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Dane DeHaan in Chronicle / YouTube
Dane DeHaan in Chronicle / YouTube

8 Rejected Ideas for Movie Sequels

Dane DeHaan in Chronicle / YouTube
Dane DeHaan in Chronicle / YouTube

Although some movies are popular enough to get a sequel, what you see on the screen is often not the first suggested story idea. We’ve written before about proposed sequels that (thankfully) never happened. Here are eight more rejected ideas for movie sequels.

1. ROGER RABBIT II: THE TOON PLATOON

Written by screenwriter Nat Mauldin, Roger Rabbit II: The Toon Platoon took place in 1941, six years before the events of the first film. After he learns he was adopted, Roger moves to Hollywood from the Midwest with Richie Davenport, his human best friend, to try to find his real parents. Once in L.A., Roger meets Jessica Krupnick, who would later become his wife. Roger and Richie enlist in the U.S. Army when Jessica gets kidnapped by a Nazi spy. Roger and Richie then go to Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II to save Jessica. After the pair saves the day, they all return to Hollywood where they get a hero’s greeting with a parade. Roger is then reunited with his parents and discovers that his real father is Bugs Bunny.

In the 1990s, the title was changed to Who Discovered Roger Rabbit, but executive producer Steven Spielberg had no interest in returning for the sequel. He felt that it would be in poor taste to satirize and lampoon the Nazis after making Schindler's List. Once the development budget ballooned, then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner canceled the sequel entirely and shifted the studio’s attention to CGI animation after the success of Toy Story and A Bug’s Life. Test footage was commissioned in 1998, but the result was an awkward mix of CGI and live action.

"It was never in the cards, we could never get the planets back into alignment," co-producer Don Hahn said of the would-be sequel. "There was something very special about that time when animation was not as much in the forefront as it is now."

2. JURASSIC PARK IV

Before Jurassic World hit theaters last year, Universal Pictures spent much of the 2000s trying to get Jurassic Park IV off the ground. Screenwriter William Monahan was hired to write a script, while John Sayles was hired for rewrites. Jurassic Park IV would’ve featured dinosaurs escaping Site A for the mainland, while a team of deinonychuses was being trained for a rescue mission and genetically modified dinosaur-human hybrids were being used as mercenaries. Sam Neill and Richard Attenborough were set to reprise their roles as Dr. Alan Grant and John Hammond, respectively. Keira Knightley was also reportedly in talks to take a supporting role.

The sequel was in development for years, but the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike delayed the project further, as producers weren’t happy with draft after draft of screenplays from Mark Protosevich and writing team Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver.

"He felt neither of [the drafts] balanced the science and adventure elements effectively,” special effects wizard Stan Winston told IGN.com of producer Steven Spielberg’s thoughts on the original sequel’s development. “It's a tough compromise to reach, as too much science will make the movie too talky, but too much adventure will make it seem hollow."

In 2013, writer/director Colin Trevorrow was brought on to the project with a new and improved version of the Jurassic Park IV screenplay, which was now titled Jurassic World, set for release during the summer of 2015, and went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of all-time.

3. BATMAN UNCHAINED

Sometimes called Batman Triumphant, Batman Unchained would’ve been the fifth movie in the Batman franchise, and was set for release during the summer of 1999. However, after the very disappointing box office and critical response to Batman & Robin, the sequel was scrapped, and the franchise laid dormant until Christopher Nolan rebooted it with Batman Begins in 2005.

Screenwriter Mark Protosevich (yep, same guy from Jurassic Park IV) was hired to write Batman Unchained, which would have followed The Scarecrow terrorizing Gotham with his fear toxin, while The Joker returned to the franchise, as a fear-induced hallucination. Harley Quinn was written as The Joker’s daughter instead of his lover, as she was set to avenge his death. George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, and Alicia Silverstone were all ready to return to their roles as Batman, Robin, and Batgirl, respectively, while Nicolas Cage was considered for The Scarecrow. Madonna and Courtney Love were rumored for the role of Harley Quinn.

