Posted by: steveonfilm | May 16, 2010

What Could Have Been

I like superhero movies. I really do. Iron Man. Hulk. Constantine. Batman. Spiderman. Hellboy. Spawn. The Crow. I’ve seen more superhero movies than I can remember. But there is one superhero movie that stands alone. It’s not like the others. It’s different. Unique. Original. That movie is M. Night Shyamalan’s 2000 masterpiece Unbreakable.

I know I’m not alone. I’ve seen it referenced as the first superhero movie that actually shows what it would be like in real life, all the way down to the villain. Shyamalan showed what the world would be like if Superman didn’t realize he was Superman.

And that’s it. Since then it’s been the usual superhero fare. Sure, it’s fun. I mean, I’ll watch Iron Man until the cows come home. But it’s not unique. I’m not walking away going, “Now that’s something I haven’t seen before.”

In in that regard, Unbreakable continues to stand alone.

But it didn’t have to be that way. In 1996 Vincent Ngo wrote a screenplay titled “Tonight, He Comes.” It was a world where a real life Superman existed, but he smoked cigarettes, drank heavily, and never really could handle the responsibilities that came with his power. It was an adult film, dealing with adult subject matter, that struck a tone that was both dark-comedy and drama. This script spent a lot of time in limbo and twelve years later would see the big screen under the name Hancock.

Trust me, Hancock is not the film that Ngo originally wrote.

I think this is a great example of how a story can be bought by a studio, shuffled around, rewritten for a star, changed, rewritten again, and ultimately released containing some of the original elements of the script, but baring little real resemblance.

Hancock was family fare.

Tonight, He Comes isn’t.

You should give it a read yourself. I really enjoyed the story, and just thought it brought a truly unique perspective to what someone with the powers of Superman might actually have to deal with mentally.

Tonight, He Comes (Hancock)

Until next time, keep writing!

P.S. If anyone ever saw the movie Mallrats, and remembers the conversation about how Superman would have to go about having sex, you need to read this script.

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