• The Helgeland script

    29 June 2022

    A few Shansters were chatting about the Cirque Du Freak movie recently, after I'd mentioned how the Universal film had started with the screenwriter Brian Helgeland, who read the books with his son, and decided to adapt it. He got the Donner Company involved, who brought Universal on board, who hired Paul Weitz to direct, who... completely rewrote the script!!!


    Although Brian Helgeland's name remains in the movie as co-scriptwriter, I think he stepped back from the project once Paul Weitz went to work on writing his own script, and although Paul used plenty of elements from Brian's initial script (e.g. Mr Tiny's car), it became very much his baby -- something that often happens in the movie world, and one of the reasons why I've never felt overly inclined to have a go at writing scripts myself, since in that universe, the director is king!!


    One of the fans who was talking about this happened to mention that he'd found the original Brian Helgeland script online, and provided a link to it. I read this many years ago (although only well after the film had come out -- I never saw it in advance), and from what I remember, it wasn't especially more faithful to the books than the Paul Weitz adaptation, but it did include more scenes and characters from them, and captured more of the darker spirit of the books as well.


    If you're interested in having a look at the script, to see what COULD have been and to compare it in your mind's eye with the film that was actually made, click here: https://imsdb.com/scripts/Cirque-du-Freak-The-Vampire's-Assistant.html




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