“I'm getting a call from Joel [Schumacher], whose main comment was that I had written maybe the most expensive movie ever made. Then I remember I never heard from the executive at Warner Bros. I called many times, never got any kind of response," Protosevich told The Hollywood Reporter. "This got into a period of weeks and then a month, and my agent pestering Warners. And the next thing I knew, they were pulling the plug on the whole project. They were going to wait and see what they were going to do with Batman. The Joel Schumacher-driven Batman train was taken off the rails."  

4. INDIANA JONES AND THE MONKEY KING

In 1984, George Lucas wrote an eight-page treatment titled Indiana Jones and the Monkey King. It would’ve been the third installment in the series before Steven Spielberg and Lucas developed Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The film would have opened in Scotland in 1937, with Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) fighting the ghost of Baron Seamus Seagrove III before heading to Africa to search for the Fountain of Youth, which was later changed to the Garden of Immortal Peaches. Indy’s old friend Scraggy Brier, Dr. Clare Clarke (a Katharine Hepburn-type), and a 200-year old pygmy would join him on an adventure in Africa trying to get away from the Nazis. Indiana Jones dies in the story, only to be resurrected by the Monkey King.

Chris Columbus was brought on to write a script, but after four drafts, Spielberg and Lucas ultimately passed on the story because they felt it would be too difficult to film.

"It was upbeat and full of the same nostalgia that we tapped into in Raiders of the Lost Ark, so in that sense Chris was right on the money,” Spielberg recalled. “But I don't think any of us wanted to go to Africa for four months and try to get Indy to ride a rhinoceros in a multi-vehicular chase, which was one of the sequences Chris had written. Once I got into the script, I began to feel very old, too old to direct it.”

5. BEETLEJUICE GOES HAWAIIAN

In 1990, Warner Bros. wanted Tim Burton to direct a Beetlejuice sequel—and to do so as soon as possible. However, Burton wasn’t interested in making sequels at the time, so he pitched an idea that he figured the studio would reject: Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian saw the Deetz family moving to Hawaii, only to discover the tropical resort they’re developing sits on top of an ancient burial ground of a Hawaiian Kahuna. Once again, they call upon the services of Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) to scare the spirits and ghosts away, while he also gets a suntan, wins a surfing contest, and tries to marry Lydia Deetz (Winona Ryder) again.

Surprisingly, Warner Bros. loved the idea and Keaton and Ryder were interested, too—as long as Burton was directing. But the filmmaker was busy making Batman Returns. According to screenwriter Jonathan Gems, “Tim thought it would be funny to match the surfing backdrop of a beach movie with some sort of German Expressionism, because they’re totally wrong together.”

6. ALIEN 3

In 1986, after the release of Aliens, Twentieth Century Fox was anxious to turn Alien into a franchise, but quickly ran into story problems while developing the third film over the next six years. A number of writers were brought on to write a screenplay that involved the survivors of the Sulaco either going to the Xenomorph’s home planet or the killer aliens coming to Earth. The movie studio even made a trailer that strongly suggested and teased the latter—even though it never happened in Alien 3.

In 1987, one promising action-heavy idea came from cyberpunk author William Gibson, who wrote a version of Alien 3 where Hicks (Michael Biehn) discovers the Weyland-Yutani Corporation is making an Alien army, while the people of a floating space station fight back against an invasion. The idea was scrapped when Fox wanted more screen time for Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, who was in a coma throughout a majority of the film. "Sigourney Weaver is the centerpiece of the series," Fox president Joe Roth said. Ripley was "really the only female warrior we have in our movie mythology."

In 1990, New Zealand filmmaker Vincent Ward was hired to direct Alien 3, based on a pitch he came up with on the flight to Los Angeles. He thought of Ripley crash landing on a planet made completely out of wood and discovering a monastery full of all-male monks who see the Alien as a punishment from God. The sequel would’ve been an examination of Ripley’s soul and psyche throughout the series—and a fitting end for the character.

Fox quickly fired Ward and brought on a young David Fincher to make an action-heavy thriller about Ripley crash landing on a prison planet, as a new Xenomorph picks off the prisoners one by one, which made it more similar to the original Alien movie. Alien 3 opened in May 1992 to lukewarm reviews and moderate box office numbers.

