most famously the ruby slippers must be silver!

          • Matthew Bishop

            I believe the most recent standard is 70 years plus the life of the author. So once he dies, add 70 years, and then as long as you’re after that, you should be fine.

      • Scott Crawford
      • Magga

        Turns out he’s on one of the lists Carson posted, so I’m in the clear. Yay!

    • ChadStuart

      But, what is it about the Tramp that’s special? The Tramp without Chaplin is a pretty empty character. He WAS that character, and all of its charms came directly from his performance. It’s really no different than the times Alan Arkin, Roger Moore or even Steve Martin tried to play Inspector Clousseau. It wasn’t the character that was great, it was the performance.

      • Magga

        Absolutely agree, my idea isn’t to simply do a remake or a new story with the character, it’s something else. At the same time, I think I could “exploit” the brand

  • carsonreeves1

    I always waffle on this idea. I don’t like limiting yourself to only one specific buyer since if they don’t like it, you’re fucked.

    Then again, so many writers start their career off of a well-written spec that doesn’t sell, that I guess it makes no difference if you write something original or write for an existing franchise.

    Despite that, my instinct is to avoid that approach.

    • Magga

      Or you could get lucky and someone will just change the names and details. Wasn’t Fifty Shades of Grey originally Twilight fan fiction? It’s not like Friday the 13th is so different from other slashers. You could maybe exploit a brand to get read, and if it’s good it could be made under another label, maybe?

      • Scott Crawford

        A lot of sequels began as originals or adaptations of unrelated works:

        Spec script Moving Target became Dirty Harry sequel THE ENFORCER.

        58 Minutes by Walter Wager became DIE HARD 2.

        Simon Says by Jonathan Hensleigh became DIE HARD 3.

        WW3.com by David Marconi (based on the magazine article “A Farewell to Arms”) became DIE HARD 4

        Hunter, a science fiction/thriller by James Byron Huggins, almost became RAMBO 5.

        A Garden at the End of the World is set to become I AM LEGEND 2.

        At the same time, some sequels became originals.

        French Connection III became NIGHTHAWKS with Sylvester Stallone.

        • Marija ZombiGirl

          Interesting. I wonder how the studios came to the conclusion that those specs would make for good sequels (and also how often it would happen nowadays what with the craze for IP – I’m guessing they wouldn’t run the risk of doing anything but hire a writer for this or that sequel/remake/reboot).

          • Scott Crawford

            A lot of books and scripts (don’t know exact numbers, but more than a few) are bought/optioned with an eye to making them part of a franchise.

            I could also add On Stranger Tides, an original book which became Pirates of the Carribean 4.

  • Magga

    Since we’re on the subject of non-copyrighted material I have another, probably naive, question. I watched a documentary a few weeks ago (won’t say which, for obvious reasons) which just WAS a movie. I could see every scene play out as a great film, and it’s all just recounting of actual events. I’d obviously do more research, but if an entire movie was based on a documentary, do I owe the documentarians something or can I just take it? I’m sure I can find the events recounted in other mediums, but I honestly can’t imagine how adding much to that story would help the narrative. It’s reality, though, so…

    • Scott Crawford

      If you’re using a documentary or a single book as a major reference for your screenplay, you have to buy/option the rights, just like a novel. Same goes for TRANSLATIONS of public domain works – the translations are not always in the public domain.

      Famous true stories – like the Chilean miners – are bought up by Hollywood, life rights and all right away, but if it’s an old story and many of the people are dead (the deader the better) then you’re in the same position as hundreds of other writers who write true story specs every year.

      In my view, though, it’s better to be INSPIRED by true events and write your own, fictionalized version of events. Just my view.

      • Brainiac138

        I believe this is the line drawn for the events that were documented in Man on Wire, and “inspired” The Walk.

    • carsonreeves1

      Speaking of that, I was watching the Back to the Future doc that just came out, and it was mentioned in there that the creator of the real Delorean car was a crazy dude with a crazy life. He wanted to build a whole line of cars but only built that one, and it pretty much bombed. Yet later on, it would become one of the most popular cars in history because of that movie. Sounds like prime real estate for a biopic. Have it, guys!

      • Magga

        Seriously, I watched the same documentary today and was thinking the same thing!
        EDIT: Not the one I was referring to above

      • klmn

        Oh yeah, John Delorean needed cash – building cars costs mucho moolah – so he got into a cocaine deal, and was arrested. IIRC, he was found not guilty after his lawyer claimed entrapment.

      • Scott Crawford

        I checked on Tracking Board… there were FOUR DeLorean biopics in development in 2010, but “only one got the life rights from DeLorean’s last wife, his younger brother, his former assistant and the DeLorean estate itself.”

        “Untitled DeLorean Biopic” had a script by Adam Mazer, Jonathan Mostow (also directing?) and James Toback, with Robert Evans as producer.

        Unfortunately, I don’t have that script, nor any of the other three.

  • ShiroKabocha

    You can certainly work on an existing franchise to hone your skills, especially if you’re passionate about the movies, but better to keep your script in a drawer until you break into the industry and garner more connections. Once you’ve proven yourself, you’ll be able to mention you’ve got a potential script for that franchise, should the studios be interested / need a writer to reboot it. But chances of getting the studios to read your franchise spec script without any prior connections ? I’d reckon zero.

  • Magga

    You could do The Time Machine as an exact adaptation until the guy travels through time, at which point he ends up in our actual present, and see how he’d relate to us

    • Scott Crawford

      • brenkilco

        The writer/director was Nicholas Meyer who first hit pay dirt mixing up historical fact and fiction by bringing Sherlock Holmes and Sigmund Freud together in his novel, later film, The Seven Per Cent Solution. This sort of thing was fairly unusual back in the seventies and the book was a big best seller.

    • Paul Schellens

      I don’t mind that idea. He’d have to come from a really bad time, so that our civilisation would seem like utopia. And bankers are the morlocks.

