5 Spec Scripts That Are Better Than The Finished Film

I Am Legend by Mark Protosevich

The finished film: Will Smith is the last man on Earth, using his army skills to battle an onslaught of silent CGI creatures in a tale that’s themed around hope and humankind’s ability to survive against the odds.

The original script : Robert Neville is the last man on Earth, using his wits to survive against an onslaught of articulate Hemocyte creatures in a tale that’s themed around despair and humankind’s ability to destroy itself.

Essentially a metaphor for how war destroys the soul, the spec script meanders away from the source book's plot just as much as Will Smith's version - but stays truer to Richard Matheson's original message.

Who we’d cast if they made it now: A growling Clint Eastwood as Robert Neville, a hissing Johnny Depp as his vampire nemesis Cortman.

Who’d direct it: Only Fincher could handle material this dark.

The scene from the script we’d like to see:

The crowd parts and the WOMEN bring forth something Neville never imagined... HEMOCYTE CHILDREN.  Offspring. Dozens of them.  Two and three years old.  The mothers hold the newborns and toddlers in their arms.  High atop the pole, Neville cannot believe it.  His expression is a mixture of sadness, terror, and guilt. Children!

CORTMAN: Look at them, Neville.  How many of their fathers have you killed?  Their mothers? How many families did you destroy?

Read it here: I Am Legend

Freddy Vs. Jason by Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger

The finished film: Indentikit slasher-flick that brings Freddy and Jason together to fight each other for no apparent reason.

The original script : Postmodern slasher flick featuring characters who have seen and enjoy referencing A Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday The 13th. After our lead is attacked by a Freddy copycat killer, she has nightmares pitting the two icons against each other. 

It’s weird, but it works. The best schlock horror Charlie Kaufman never wrote.

Who we’d cast if they made it now: Kane Hodder as Jason, Robert Englund as Freddy. The teen leads? A group of unknowns who've never seen the inside of a TV or recording studio in their lives.

Who’d direct it: Michel Gondry.

The scene from the script we’d like to see:

TODD is in a police station, attempting to explain Freddy and Jason to a weary police officer.

TODD: This nut-job is copying Freddy Krueger. You know, Nightmare On Elm Street? Bastard son of a thousand maniacs, burned to death by angry parents? Seeks revenge of teenagers?

Read it here: Freddy Versus Jason

Resident Evil by George A Romero

The finished film: Baffling mix of Alice In Wonderland and Michael Jackson’s Thriller video that openly ignores many of the most popular elements of the game on which is was based.

The original script: It’s the game, in film form. Zombies, Hunters, the Tyrant, Plant 42 and – our personal favourite – zombie sharks. They’re all here, described from the vantage point of the man who inspired the bloody thing in the first place.

Seriously, we have no idea why we haven’t seen this yet.

Who we’d cast if they made it now: Angelina Jolie as Jill Valentine, Brad Pitt as Chris Redfield and Robert Downey Jr. as Albert Wesker. Let’s give George the first tent-pole flick of his career.

Who’d we’d get to direct it: Who do you think?

The scene from the script we'd like to see:  

They stand up again, only to find themselves knee-high in a dark pool... with SHARK FINS slicing the surface. Everybody opens fire. The dead fish keep coming.

AIKEN: Where the fuck is a shark's brain?

Read it here: Resident Evil

The Truman Show by Andrew Niccol

The finished film: Prescient, near-perfect media satire that sees our happy hero slowly learning he’s spent his whole life living in a fake town, surrounded by actors, in front of a television audience.

The original script: Prescient and perfect media satire that see our depressed alcoholic hero slowly learning he’s spent his whole life living in Manhattan, surrounded by actors, in front of a television audience.

This Truman doesn’t quite have the ‘50s pep of his fourth draft counterpart. In one scene he ignores a woman being attacked, only to be judged by the actors playing the parts of rapists and victim. In another, he threatens to smash a baby’s head open on a pavement. Dark but delightful.

Who we’d cast if they made it today : Christian Bale has the right mix of charm and menace we’d need to keep the take on Truman likeable.

Who’d direct it: Martin Scorsese – since the tone is a cross Taxi Driver and The King Of Comedy.

The scene from the script we’d like to see: 

The startled infant immediately begins to wail as Truman holds the crying bundle in both hands above his head.

TRUMAN: (to the mother, motioning to the sidewalk) Say my name or I'll smash its head open!

Read it here: The Truman Show

Indiana Jones And The City Of The Gods by Frank Darabont

The finished film: Indiana Jones and his son chase after crystal skulls for no apparent reason.

The original script: Darabont's original script is pretty much the same film, with three key differences – Marion Ravenwood actually has stuff to do, there are no psychic Russians and there’s no Mutt Williams. Weirdly, those subtle changes make even the continued presence of the nuclear fridge bearable. Oh, and it doesn’t open on a match-cut to a mound of dirt. Which improves the flick by approximately 100%.

Who we'd cast if we made it today: Same cast, with a few minor subtractions.

Who'd direct it: Christopher Nolan. Sorry, Steve. Sorry, George. You had your chance.

The scene from the script we'd like to see: The brilliant clock tower scrap, which sees Indy utilise the god of war's sword and a fertility statue, in the same fight.

Read it here: LucasFilm doesn't like people reading Darbont's version, but, umm, a bit like one of Indy's treasures, rummage the depths of the internet for long enough and you'll find it.


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