7. SUPERMAN LIVES

Before the release of Superman Returns in 2006, there were a number of sequel and reboot ideas surrounding the Man of Steel that were abandoned or canceled—most notably 1996's Superman Lives. Filmmaker Kevin Smith (who was also offered the writing job on Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian) was commissioned to write a screenplay for producer Jon Peters that featured Superman dressed in all black, fighting a polar bear at the Fortress of Solitude, then fighting a giant spider in the film’s climax. Nicolas Cage was cast as Superman, while Tim Burton was hired to direct. Superman Lives also featured two villains, Brainiac and Lex Luthor, who teamed up to destroy the Man of Steel.

Superman Lives was slated for release during the summer of 1998 for the 60th anniversary of the character’s comic book debut. However, after various rewrites, delays, and dropouts, the superhero movie was canceled (even after Warner Bros. spent more than $30 million over four years of pre-production and planning). The film The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened? documents almost every aspect of what went wrong and why the film wasn’t made

“The only thing I’ll say about that—because that is such a lightning rod hot topic and if I say anything at all it just seems to snowball—but I will say that I had great belief in that movie and in what Tim Burton’s vision was going to be for that movie,” Cage told Yahoo! Movies. “I would’ve loved to have seen it, but I feel that in many ways, it was sort of a win/win because of the power of the imagination. I think people can actually see the movie in their minds now and imagine it and in many ways that might resonate more deeply than the finished project.”

8. CHRONICLE 2: MARTYR

In 2012, Twentieth Century Fox hired Max Landis to write a follow-up to his surprise hit, Chronicle. He wrote a darker sequel called Chronicle 2: Martyr, which featured a female villain named Miranda, who had the same superpowers as the protagonists from the first film—and was also schizophrenic.

“There’s this really interesting moment where she’s turned into this supervillain, she has a mechanized suit—like a real thing they can build now that would cost $20 million, but if you’re a genius you can do it—and she’s totally insane, living in this house with garbage everywhere, filming herself and talking to the camera on drones like it’s her boyfriend,” Landis told The Daily Beast. “It’s one of my better scripts. It’s very dark. It’s not Chronicle. It has a much happier ending than Chronicle!”

Landis also had another pitch that would bring the original trio from Chronicle back to the sequel via time travel. Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Matt (Alex Russell), and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) discover that they can now manipulate and control time after they go on the run from the government. Andrew and Matt then die in a shootout, as Steve looks into the camera and rewinds time back to the middle of the movie.

“Steve looks at the camera and goes, ‘This didn’t happen this way.’ And just like that, it rewinds to the beginning of the second act of Chronicle 2 and you see them being filmed by these French girls that they were hanging out with, and you see Steve go, ‘We’ve gotta go,’” Landis explained.

However, Fox didn’t like either pitch and removed Landis from the project. The sequel is still in development, with screenwriter Jack Stanley currently writing an all-new script.

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11 Things You Didn't Know About Dolly Parton
Brendon Thorne, Getty Images
Brendon Thorne, Getty Images

Over the past 50-some years, Dolly Parton has gone from a chipper country starlet to a worldwide icon of music and movies whose fans consistently pack a theme park designed (and named) in her honor. Dolly Parton is loved, lauded, and larger than life. But even her most devoted admirers might not know all there is to this Backwoods Barbie.

1. YOU WON'T FIND HER ON A DOLLYWOOD ROLLER COASTER.

Her theme park Dollywood offers a wide variety of attractions for all ages. Though she's owned it for more than 30 years, Parton has declined to partake in any of its rides. "My daddy used to say, 'I could never be a sailor. I could never be a miner. I could never be a pilot,' I am the same way," she once explained. "I have motion sickness. I could never ride some of these rides. I used to get sick on the school bus."

