Warner Bros.

Being a Hollywood screenwriter is a thankless job. After all, you’re the person who’s turning an idea into a film-able script and handing that package over to a team of producers and directors, to turn that idea into a living thing.Except, once it leaves your hands, it’s literally out of your hands. Sometimes, you can be the best at what you do, and someone shits on your ideas and does whatever they want.That’s what’s happened here. This is the real Hollywood dream.


Warner Bros.

Quentin Tarantino & Natural Born Killers (1994)

In the early 90’s, Tarantino sold a screenplay for this film to Oliver Stone, in order to fund his passion project; Reservoir Dogs, which came out in 1992. Two years later, Natural Born Killers was released with Woddy Harrelson and Juliette Lewis in starring roles.Tarantino hated it. It wasn’t the screenplay he’d submitted, it was too violent, it sensationalized the cult of personality of the serial killers, and there wasn’t enough talking.He got the last laugh, when he published his original screenplay as a book and it became a best seller.


Paramount Pictures

Roald Dahl & Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

This beloved film was based on the original novel written by Dahl, and he had a hand in shaping the screenplay. Except, when it came down to the final product, he entirely disowned the film, due to the changes made by Warner Bros.After Dahl had completed his script, another writer had gone in and added in a villain in the form of Slugworth (who was only a minor character in the book), and broke Dahl’s one rule; no one else sings in the film other than the Oompa Loompas. He hated “The Candy Man” song, and thought “Pure Imagination” was too sappy.Which explains why we never got a sequel, and he openly admitted that he never saw the film.


Buena Vista Pictures

Paul Rudnick & Sister Act (1992

Back in the 1980’s, Paul Rudnick was a successful playwright and novelist, and naturally, tried to write a screenplay. He pitched an idea for Sister Act to Touchstone Pictures/Walt Disney Company. He wanted Bette Midler in the title role, and the story reflected that. When she passed on the role and Whoopi Goldberg signed on, the backstory was changed.After months of rewrites (including some by the late Carrie Fisher), Rudnick felt that the final film deviated too far from his original concept. He asked that his name be taken off the project, but Disney refused. He asked to be credited under a pseudonym instead.


Lionsgate Pictures

Kurt Sutter & Punisher: War Zone (2008)

Before Netflix got the rights to make a Punisher series, it was up to Sons of Anarchy’s Kurt Sutter to write a sequel to the first The Punisher with Thomas Jane. He started writing in 2007, and wanted to create an emotionally complex and grounded antihero. Makes sense, right?After Thomas Jane dropped out, the script became a reboot, and the producers wanted to take Frank Castle into a more superhero and comic-book direction. Sutter asked for his name to be taken off the project, which was granted.Apparently, the world wasn’t ready for a gritty Frank Castle, back in 2007, and instead, we got War Zone, which sucked. Thankfully, someone created the Laundry Day short film with Thomas Jane, and it’s just perfect.


Columbia Pictures

Andrew Kevin Walker & 8MM

You might not know the name off the top of your head, but he was the screenwriter behind Se7en, and he was in high demand after that film came out. His next piece of writing was the original script for 8MM. It was grim, dark and would have been even more shocking than Se7en. When he sold it, Sony promised that it wouldn’t be tampered with.Then they hired Joel Schumacher to direct, and he got worried about the film’s commercial potential. He and the studio began rewriting huge portions of it, and rearranging the film. Hence, it became a box office failure.The final result is nothing like what it was supposed to be, and the whole experience was so bad for Walker, he stopped screenwriting altogether, and now works as an uncredited script doctor.


Warner Bros.

The Wachowskis & Assassins (1995)

In the mid-90’s, Lana and Lilly Wachowski sold the screenplays for Assassins & The Matrix to producers for $1 Million a film. It was decided the Richard Donner would direct with Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas in starring roles.While the screenplay was ranked as one of the hottest un-produced screenplays at the time, Donner didn’t like the dark tone and artsy symbolism, so he had a different screenwriter make it more of an action thriller. The Wachowski’s weren’t pleased, as it wasn’t their vision, and the Writers Guild of America refused to let them take their name off the project.This inspired them to just cut out the middleman and start writing and directing their own work.


Senator Entertainment

Bret Easton Ellis & The Informers (2008)

Even though Easton Ellis co-wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of his book, the final film wasn’t what he was looking for. In his version, the film was full of dark humor and sexual tension, but instead became a romantic melodrama.This is one of those rare cases, where the screenwriter generates the script, and is there for pre-production and filming to give input and notes, and it all gets fucked up in editing.It’s not surprising, considering he also hated the adaptation of American Psycho.


Universal Pictures

Kelly Marcel & Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

When Universal Pictures got the rights to turn the E.L. James trilogy into a film franchise, they hired Kelly Marcel to adapt it. While they promised her creative freedom to interpret the book, the author had final approval over the screenplay, director and cast. James hated Marcel’s work and wanted the film to be a literal adaptation of the books.From Mercel’s perspective, she felt the film would have been sexier and more successful if it had less of the cheesy dialogue and thin plot. Instead, we got what we got.


Paramount Pictures

Joe Eszterhas & Jade (1995)

During the 90’s, Eszterhas was the toast of Hollywood for his screenplay that became Basic Instinct. At one time, he commanded a hefty $4 Million for his work. Paramount acquired the screenplay for this film at a discounted rate of $1.5 Million. When William Friedkin signed on to direct, he did an uncredited rewrite and pissed off the original writer.If you recall, this was the flop that caused David Caruso to leave NYPD Blue to start a ‘film career.’


Penthouse Films International

Gore Vidal & Caligula (1979)

Gore Vidal was a very prolific writer and when he was offered the opportunity to write a film about the Roman Emperor Caligula, he jumped at the chance. What he wrote was a scathing political satire, but when the screenplay ended up in the hands of Penthouse Magazine founder Bob Guccione, it changed. Now it was a $17 Million piece of mainstream porn.I mean, if Roman porn is your thing and you want to see a young Helen Mirren get all kinds of naked, sure, this is your film. For Vidal, he wanted no part of it.


Boll KG Productions

Guinevere Turner & Bloodraye (2005)

As a screenwriter, we have Tuner to thank for American Psycho & The Notorious Bettie Page, as well as work on The L Word on Showtime. So she’s done some legit stuff, which makes this make very little sense. She was asked to write the screenplay for one of the worst game adaptations ever, by a very horrible director. If you’ve never seen anything by Uwe Boll, don’t.She wrote the screenplay in a few weeks, and Boll loved it. They started filming and filmed roughly 20% of her script, before the actors and director started to just make shit up with improv. The film ended up being a $25 Million colossal turd, and Turner was left laughing.


Warner Bros.

J.D. Shapiro & Battlefield Earth (2000)

In 1997, John Travolta himself hand-picked Shapiro to adapt the L. Ron Hubbard novel Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000. He wrote a darker version of the novel, omitting the Scientological elements, and he got fired for it.Except, a lot of the stuff he wrote, made it into the film, so he got a writer credit.This film turned out to be the worst film of the decade and a colossal train wreck to end train wrecks. At least Shapiro was a sport about it, he accepted his golden raspberry in person.


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