      The main problem I’ve always had with both film versions (I’ve not read the book) is the third act. They just don’t resonate. It’s like, it’s been great for two acts, now let’s just wind this thing up. If you could just nail the third act – make it unforgettable – now there’s a winner…

  • Magga

    Don’t know if this would help sell a script, but from what I understand the films from the Soviet Union are generally public domain because the communist government that financed the movies no longer exists. I can think of a few directors who might be interested in reading Battleship Potemkin, for example, and you could obviously change the propaganda in it

    • carsonreeves1

      Wow, I never knew that. Now if I only knew any Russian movies besides that Harrison Ford submarine thing. :)

      • Brainiac138

        Hope you are joking there Carson, surely you have seen Man with a Movie Camera?

    • Jonas E.
    • Shawn Davis

      I’m putting a final polish on a script about Chernobyl as we speak. It’s not from a movie or book but from the timeline of the actual event with a huge twist involved.

      Shawn…..><

  • scriptfeels

    The three that interest me personally in the list include Edgar Allan Poe’s work, H.P. Lovecraft’s work, H.G. Wells’ work, Pinocchio, Brothers Grimm, Jules Verne’s work, Robert Louis Stevenson’s work, Greek myths, and Sleepy Hollow. Now how do I pick one to start on haha.

    • HRV

      You’ve exceeded your limit.

      • scriptfeels

        I was researching cthulu and now all i really want is a story similar to batman begins about some outcast warrior trying to stop an ancient cult which ends up summoning cthulu in the third act.

    • AVATAR

      Wells’ Time Traveler teams up with a sassy smack-talkin’ Raven on a mission to thwart Cthuhlu’s evil plans. They hop in the time machine along with a wooden robot boy named Pinnochio, and travel back to a red death plagued Rennaissance where they run into the Brothers Grimm and Hercules. Twist: Cthuhlu is actually Medusa’s angry little brother. The heroes must summon the snake-headed femme fatale if they want to have a snowball’s chance in hell at defeating the big C.

      Title: NEVERMORE

      • brenkilco

        I feel like it needs more.

        • AVATAR

          Gotta save some awesomeness for the sequels, which would be shot back-to-back and the third film divided into two part$.

  • Magga

    Maybe we should add the bible to this list

    • Matthew Bishop

      Amen.

    • Randy Williams

      Yeah. Definitely add to the list. I am working on one.
      JESUS THIEF
      A ragtag group’s heist of the temple money changers is partially foiled when Jesus overturns the tables leaving a temple investigator preassured to bring the suspect, Jesus, to justice despite his own detective work.

      The poster is Jesus in shadow lifting a whip. How uncharacteristic of you, lord.

      • brenkilco

        I once had an idea, never committed to paper, for a black comedy I was going to call The Advance Men. The main characters would be a pair of grifter desciples whose job it is to run ahead of Jesus’ entourage to the next town and get things ready: cadging free food and lodging; ginning up excitement with a few sleight of hand, curtain raiser miracles; chatting up the local girls; presenting some old guy who’d claim he’d just been raised from the dead etc. Whether it stayed blasphemous or turned sappy I can’t say because I never wrote it. But the last shot would have been the two heading out of one end of town while the crowd surrounding the big guy arrived at the other so that JC was never seen.

        • Randy Williams

          Jesus is never seen in my story as well. I think one can avoid the backlash and play with history a bit more that way, and, as in your idea, even explore it with comedy.

          • AVATAR

            I feel that for brenkilco’s idea, not showing Jesus enhances his concept and theme.

        • AVATAR

          Crazy twist idea:

          These “Advance Men” have technology that seems slightly like ours, but also a bit more fancy and exotic. Don’t explain that they are aliens or time travelers or anything like that. They just have this futuristic technology that allows them to perform some of these miracles. It’s like the ultimate mystery box. Who are these guys? Who gave them this technology? It’d be fascinating to see people (geeks, critics, general audiences) try to explain it. In a way, it’d be like another layering of religious experience grafted onto the film.

  • scriptfeels

    Phantom of the opera and beauty and the beast interest me as well hmm

    • Altius

      Two of my absolute favorites. Phantom is really the tragic version of Beast, one might say.

  • charliesb

    Find a way to add a teen post apocalyptic dystopia to any other above and you’ll have yourself a winner. Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner will all be wrapping up with their next movies. Who’s got next?

    • Scott Crawford

      Harry Potter is a reworking of Tom Brown’s Schooldays (PD), according to Stephen Fry…

      It’s not PD, but it’s old… The Tripods would make a great YA triple bill.

      http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1326400815l/101942.jpg

      TV show scared the crap out of me when I was a kid!

      • brenkilco

        Interesting comment by Fry. Speaking of fact/fiction mashups novelist George Macdonad Fraser took the cowardly bully villain of Tom Brown’s Schooldays and made him the antihero of a number of good comic historical novels in the sixties and seventies. The sort of thing where the craven Flashman manages to survive the Battle of Little Big Horn. Only one of them made it to the screen Royal Flash. But Macdonald’s sensibility is evident in the scripts he wrote for those Three Musketeer films in the seventies.

        • witwoud

          I haven’t seen Royal Flash but it’s said to be a bit of a dud, which isn’t surprising. Flashman belongs on the page, where his voice can charm us and make us like him, despite ourselves. On the big screen there’s nothing to like. Fraser realised this when he saw Royal Flash, and refused to allow any more adaptations of the Flashman books.

          • brenkilco

            More or less The Prisoner of Zenda in the style of Lester’s Musketeer films. And as much of a rehash as that sounds. Oliver Reed has fun as Bismark. Macdowell is an ultra weasley Flashman. Don’t think it created any demand for a sequel.

    • carsonreeves1

      Good call!

    • wlubake

      Hunger Games meets Robin Hood? Steal from the Capitol and give to District 12.

    • Midnight Luck

      agree.

    • wlubake
  • Scott Crawford

    I always like the short story The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nine_Billion_Names_of_God

    While technically not public domain, if you take a short story (a VERY short story) like The Nine Billion Names of God and EXPAND it into a feature, your only problem might be that you won’t get the rights to turn it into a film. Luxury problem, at least you’d have a good sample script and you could impress producers with your imagination.

    • Howie428

      I love that short story. It blew my mind when I first read it. Of course now it would have to be The Nine Billion Gazillion Names of God, because the computing task described in it seems quaint!

    • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

      You know though, I’ve previously trafficked in IP I didn’t own, and it’s a supreme bummer when you get dismissed out of hand for that reason. I spent just as much time on it as I do my original work, but yeah, it’s like a dirty little secret.