2. SHE ENTERED A DOLLY PARTON LOOK-A-LIKE CONTEST—AND LOST.


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Apparently Parton doesn't do drag well. “At a Halloween contest years ago on Santa Monica Boulevard, where all the guys were dressed up like me, I just over-exaggerated my look and went in and just walked up on stage," she told ABC. "I didn’t win. I didn’t even come in close, I don’t think.”

3. SHE SPENT A FORTUNE TO RECREATE HER CHILDHOOD HOME.

Parton and her 11 siblings were raised in a small house in the mountains of Tennessee that lacked electricity and indoor plumbing. When Parton bought the place, she hired her brother Bobby to restore it to the way it looked when they were kids. "But we wanted it to be functional," she recounted on The Nate Berkus Show, "So I spent a couple million dollars making it look like I spent $50 on it! Even like in the bathroom, I made the bathroom so it looked like an outdoor toilet.” You do you, Dolly.

4. SHE WON'T APOLOGIZE FOR RHINESTONE.


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Parton is well-known for her hit movies Steel Magnolias and 9 to 5, less so for the 1984 flop Rhinestone. The comedy musical about a country singer and a New York cabbie was critically reviled and fled from theaters in just four weeks. But while her co-star Sylvester Stallone has publicly regretted the vehicle, Parton declared in her autobiography My Life and Other Unfinished Business that she counts Rhinestone's soundtrack as some of her best work, especially "What a Heartache."

5. SHE IS MILEY CYRUS'S GODMOTHER, SORT OF.

"I'm her honorary godmother. I've known her since she was a baby," Parton told ABC of her close relationship with Miley Cyrus. "Her father (Billy Ray Cyrus) is a friend of mine. And when she was born, he said, 'You just have to be her godmother,' and I said, 'I accept.' We never did do a big ceremony, but I'm so proud of her, love her, and she's just like one of my own." Parton also played Aunt Dolly on Cyrus's series Hannah Montana.

6. SHE RECEIVED DEATH THREATS FROM THE KU KLUX KLAN.

A photo of Dolly Parton on stage
Getty Images

In the mid-2000s, Dollywood joined the ranks of family amusement parks participating in "Gay Days," a time when families with LGBT members are encouraged to celebrate together in a welcoming community environment. This riled the KKK, but their threats didn't scare Dolly. "I still get threats," she has admitted, "But like I said, I'm in business. I just don't feel like I have to explain myself. I love everybody."

7. TO PROMOTE LITERACY, SHE STARTED HER OWN "LIBRARY."

In 1995, the pop culture icon founded Dolly Parton's Imagination Library with the goal of encouraging literacy in her home state of Tennessee. Over the years, the program—built to mail children age-appropriate books—spread nationwide, as well as to Canada, the UK, and Australia. When word of the Imagination Library hit Reddit, the swarms of parents eager to sign their kids up crashed the Imagination Library site. It is now back on track, accepting new registrations and donations.

8. PARTON'S HOMETOWN HAS A STATUE IN HER HONOR.

A stone's throw from Dollywood, Sevierville, Tennessee is where Parton grew up. Between stimulating tourism and her philanthropy, this proud native has given a lot back to her hometown. And Sevierville residents returned that appreciation with a life-sized bronze Dolly that sits barefoot, beaming, and cradling a guitar, just outside the county courthouse. The sculpture, made by local artist Jim Gray, was dedicated on May 3, 1987. Today it is the most popular stop on Sevierville's walking tour.

9. THE CLONED SHEEP DOLLY WAS NAMED AFTER PARTON.

In 1995 scientists successfully created a clone from an adult mammal's somatic cell. This game-changing breakthrough in biology was named Dolly. But what about Parton inspired this honor? Her own groundbreaking career? Some signature witticism or beloved lyric? Nope. It was her legendary bustline. English embryologist Ian Wilmut revealed, "Dolly is derived from a mammary gland cell and we couldn't think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton's."

