Nothing in the New York Times' rundown of the development process behind this summer's blockbuster Knight and Day is particularly surprising—but seeing the film's torturous production history all in one place is pretty astounding. Here's just the start:
LOS ANGELES—There’s a reason Hollywood calls it “development hell.” Even when it turns out well.
Such is the lesson of Knight and Day, a big-budget action comedy starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz that’s set to open on June 25, directly opposite Adam Sandler in his own comic romp Grown Ups.
As it happens, Mr. Sandler passed up a chance to star in Knight and Day about five years ago, when the project was known as Wichita.
That was before it morphed into Trouble Man, a quasi-romantic vehicle for Chris Tucker and Eva Mendes, but well after it was dreamed up, by the writer Patrick O’Neill, as All New Enemies, a sophisticated R-rated caper in which an off-kilter older guy who behaves a bit like Peter Falk in The In-Laws was paired with a troubled young one, like, say, Edward Furlong of Terminator 2: Judgment Day....
Knight and Day was made the old-fashioned way: by running an original, “spec” script through Hollywood’s brutal development mill, with its endless rewrites and changing star and filmmaker alignments.
Whether you're one of the many, many people who still enjoy going to the multiplex, or whether you're one of the many, many people who love to loudly complain about how shitty Hollywood movies are, the story's definitely worth a read—the process of getting big films like this one up onscreen is rarely pretty, and shit like this is a lot more frequent than most people think. (And christ, the Times doesn't even go into Knight and Day's inevitable test screenings and post-production tweaks, which I'm guessing would've bumped the article's word count by a few thousand words.)
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!