  • Scott Crawford

    OT: I won’t read the reviews… yet! But it does look promising. Five stars from The Guardian… they only gave Legend two stars.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-34600980

    • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

      Of course, it IS the Guardian. Pretty sure it’s in the Magna Carta that all British People are required to show love for Bond.

      • Scott Crawford

        There haven’t been reviews of a Bond film like this since Casino Royale, if not since the 1960s. No, I tell you, they had their knives out for this one and instead they tucked in and ate it all up.

        I’ll tell you next week if they were right.

  • Howie428

    I’ve written a feature adaptation of one of these, and it’s seasonally appropriate…

    A Halloween Carol
    A timid ghost who’s visited by three humans must learn to understand fear in time to save Halloween.

    • Justin DiSandro

      I scoffed at this at first…then thought about it as an animation. Could strike a chord with the “Nightmare Before Christmas” crowd

      • Howie428

        My version has been written as a live action PG-13, but I’ve considered what it would mean for it to be an animated PG. As far as I can see it means relatively little changes, especially since it’s already quite imaginative and expansive. A few rude words and lewd jokes would get adjusted, but animated violence and action is more aggressive than its live action equivalent, so much of that stuff could stay the same in the script.

    • Mr. Blonde

      God, I remember when you first brought that bad boy out. Good memories.

      • Howie428

        Yeah, I recall that this script is old enough that an early draft of it was included in Carson’s newsletter back before he did AOW. That was a week when none of the five scripts was ever mentioned again, so I don’t know how it played with the crowd. It opens with a naff horror movie red-herring, which is a terrible way to pitch something to people who might only read a few pages!

        • Mr. Blonde

          Actually, I meant when it was just a logline back at MP. The old days. Lol.

  • hackofalltrade

    IN THE HOOD

    When Robin Hood unexpectedly inherits a vast fortune, his Merry Men begin stealing from him–and if he doesn’t put a stop to it, he’s going to get some serious questions from his auditor.

  • ripleyy

    I once had a story that was Moby Dick in space, told from the perspective of the “whale” and was a revenge story but it ran out of steam.

    But the public domain (and this article!) is really good. Running out of ideas? The public domain is where you need to go.

  • Francis B.

    How about a modern, action-packed adaptation of Arsène Lupin, gentleman thief? This is something French producer Luc Besson could be interested in.

    • Scott Crawford

      Anthony Horowitz wrote a Arsène Lupin script for a studio, but I’m no sure if anything came of it. Still, maybe he did a botched job of it and someone else could do better.

    • brenkilco

      Or Raffles or Bulldog Drummond or Philo Vance. Heck, if east west tensions get any worse Fu Manchu might be in for a comeback

      • Scott Crawford

        Fu Manchu played by a Chinese actor and Inspector whatsit accompanied by a Chinese character, I think that could work. I enjoyed Christopher Lee as Fu Manchu (a German co-production).

        • Levres de Sang

          The German producer (whose name eludes me) worked with Jess Franco quite a bit and apparently dragged him on board for the final two Fu Manchu flicks… I’ve heard they’re terrible!

  • Poe_Serling

    “Write a Western about Frankenstein.”

    Some far-thinking filmmakers ran with this idea over 50 years ago. They even anticipated the whole zombie craze.

    JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER

    “While escaping from a posse, Jesse James and Hank Tracy, hide out in an ancient mission ruin inhabited by the grandchildren of the infamous Dr. Frankenstein. After sending Jesse away to secure medicine, Frankenstein’s granddaughter Maria performs a brain transplant on Hank and transforms him into a zombie-like monster.”

    And if you’re thinking why not a Dracula tale in the Old West? Well, the same team of filmmakers also gave us:

    BILLY THE KID VS. DRACULA

    “Arriving by stagecoach at Wickenburg, Count Dracula poses as the uncle of Betty Bentley, who owns the Bar-B ranch. Almost immediately he arouses the suspicions of the ranch foreman, the reformed outlaw Billy the Kid. As Billy sets out to prove the “uncle” an imposter, he is unaware that Dracula already has Betty inhis power.”

    Now that’s a scary double-bill for Caivu’s Horror Marathon!! ;-)

    • klmn

      Frankenstein has been done to death by B movie makers. (Going to check IMDB right now).

      (Okay, I’m back).

      http://www.imdb.com/find?ref_=nv_sr_fn&q=frankenstein&s=tt

      IMDB displays 200 results. I think they just cut it off there.

      • Poe_Serling

        Hey, Frankie is No. 4 on Carson’s list!! You would never get that high of ranking if you’re a slacker.

        • klmn

          That kinda reminds me of the old serial, Zorro’s Fighting Legion.

        • brenkilco

          I want a remake of that crazy old Gene Autry serial where he has a music studio on his ranch and between musical numbers he has to battle these guys on horseback with viking helmets because his ranch sits on top of a an ancient, lost, subterranean city presided over by a crazy queen who sort of has a thing for the singing cowboy. I am not making this up.

          • Poe_Serling

            The Phantom Empire

            ‘A singing cowboy stumbles upon an ancient subterranean civilization living beneath his own ranch that becomes corrupted by unscrupulous greedy speculators from the surface.’

          • brenkilco

            That’s the one.

  • Brainiac138

    Carson, this is a great article and something that a lot of younger writers seem to turn their noses up at when they are seeking material to write about.

    I would reiterate to do research about public domain materials from HP Lovecraft. I worked for a company a few years ago that wanted to pick up a script that was a spin on Lovecraft, and while I am not versed in the legal stuff very well at all, it seemed that a popular monster in the story was public domain, but the story itself was not, and the characters other than the monster were not pd. In the end they ended up not buying it, but kept the writer around to work out a script with the public domain monster at the center of the script.

  • Caivu

    The Epic of Gilgamesh! Can’t get much more public domain than that.

  • Lisa Chapman

    I’ve got a trailer park/flea market version of Shakespeare’s As You Like It that I should dust off and polish, maybe?

    • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

      If you’re serious, yes, that instantly appeals to me.

      • Lisa Chapman

        Totally serious. Thanks!