10. SHE TURNED DOWN ELVIS.

After Parton made her own hit out of "I Will Always Love You," Elvis Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, reached out in hopes of having Presley cover it. But part of the deal demanded Parton surrender half of the publishing rights to the song. "Other people were saying, 'You're nuts. It's Elvis Presley. I'd give him all of it!'" Parton admitted, "But I said, 'I can't do that. Something in my heart says don't do that.' And I didn't do it and they didn't do it." It may have been for the best. Whitney Houston's cover for The Bodyguard soundtrack in 1992 was a massive hit that has paid off again and again for Parton.

11. SHE JUST EARNED TWO GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS.

Parton is no stranger to breaking records. And on January 17, 2018 it was announced that she holds not one but two spot in the Guinness World Records 2018 edition: One for Most Decades With a Top 20 Hit on the US Hot Country Songs Chart (she beat out George Jones, Reba McEntire, and Elvis Presley for the honor) and the other for Most Hits on US Hot Country Songs Chart By a Female Artist (with a total of 107). Parton said she was "humbled and blessed."

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15 Fascinating Facts About Blood Simple
Janus Films
Janus Films

Ethan and Joel Coen hadn’t made a feature film of their own until they set out to write, direct, produce, and edit Blood Simple, a bloody Texas-set noir about a cuckold husband named Julian Marty (Dan Hedaya) who hires a private detective (M. Emmet Walsh) to murder his cheating wife (Frances McDormand) and her lover (John Getz). The filmmakers wanted a small budget like a horror film, but preferred making an entertaining B-film. Before production started, the Coens created a two-minute trailer and showed it to investors, which allowed them to raise an impressive $750,000 (which was half of the final budget).

In January of 1985, the movie was released in theaters and grossed $2,150,000. In its 2000 theatrical re-release, the movie added another $1.7 million to its box office haul. The low-budget film set the standard for the wave of American indie films to come, and it established the Coens as two of the most important voices in cinema. It also launched the careers of Frances McDormand and cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld (who would later turn to directing).

Here are 15 facts about the noir thriller, which arrived in theaters on this day in 1985.

1. ITS TITLE WAS INSPIRED BY DASHIELL HAMMETT’S RED HARVEST.

“It’s an expression he used to describe what happens to somebody psychologically once they’ve committed murder,” Joel Coen told Time Out. “They go ‘blood simple’ in the slang sense of ‘simple,’ meaning crazy. But it’s left up to the audience to ponder the implications; they’re never spelled out in the film itself.”

2. THE COENS SPECIFICALLY WROTE THE PART OF LOREN VISSER FOR M. EMMET WALSH.

Blood Simple started something else that we’ve done pretty much on every subsequent movie, which was that we’ve always written parts for specific actors,” Joel Coen said in the book My First Movie. The brothers knew Walsh from the film Straight Time, in which he played a sleazy character. “Actually, it was a more interesting character than what we came up with in Blood Simple inasmuch as it was more ambiguous,” Joel said. They offered him the part without having him audition, but ran into a dilemma. “All I remember is we didn’t know what the hell to call him,” Ethan said. “I mean, what the hell do you call him when you meet him? M?”

3. THE COENS—AND MANY OF THE CAST AND CREW—HAD NEVER BEEN ON A FILM SET BEFORE.

Joel Coen admitted in My First Movie, “The first day of shooting on Blood Simple was the first time I’d ever been on a feature movie set in any capacity, even as a visitor.” Coen had previously worked as an assistant editor on horror films, including 1981’s The Evil Dead. Coen mentioned how Sonnenfeld would throw up after looking at the dailies, because he was so nervous working on the film. “Everyone was in the same boat,” Joel said. “The gaffer had never gaffered a feature. The sound guy, the mixer on the set, had never mixed a feature.”

4. THE COENS CHOSE TO MAKE A FILM NOIR BECAUSE OF THE GENRE’S PRACTICALITY.

Dan Hedaya and M. Emmet Walsh in 'Blood Simple' (1984)
Janus Films

The Coens liked hard-boiled fiction authors James M. Cain, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler, and used them to their advantage in writing the script. “It’s certainly a genre that is entertaining, and we also picked it for very practical reasons,” Ethan said. “We knew we weren’t going to have a big budget. The financing would not allow it. We could build something on the genre and the appeal it has.”