  • Matthew Bishop

    Carson, you mentioned Jacob Marley in a recent post and now Charles Dickens in this one… I’m starting to think maybe you’ve read my Scriptshadow 250 selection GHOSTS OF DICKENS recently! :)

  • klmn

    Many of these works have been exploited numerous times by B movie (and other) filmmakers. Before you start work on one of these, check IMDB to see what’s been done before.

    • Levres de Sang

      Haven’t actually seen it, but one of my fave TITLES is Jess Franco’s two for the price of one… Dracula: Prisoner of Frankenstein.

  • Scott Crawford

    Idiots. They should have let you option it for a small amount. I remember Stephen Coonts let a young screenwriter do an adaptation of his book Final Flight for FREE in case in attracted the interest of Hollywood. It didn’t, but for a while the script was posted online.

    http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388258778l/1133452.jpg

  • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

    Partially OT, but Snow White and the Huntsman is absolute sheeot. It’s dull, ponderous, colorless and morose. Literally nothing to do with Snow White but the basic premise and the name — it’s an absolute soul-suck, equally as atrocious as Burton’s Alice.

    BUT! As Carson is rightfully pointing out, everyone is an idiot, so they’ll gladly line up for movies bearing familiar names (though probably a good idea to use the whole name, Pan). If the movie manages to be slightly good on top of it, you’re gold.

    • Scott Crawford

      It’s not just whether the movie sucks or not… that script launched that writer’s career, and made him a lot of money. A LOT of money. So I think there’s SOMETHING in this PD re-imagining thing.

      • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

        No, I totally agree. Frankly, you could write anything and then attach one of those buzzwords up there to your title and it would help.

        Here’s my screenplay about convenience store worker who becomes a space ace, it’s called Frankenstein Blast-off. SOLD, lol.

        • witwoud

          Yeah, total crap, wasn’t it? And I can’t help wondering if the public hasn’t finally got sick of this ‘dark, edgy take on kid’s story’ … which is why they stayed away from Pan.

          • Scott Crawford

            Sequel next year…

      • BigDeskPictures

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but when Evan Daugherty wrote Snow White he sent it around town and no one wanted it. He was distraught. Moved back into his parent’s basement. Wrote a low budget, two character story called Shrapnel (aka Killing Season). It won Script Pipeline. Sold. Then the powers that be asked Evan what else he had, which is when he pulled out Snow White, again. This time Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was killing it at the box office ($1 billion), so Snow White was snatched up. $1.2mil? I think it was $3.2mil, no?

        • Midnight Luck

          That is a much better story. Hope it is true. I remember reading something vaguely similar to what you are saying,

          and yeah, i would’ve sworn it was an over $3 million sale price.

    • Midnight Luck

      Like I said yesterday. Snow White and the Hunstman was absolute tripe.
      But I do have to give it to him for coming up with a unique spin on the tale, and then selling it for one of the top amounts of any spec script.
      While that is impressive, I just wish the story/script/film would’ve been as impressive.

  • Jarrean

    Could pitch as an expanded Casper the Friendly Ghost. @howie428

    • Howie428

      When I was writing it I was careful to avoid it getting too Casper-like. The story probably wouldn’t work that way because it hinges on the ghost learning to be scary, and Casper never really crosses that line.

  • Jarrean

    Was Leatherface written on spec or was the writer commissioned? The script that ended up on the Bloodlist.

  • Shawn Davis

    Dracula – The musical

    Large production with chorus songs like—

    I feel my life slipping away

    Oh oh oh Transylvania nights

    Oh wella wella wella…

    Tell us more, tell us more

    Like how long was his fang

    Tell us more, tell us more

    Did she completely drain

    Her vein, her vein, heeeer vein…

    You know tap into the Grease crowd.

    Shawn…..><

    • Randy Williams

      I’m afraid that might get “B-negative” reviews.

      • Shawn Davis

        Now that’s funny.

        Classic!!!!

        Shawn……><

    • brenkilco

      Dracula was a musical. Ran on Broadway about a decade ago. There was also a Broadway musical Frankenstein, I think by the same team. Carrie is of course one of the most notorious musical bombs in Broadway history.

      • Scott Crawford

        This is an interesting list, but I’d add The Capeman by Paul Simon and Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark:

        http://www.newyork.com/articles/broadway/broadways-biggest-bombs-37924/

        • brenkilco

          Wow I’d never heard of Moose Murders. The Broadway flop against which all others are measured. Now I feel like I must seek it out. Did check out a couple of reviews. My favorite. “We have declined to identify the cast members pending notification of next of kin.” Woof.

  • AVATAR

    I’d add King Arthur to that list.

  • Midnight Luck

    completely OT: I saw STEVE JOBS last Friday. Anyone else see it?

    I am still thinking about it, and am not sure how I feel about it.

    I actually disliked how every single time people were talking they were walking and talking. I know that was one of Carson’s pluses, for how to keep dialogue interesting, but for me it distracted from it. At one point it just felt like a crutch.

    Also, having the whole movie set around a few big talks he was giving also felt rather disjointed and was distracting.

    It didn’t lend it a feeling of personal-ness. It kept you 20 feet away from getting to know him. Though that may have been purposeful, since everything about the story kept harping on Jobs keeping his distance from everyone, including his daughter.

    All in all, you could hear the skill in the writing and dialogue, could see the skill in the filming, could sense the skill all around.
    But it still left the viewer feeling rather set off from everyone and the story.

    In actuality, I feel closer to the characters in HALT AND CATCH FIRE than I did to anyone in STEVE JOBS, aside from maybe KATE WINSLET’s character. I believe that is because she is just a phenomenal actor all the way around. You really feel for her, she has a presence.

    Anyhow, just thought the film had a lot going for it, while having a ton going against it, all at once. Ended up putting the viewer in a Strange place while watching it.

    • Magga

      Did you ever get around to HACF season 2?

      • Midnight Luck

        I am on the final episode, so far love it – love it.
        I binge watched it over the last 2 days, and should be done tonite.

        It is a really great show, I sure hope they go another season with it. It barely got greenlit for season 2, and still seems to be flying pretty low on everyone’s radar. Maybe enough people tried it Season 2 to get a Season 3 greenlight.

        • Magga

          I didn’t like season 1 so much, but number 2 was a huge improvement. Hope to see more

          • Midnight Luck

            I think we may have talked about this before, the beginning 1/2 of season 1 was a bit rough, it took them a while to find their rhythm, and stop doing really odd things, but the second half just took off and got so incredibly good and by the end I found it to be amazing. I was so impressed and excited I couldn’t wait to see what they did with Season 2. And I have to say I am so impressed by Season 2. They did not disappoint.

          • AVATAR

            Add me to this little H&CF fan club.

            Hopefully we get a third season. We’re just now moving from the Silicon Prarie to Silicon Valley. Come on AMC, don’t leave us hanging.

    • klmn

      Steve Jobs, Zombie Boss – he’ll insult you, then he’ll eat your brain.

    • klmn

      I could go see Steve Jobs, but I’d have to bring a shovel.

      • Midnight Luck

        a little harsh, a little funny.
        not sure how i feel about it.
        I am a bit off kilter.

    • Paul Clarke

      OTT – haven’t seen Jobs, but I think the constant walking would also grow tiresome. There are plenty of simple daily actions that can be added to a talky scene to help convey emotion.

      But my all time favourite movement added scene is the barge scene from JAWS. Brody gets on the barge, so does the mayor and his men. The camera is literally bolted down. It never moves, but the entire platform becomes a movie theatre stage. The characters block and reblock, the background constantly moving because the barge is moving. As tensions and conflict rises the characters get closer and closer to the camera. But it never moves or zooms or cuts. Just a brilliant cinematic way to shoot a dialogue scene.

      • Midnight Luck

        I have read many things about having long monologues and how people approach them.
        Of course there is always the SAVE THE CAT ideas like A POPE IN THE POOL.
        But what I always think of is a simple thing, one that I like so much, and I am unsure even why it is one of my favorite things.
        It is in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS when Melanie Laurent is up on a high ladder talking to a German Soldier, who is slowly questioning her, and the questions get more and more accusatory. She of course is perched above him, which shows power over him, yet she is on a feeble ladder which could be knocked over very simply and she could be gravely injured.
        All the while she is just changing the marquee letters on the movie theater signage.
        It is so simple, yet as a viewer it keeps you slightly on edge, and off kilter. It doesn’t allow you to sit and analyze things to death.

        I always think of that when the topic of exposition comes up. I try not to have any exposition at all, but sometimes, if you have exposition, the slightest thing can change it all, can deflect the focus from the words coming out of mouths, and can instill in the viewer something else the writer wants. Even if it is just to keep them off kilter.

  • Magga

    The more I think about it, the more it feels like the concept of public domain could make for a great story. Not only can you steal like a raven from all kinds of things (“more is more”, as James Cameron said) but there’s an interesting thematic question there about who own what and why, and what should belong to all of us. Maybe the lead character can be someone who tries to copyright something he didn’t create, like Disney did with the Happy Birthday-song, and gets fought by everything the public domain has to offer. In the end he decides he can’t take these cultural touchstones away from people

  • SandbaggerOne

    Carson and a couple of other commenters have mentioned doing your research about if a specific character or story is actually in the public domain (public domain laws can be messy), but beyond that it is are also two other major things to make sure of.

    First, public domain is different in different countries. Something that may be public domain in the USA might not be in the UK, Canada, China or other parts of the world, and vis versa. If you are a UK writer adapting a public domain (in the UK) story, selling it in the USA might be problematic. Also, most studios, big or small, probably won’t take on a script/project that will be limited in its international release because the story is not yet public domain in some territories. This is most relevant to more “recent” books like H.P. Lovecraft, The Great Gatsby, Sherlock Holmes, etc… But also since some countries allow copyright to extend longer on IP that is owned my companies and still being used in some manner, even IP that is very old could still be not in the public domain. Just like how Disney will never let Mickey Mouse go into public domain even though it should have quiet awhile ago.

    The second thing to remember is that even if a character or story is in public domain that does not mean what we (the general public) imagine the character as being isn’t still copyrighted. A lot of these properties have been adapted so many times that certain aspects of them that are widely accepted as being “cannon” but in fact are still owned by the creators of that particular aspect.

    For example: Picture Frankenstein in your head. How does he look and act? Green skin, bolts on his neck, scar on his forehead, walking with his arms outstretched? All of those things about Frankenstein are actually copyrighted by Universal. The original novel (which is in the public domain) does not include any of that. All of those features of the character originated in the Universal films and as such can’t be used by anyone making a new frankenstein project.

    This has been part of the issues surrounding Sherlock Holmes as well. Many of the distinctive features we associate with him aren’t actually in the original stories, but rather were added later on in film, radio and tv adaptaions. And those features are still copyrighted.

    it can get very complicated and hard to shift through since so much of what we think of some of these public domain characters is built upon years and years of different adaptions, but only the original source is public domain, not any original material from any of the adaptations that have come out over the last 75 years.

    So definitely do your homework and if you do try to adapt any public domain material go straight and only by what is in the original IP. Try and forget everything else you have ever read or seen involving those characters and situations, as there is a good chance most of that is still owned by someone.

  • witwoud

    You could always churn out another Jane Austen adaptation/sequel/spoof — seems to be an endless market for those.

    • brenkilco

      Coming soon Northanger Abbatoir.

      • witwoud

        Oooh, I like it. Imagine the trailer…

        VOICE OVER
        What if Catherine Morland was right all along?

        INT. BEDROOM — NIGHT
        CATHERINE fearfully reads a gothic novel by the light of a flickering candle

        VOICE OVER
        What if Northanger Abbey DOES contain a dark secret?

        EXT. NORTHANGER ABBEY — DUSK
        A carriage rolls towards the abbey through an avenue of dark trees. We catch a glimpse of Catherine through its window, her face pale and scared.

        VOICE OVER
        A secret so dark that everyone who learns of it…

        INT. NORTHANGER ABBEY — NIGHT
        Catherine is peeking through the keyhole of a bedroom door, trying to see inside.

        VOICE OVER
        … Will be cut off from all decent society — forever!

        INT. NORTHANGER ABBEY — NIGHT
        At the far end of a corridor stands GENERAL TILNEY, a dagger in his hand, his face a mask of hatred.

        VOICE OVER
        Northanger Abbey. Where running for your life is not just unladylike, but fruitless to boot.

        A scream rends the night. The screen fills with blood. Fade to title: NORTHANGER ABBATOIR!