“It’s also a genre that allows you to get by rather modestly in some ways,” Joel added. “You can limit the number of characters, put them into a confined set. There’s no need to go for large-scale effects or scatter them through the film, and those cost a lot of money. So it was a pragmatic decision that determined what film we would make.”

5. BUT THEY DIDN’T WANT TO PARODY FILM NOIR.

In a 1985 interview, featured in the book The Coen Brothers: Interviews, Ethan said, “When people call Blood Simple a film noir, they’re correct to the extent that we like the same kind of stories that the people who made those movies like. We tried to emulate the source that those movies came from rather than the movies themselves.” They didn’t want to make “a venetian blind movie,” but movies like The Conformist and The Third Man inspired the look of Blood Simple.

Because of the comedic elements in the film, some people might think the movie is trying to parody the thriller genre. “On one hand, it is a thriller, and, on the other, it is funny,” Ethan said. “But certainly the film is supposed to work as a thriller and I don’t think it would work as both at once.”

6. THEY BORROWED AN INVESTMENT TACTIC FROM SAM RAIMI.

Their friend Sam Raimi had shot a trailer for his film The Evil Dead and raised $60,000 toward the budget after showing it to investors. “He financed the movie using a common thing that people making exploitation movies had used, which was a limited partnership,” Joel said in My First Movie. “What we also borrowed from Sam and the other models was that I presented more of an action exploitation type movie than it ended up being, and in fact than we knew it would be.”

The Coens didn’t know many people, so they decided to take a projector and the trailer to entrepreneurs’ homes in New York, Texas, and Minnesota. “If you call people up and say, ‘Can you give me 10 minutes so I can present an opportunity to invest in a movie?’ They’re going to say, ‘No, I don’t need this,’ and hang up the phone,” Joel said in My First Movie. “But it’s slightly different if you call and say, ‘Can I come over and take 10 minutes and show you a piece of film?’ All of a sudden that intrigues them and gets your foot in the door.” Eventually, all 65 investors made a profit from their investment.

The investor trailer finally surfaced online and features Bruce Campbell in the Dan Hedaya role.

7. NONE OF THE MAJOR STUDIOS WANTED TO DISTRIBUTE IT.

The Coens took time editing the film, and started shopping the movie around in 1984. Warner Bros. rejected it, but an indie company agreed to distribute it with a slight change. “We took it to Crown International Pictures and the guy would say, ‘If you have some nudity you can put in there maybe we can distribute it,’” Joel said in My First Movie. “We saw everybody from the studios to the lowliest sleaze-bucket distributors in L.A. And they all said no.” Circle Films picked up the movie after seeing a screening of it at the Toronto Film Festival. When the movie came out with good reviews, Warner tried to buy it from Circle to no avail.

8. M. EMMET WALSH COULDN’T BLOW SMOKE RINGS.

At first the actor was skeptical of starring in a movie where he probably wouldn’t make any money, but he gave the Coens a chance. Joel asked Walsh if he could blow a smoke ring from cigarette smoke and he said he would try. “I just couldn’t do it,” Walsh said. “I worked and worked on it, but I started to make myself sick.” The Coens brought in a smoke machine to make the smoke rings but the machine broke during filming. “The script gal says, ‘Give me a damn cigar. I grew up with five brothers smoking behind a barn,’” Walsh said. “So they give her a cigar and she starts making these incredible smoke rings. I said to myself, ‘My God, this is how you make a movie!’ Later on, I went outside and saw her puking her brains out. That was Blood Simple.”

9. THE COENS HAD AN INCIDENT WITH ONE OF THEIR POTENTIAL INVESTORS.

“There was one investor we went to and we hit his car, parking,” Ethan said in My First Movie. “And we had this big debate out on the driveway [about] whether we should tell him we hit his car before the sales pitch or after the sales pitch. We decided that we wouldn’t tell him until we showed him the movie and made the sales pitch.” The investor decided against investing in the film.