  • Malibo Jackk

    If you’re going to update any of the classics
    — you’re going to have to add zombies.

    • Midnight Luck

      Ahab’s search for the great white zombie (Moby Dick vs. Zombies)
      Zombies Journey to the Center of the Earth
      Tarzan in the Zombie jungle
      Undead Cage fight: Vampires vs. Zombies
      Robin Hood and the forest of zombies

      could go on.

      • klmn

        Mr. Smith goes to Zombietown.

      • brenkilco

        Aboard a nineteenth century slave ship bound for America an imprisoned Voodoo priestess casts a spell that resurrects the great white whale and pits it against the evil crew. Zoby Dick.

  • Mallet

    Very ON Topic:

    ABC just bought a pilot script (in a competitive situation, which means lots of $$$ for the writer) that is based on Romeo & Juliet. The twist on this one is that it is apparently about what happens to the warring family AFTER Romeo and Juliet kill themselves. So I guess it is really a sequel. That is an original take on the property that I haven’t heard of before.

    http://deadline.com/2015/10/romeo-juliet-drama-still-star-crossed-shondaland-scandal-heather-mitchell-abc-1201591163/

    • hickeyyy

      That’s a really interesting idea. Wish I had thought of it. I wonder if these “story after the story” public domain options will become all the rage if this is successful.

      • wlubake

        I have a hard time getting excited about a Romeo and Juliet project when the four most interesting characters all died in the original (Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio and Tybalt).

  • Mallet

    The is a book called Shadows over Baker St. that is a collection of short stories by famous authors and all the stories are Sherlock Holmes meets HP Lovecraft monsters stories.

  • AVATAR

    King Arthur, Jesus Christ, and some Egyptian Pharaoh Mummy Dude are brought back to life in the present day, for the most important mission ever… Hunt down and kill Dracula (with gratuitous amounts of super slo-mo Matrix-style sword slashing, gun fu, crumbling skyscrapers, exploding gothic castles, and epic fisticuffs).

    Joan of Arc’s cute but killer descendant Juno of Arc (Emma Watson) is their handler along with the leader of the outfit Merlin (who is now a crazy anarchist hacker whose secretive online mojo makes Keyser Soze look like as quaint as Jimmy Stewart).

    Dracula would of course be building a zombie army created from magic vampire blood. He’d also have a force of vampiric and werewolf spec-ops dudes who wear cool masks and repel down the sides of buildings all sneaky like. Red Riding Hood has gone to the dark side and now works as a bad ass assassin for Dracula.

    “Xkalibur”

  • Caivu

    ***HORROR MOVIE MARATHON 2015 DAY 22:
    CAT PEOPLE (1942)***

    The famous bus scare scene; that’s all I know. Well, that, and it’s apparently good. And the 1982 remake is apparently pretty good, too, but that’s not for this month.
    Review before the witching hour!

    • brenkilco

      It is good. All of Val Lewton’s horror/thriller pics for RKO can be recommended. Though despite being the most famous I would probably rank Cat below I Walked With a Zombie and The Seventh Victim and maybe Body Snatcher and Isle of The Dead too. Bear in mind this is a B movie shot very quickly on a very low budget with a nonstar cast. So expect style but no miracles. The 82 version by the ever pretentious Paul Schrader is frankly a bit of a mess, though nicely designed. It does contain one jump out of your seat moment involving the contents of a tabby’s tummy, a very weird Malcolm Macdowell and of course the now virtually forgotten Nastassja Kinski in her Python loving prime

      • Levres de Sang

        A non-star cast, but containing one of THE most distinctive voices of his generation — that of Tom Conway.

        • brenkilco

          Unfortunately for poor Tom his voice and his talent were ever so slightly less distinctive than those of his brother.

          • Levres de Sang

            Somewhat shamefully, I’m not familiar with most of Sanders’ filmography. (Doesn’t help that I always get him mixed up with George Brent!) Guess I’ve always been an admirer of Tom, though, because of his involvement in the Lewton pics.

          • brenkilco

            At his nasty, caddish best in All About Eve and Rebecca. He was also the original Mr. Freeze on the old Batman show. For a time in the forties he played an amateur sleuth The Falcon in a series of B pictures. He wanted to quit the successful series so in an installment titled The Falcon’s Brother they killed him off and replaced him with, you guessed it, Tom Conway.

          • Levres de Sang

            Those Falcon pics always seem to be on TV at times like 6:00 am, but I must try and catch them sometime… No idea why I can’t remember him in Rebecca!? (I imagine he was the doctor?)

          • brenkilco

            He was Favell, the cousin with whom Rebecca was uncomfortably familiar, and not above a spot of blackmail.

    • Levres de Sang

      The ‘sort-of’ sequel, Curse of the Cat People, is a beautiful poetic film about childhood with some Victorian-gothic elements for good measure. In short, a masterpiece!

      • JakeBarnes12

        Yes, it’s a strange, beautiful film.

    • Midnight Luck

      Cat People (’82) was a great movie right up there with AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. A creepy, kind of psycho fest.
      It has been a while since I saw them.
      I might have to go back and refresh my memory.

  • andyjaxfl

    Studios can’t seem to get enough of Robin Hood and his merry men.

    • Midnight Luck

      yet it seems impossible for them to do a good rendition of it. At least of a standard version. How many bad versions have they presented in the more recent past?

      Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves 1991 (Costner)
      Robin Hood 2010 (Crowe)
      Robin Hood: Men in Tights 1993 (Elwes)
      Robin Hood 2006 (never heard of this one)
      Robin Hood 1973

      Were any of these any good? I have a sneaky suspicion, the best of them was the farce Men in Tights, but I never saw it. I skipped the 2010 Crowe one, looked boring, never heard of the ’06 one, saw at some point the Prince of Thieves one and boy was it poor and dull.

      So, even if they are in love with Hood, why can’t they do it right? It is to me, an absolute goldmine of a story. Especially with all the talk of the 1% and the imbalance of money and income. It sounds like a perfect time to do a unique, modified version of a Robin Hood story.

      • andyjaxfl

        I think Robin Hood 2006 was a British TV show. I never saw it, but I don’t recall hearing too many positive things about it.

        The funny thing about Robin Hood is that studios failed to learn their lesson after the Russell Crowe/Ridley Scott team up tanked on a $200 million budget. Now they are making a shared universe filled with Robin Hood characters. That’s almost as terrible as the Spiderman shared universe where Aunt May got her own standalone movie.

        Agreed that Robin Hood is hard to screw up but they repeatedly do so. Same with King Arthur. Has that ever been done right? Will next year’s version be any good? I’m not holding my breath…

        • ChadStuart

          EXCALIBUR was pretty great, but that was nigh 35 years ago now.

          • Midnight Luck

            35 years ago?
            No one is that old.
            Humans don’t live that long.
            Doesn’t the average human only live 34 years?

          • AVATAR

            Guinevere was cute in that flick.

            Morgana (Helen Mirren) was evil yet enchanting.

            Arthur reminded me a bit of Luke Skywalker, but we got to see him grow old.

            Liam Neeson was young. Merlin was great, and had a cool chrome dome.

            Patrick Stewart was a bit over the top, and I loved it.

            Uther (Gabriel Byrne) had a sex scene with the director’s daughter whilst wearing a suit of armor.

          • brenkilco

            The guy who played Arthur just died a few months ago

        • Midnight Luck

          That is what I am saying.

          It is absolutely shocking to me that they can f- up Robin Hood.

          I swear the story is so pertinent, and it doesn’t matter if you live in the 1500’s or the 2,000’s.

          There is always inequality. Always abuse. Always Uber Rich and pitiful poverty.

          I think the problem is SPECIFICALLY that they try to stay to close to the original time frame (13th century).

          For some reason staying with an old-time themed story cuts out 1/2-3/4 of the audience right there. (to me it makes it boring, or out of touch, or Period-piecey, which can be a death knell)

          i swear if they updated it to modern times, or even future, or the ’70’s, or just about any time at all, EXCEPT the Yorkshire 13th century original version time, it might actually succeed.

          Seriously, the updated version of Romeo & Juliet with DiCaprio was so much fun.
          All the big Hollywood versions haven’t been FUN in the same way. And they definitely weren’t inventive.

          I guess the only answer is for an Amateur to come up with a very unique spin on it, AND update it, without making it slapstick comedy, and then it could be grand.

          • ShiroKabocha

            Robin Hood in space. Boom !

            “There is always inequality. Always abuse. Always Uber Rich and pitiful poverty.”

            The Disney version was actually quite good in that respect. When the sheriff goes to collect / squeeze every last bit of money out of the poor, it was properly enraging and heart-wrenching. Despite the musical numbers and the goofiness, the movie was quite dark in places, and the imagery matched the themes (the gaol, the gallows, the vultures). It’s still one of my favourite Disney movies.

          • Magga

            For Robin Hood, there’s no time like the present. Income inequality has never been bigger in the States, and the myth is kind of perfect for the times.
            Maybe give him a cape and some special powers so millennials can comprehend

        • AVATAR

          Seth Rogen as Friar Tuck. It can a comedy spin-off featuring the drunken antics of the Friar and his pals.

          • andyjaxfl

            I would watch that.

        • ShiroKabocha

          But Robin Hood 2006 had Richard Armitage :)

          • andyjaxfl

            Nice! I wasn’t aware. He’s one of those actors that Hollywood doesn’t really know what to do with, sort of like Josh Holloway.

      • klmn
        • Marija ZombiGirl

          One of my favorite childhood movies along with THE CRIMSON PIRATE and KWAIDAN :)

      • scriptfeels

        dissing men in tights. ashamed!

      • AVATAR

        I’ve actually been working on a near future set Robin Hood type of tale. It’s pretty loose in terms of adhering to the typical Robin Hood legend.

        PALADIN

        Logline: After returning home to his economically devastated hometown, a combat mechanic in the Army’s high-tech mecha-ops battalion teams up with a cranky elder veteran to take down a local drug cartel pedaling an addictive psychedelic smart drug.

        The kicker being that they fix up a scrapped infantry robot to use in their battle against the cartel. A kind of modern twist on the knight in shining armor.

        I’m aiming to make this as low-to-no-budget indie flick. So I’m not as worried about the logline being a wee bit of a mouthful.

        Elevator Pitch: A modern sci-fi twist on Robin Hood, with a dash of RoboCop, a spoonful of Walking Tall, and a pinch of Altered States.

        At best probably destined to be a weird little cult classic, but I really dig it and want to make it for the adventure of it all.

      • klmn

        Of course we’ve got our own Robin Hood: Bernie Sanders.

        But can he defeat the Wicked Witch?

      • ShiroKabocha

        The beauty of Robin Hood is you don’t even have to follow the original story. You can just take the concept, the idea of Robin Hood, which everyone has heard of and understands : “a band of outlaws steal from the rich to give back to the poor”. With that, you can just create your own set of characters with whatever background and personality you choose. You can choose whatever setting, whatever conflicts (say Robin Hood falls for the filthy rich woman he’s trying to steal from… or they’ve robbed the mafia, or you can go comedy and have the poor be ungrateful demanding people expecting Robin and co to steal more and more, thus making them rich… or maybe Robin Hood and friends are coerced into becoming outlaws and stealing… the possibilities are endless :))

  • Greg

    That pic of Snow White looks like Lady Gaga

  • bex01

    Ok seems appropriate to drop in the logline of the script I’m currently working on… Have at it! Would love any feedback. Hope to get the script into AOW later in the year when it’s ready!

    Cinders
    In a gothic fairytale land, a slave girl escapes her captor and seeks revenge on the prince who murdered her family, aided by the world’s last living fairy. A retelling of Cinderella.

  • BigDeskPictures

    EINSTEIN: RESURRECTION

    Genre: Gothic Horror/Sci-Fi

    Tagline: Germany’s other secret weapon.

    Logline: At the height of World War II, a Jewish scientist reluctantly performs godlike experiments for a sadistic Nazi until he discovers the truth that is the Holocaust.

    Note: Loosely based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with Nazis, Zombies, and Albert Einstein’s younger, yet equally brilliant, brother Frank.

    https://www.frankeinstein.com

  • AVATAR

    DAWN OF EDEN

    Genre: sci-fi/fantasy/adventure

    Longline: After eating the apple from the tree of knowledge, Eve discovers that she and Adam are sims in a giant MMORPG and must find a way to escape the gameworld to true reality.