10. FRANCES MCDORMAND REFUSED TO BE “THEATRICAL” IN THE MOVIE.

John Getz and Frances McDorman in 'Blood Simple' (1984)
Janus Films

Up until she starred in Blood Simple, the future Oscar-winner had mainly done theater and some TV. In an interview with William Dafoe for Bomb Magazine, she told him her approach to playing Abby Marty. “The only choice I made was not to be theatrical,” she said. “I never moved my face and my mouth’s always open like I’m terrified—I was a lot of the time. I just did whatever they told me to do, which was perfect for the character, but it’s not like I made that decision as a character choice. It was from not knowing what to do.”

11. JOEL COEN WOOED FRANCES MCDORMAND WITH LITERATURE.

Coen and McDormand fell in love while making Blood Simple and got married a couple of years later, after production wrapped. McDormand told The Daily Beast about the moment when she roped him in. “I’d only brought one book to read to Austin, Texas, where we were filming, and I asked him if there was anything he’d recommend,” she said. “He brought me a box of James M. Cain and Raymond Chandler paperbacks, and I said, ‘Which one should I start with?’ And he said, ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice.’ I read it, and it was one of the sexiest f*ckin’ books I’ve ever read. A couple of nights later, I said, ‘Would you like to come over and discuss the book?’ That did it. He seduced me with literature. And then we discussed books and drank hot chocolate for several evenings. It was f*ckin’ hot. Keep it across the room for as long as you can—that’s a very important element.”

12. THE COENS RELEASED A SHORTER VERSION OF THE FILM.

Blood Simple got the Director’s Cut treatment in 2001, but instead of adding material to the re-release of the movie, the Coens removed a few minutes from it. “We always thought it was rather kind of clumsy, the editing,” Joel told Hollywood.com. “It was interesting to go in and try to tighten the movie up.” “Before, the original version was like an old lady with a walker, and now it just has a cane,” Ethan said. The newer version also brought back the Four Tops’ “It’s the Same Old Song,” which had been in the original theatrical release but had been replaced with Neil Diamond’s “I’m a Believer” in the VHS release.

13. THE COENS THINK THE MOVIE IS “PRETTY DAMN BAD.”

A scene from 'Blood Simple' (1984)
Janus Films

Fifteen years after Blood Simple’s release, the Coens reflected upon their first feature, in the 2000 book My First Movie. “It’s crude, there’s no getting around it,” Ethan said. “On the other hand, it’s all confused with the actual process of making the movie and finishing the movie which, by and large, was a positive experience,” Joel said. “You never get entirely divorced from it that way. So, I don’t know. It’s a movie that I have a certain affection for. But I think it’s pretty damn bad!”

14. ZHANG YIMOU REMADE THE FILM.

Director Zhang Yimou—who directed House of Flying Daggers and Heroremade Blood Simple in 2009 as A Woman, A Gun and A Noodle Shop. The move is set in a Chinese noodle shop in a desert, and in similar fashion, the plot centers on a man trying to kill his wife and her lover.

15. BLOOD SIMPLE BEGAT RAISING ARIZONA AND FARGO.

Two years after Blood Simple was released, the Coens wrote-directed their follow-up, Raising Arizona, which wasn’t anything like Blood Simple. “In essence, after having completed Blood Simple, we wanted to make something completely different,” Ethan said. “We didn’t know what, but we wanted it to be something funny that had a very quick rhythm. We also wanted to use Holly Hunter, who has been a friend of ours for a long time. So it really wasn’t the story that was the origin of the project, but Holly Hunter, her personality and, by extension, the character we had conceived for her to play. In contrast, Blood Simple took shape from an idea for a screenplay.” It should be noted Hunter provided her voice on an answering machine in Blood Simple.

More than a decade after Blood Simple came out, the Coens released Fargo. The Coens’ dealings with investors for Blood Simple inspired the film’s businessmen. “It was raising money for Blood Simple that we met all of these business guys who could wear the suits, get bundled up in the park and slog out in the snow and meet us in these, like, coffee shops,” Joel said in My First Movie. “We came back to that whole thing in Fargo: the car salesman, the guy who owns the bowling alley, you know, whatever.”

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