    Unique angle: Adam and Eve hop into different gameworlds based on the various myths and religions of humanity. One world would be centered on the Greek pantheon. Another the Hindu pantheon. Another King Arthur and Camelot. Another could be based on ancient Mayans, Aztecs, or Native American mythos. Plenty of sequel opportunity.

    • brenkilco

      Hope this game was intelligently designed.

  • Erica

    Missed all the fun today so I thought I would throw this one in quickly.

    Title: Robin
    Princess amongst thieves.

    Logline:
    In a post apocalyptic world one girl and her small band of marauders confront corruption in a local village from the self appointed sheriff as they lead and an uprising before a Zombie horde swarms the town.

  • Ambrose*

    Jerry Lewis starred in ‘Cinderfella’ in 1960 and there’s currently a ‘Cinderfella’ project in development.

    There was a ‘Robinson Crusoe On Mars’ and a ‘Swiss Family Robinson’.

    Stanley Kubrick developed a short story into the movie that became ‘A.I’, which Steven Spielberg eventually directed, and according to one source:
    Kubrick handed writer Ian Watson The Adventures of Pinocchio for inspiration, calling A.I. “a picaresque robot version of Pinocchio”.

  • jonsanhueza

    OT(sorta): I’m adapting a short film I made into a feature and wanted to run the log line by you guys. Any thoughts or suggestions would be very welcome!
    Title: Our Parents Lied
    Logline: In search of a cure for the zombie epidemic, a brother and sister drive cross-country with their undead mother in the trunk, forced to feed her along the way.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Like the concept.
      Hate the title.
      The two should compliment each other — but I don’t see the connection.
      Am assuming the genre is comedy?

      Is your short film on the internet?

      • jonsanhueza

        No, the full film isn’t online but here’s the trailer:

    • Scott Chamberlain

      zombie “epidemic”? Or apocalypse? Are they just pests?
      cure for epidemic – are they seeking to cure the epidemic or their mother? search of a cure is, I think too vague. Give them a specific goal. Like to reach the facility where there is the cure etc.
      undead mother – I assume she’s a zombie. So call her that.
      PROTAG: Brother? daughter? Both?
      FLAW: Are these estranged siblings? Is she their step-mum? Are they Lannisters?
      GOAL: I’d make it reach a specific destination/person where there is a cure (of course it’s not there…)
      STAKES: Life and Death
      IRONY: ?
      How about…
      After the zombie apocalypse, an X sister and her Y brother must drive their infected Mum from Los Angels to the Artic Tundra to administer an ancient Eskimo cure, but Mum can only survive the journey on a diet of human flesh…

    • Greg

      I know youre adapting your own work and all – but what if there was a small zombie outbreak but it was containedand stopped and never spread, and their mom was one of the scientists involved, and the kids rescue her zombie before the guards kill her, and are taking her to another lab like maybe her ex husbands (their fathers) lab that was working on a similar project, and in transporting her simultaneously accidentally start a real outbreak.

      • jonsanhueza

        Interesting idea but I think I’d be wondering what’s the point of travelling from one lab to another, unless the lab was totally destroyed/blown up… In which case I think the mom would be sol.

    • jonsanhueza

      How about–
      Two abused teen siblings drive cross-country to a “safe zone” and a cure during the zombie apocalypse. Their trip gets complicated when they are forced to feed passersby to their undead mother locked in the trunk.

  • Citizen M

    THREE LITTLE GIRLS
    Genre: Fem-centric action
    Logline: Little Miss Muffet, Little Bo-Peep, and Little Red Riding Hood join forces to take down the big bad wolf.

  • bruckey

    Jane got a Gun Trailer

    Trailer shows that the final script is different from the Duffield first draft which was floating around on the internet.

    Of course the story behind the film is as exciting as the movie itself !
    http://www.vulture.com/2014/04/portmans-jane-got-a-gun-continues-to-be-doomed.html

  • walker

    Jesus Christ I hope there is some sort of post today. That creepy ass picture is freaking me out.

  • Dan B

    Bummed to hear that there’s already some Moby Dick in space projects out there. One of the concepts I was thinking of working on was a Moby Dick meets Aliens script.

    It would have revolved around an old starship captain turned scrapper, recruiting his old pals to collect valuable materials left behind at an abandoned space colony… only later does everyone realize the captain’s true intention was to bring a small army to fight a creature that killed his family.

    • Bacon Statham

      I like that. It’s something I’d definitely watch. I don’t think you should ever be put off writing something because there’s already another similar project out there.

      I’m toying with the idea of writing a Treasure Island meets Firefly script. I just need to do something to differentiate it from Treasure Planet (well, it’s not animated so that’s a start).

      ”A naïve bartender joins a crew of space pirates seeking vengeance against the legendary pirate that betrayed them in order to rescue his mother from the madman’s clutches.”

      • Dan B

        I like the idea of a bartender… it’s sort of a “cool everyman” type of profession, which I think makes a likable protagonist.

        Another one I’m toying with is a Bounty Hunter that takes a job finding a woman in South America who is carrying stolen classified data, but when he catches up with her he realizes that the information she has is much more horrifying than he could have expected.

    • AVATAR

      Your idea sounds like my kinda flick.

      It also has a bit of the Beowulf myth to it as well. You could pitch it as a sci-fi/action film in the tradition of both Moby Dick and Beowulf.

      May I ask what the other ‘Moby Dick in space’ concept is? The Leviathan?

      • Dan B

        I read that the director of “we need to talk about Kevin” has a project similar, it was pitched as mobs dick in space.

  • Casper Chris

    What about H.C. Andersen? Is he not big in the US?

    For those who don’t know, he’s the writer of The Little Mermaid (which Disney’s The Little Mermaid is based on), The Snow Queen (which Disney’s Frozen is based on), The Ugly Duckling and many others.

    • Dan B

      Does Disney own all his works though?

      • wlubake

        No. They are public domain. Hence when you go to red box and find the generic version of the most recent disney release.

  • wlubake

    Prince Asshole: Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty all intersect because the same prince has been courting the three of them in their respective stories. Disney princesses meet “The Other Woman”.

  • Lucid Walk

    What about The Three Musketeers?