d_osborn wrote: ↑February 4th, 2023, 6:32 am When Tom Davis passed away, his career archive was donated to Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at his alma mater, Yale University.
James Greene Jr., author/researcher behind the “A Convenient Parallel Dimension” book, found the Hellbent material was in the Tom Davis Papers at Yale. BTW, if you haven’t read James’s book, I highly recommend it. He does a great job of setting the stage and context for the Hellbent era (and, well, every other GB era).
I can’t wait for the discussion Hellbent brings, but I’m not sure this was the best way of getting it out there. Distributing PDFs behind a pay wall without any sort of agreement worries a little me for Michael and Paul, as well as for future accessibility to Yale’s archives (and Aykroyd’s solo work).
A bit of background— a copy of the 1999 first draft leaked out of CAA in the early 00s. This is what made it to the IGN/Stax Report in 02, and later Proton Charging. The original CAA copy is still in a private collection and was actually posted here on the forums in a collection video ages ago!
Flex time, I guess. My personal photocopy of Hellbent is almost old enough to drink. It was hard to keep my trap shut, but it simply wasn’t mine to share. I kept mum out of respect for the source. And Dan. Now that it’s out there… I’ve really grown to love Hellbent. Seeing this thread made me wince several times.
The GB lore is well established: Dan wrote his far out, kitchen sink first draft scripts on both films. High concept comedy sci-fi tales with lots of techno jargon from whatever weird theoretical fringe physics stuff he was interested in at the time. They were light on character work and refined comedy. Raw streams of GB creativity, poured on page without a second thought for FX budgets or production schedules. Harold and Ivan joined Dan and brought the first drafts down to a more manageable, produceable scale.
Dan and Harold had story meetings on Hellbent. Harold was set to direct, and has a writing credit on most of the films he directed. We’re seeing that same process play out here. I’ve never been able to confirm if Ramis did a pass, but it doesn’t sound like it. Although a lot of time passed between 99-06, very little changed in the limited revision. The leaked Hellbent scripts are not shooting scripts. In the parlance of GB history nerds, Hellbent never made it to Martha’s Vineyard. This thing was never meant for public consumption, nor represented the final form. We haven’t seen anything this early in the process from either film. I personally love seeing the peek into this part of the process.
The concept art is by John “The Viking” Daveikis— Aykroyd’s friend going back to college, initial concept artist behind GB, GB2, Nothing But Trouble, Coneheads, others. As Aykroyd said in the Cleanin’ Up the Town documentary, “John designed all of my movies…”.
My Unorganized Thoughts—
-The treatment is way easier to read if you aren’t used to screenplays.
-The Firehouse and ECTO 1A appearances in the treatment gave this fanboy a HUGE grin.
-Typo alert— “Moira” is accidentally “Miriam” on page 27 of the full draft.
-I loved seeing Aykroyd’s vision for where the GB company went, in-universe. It’s incredibly cool to see.
-Taghanik was my fav new character. Do you trust an alcoholic lawyer in hell?
-Was older hot lady Desseter written for Donna Aykroyd?
-The opening to the treatment kills me. I'm not sure why Aykroyd cut those scenes down.
-It’s interesting to think what Harold’s visual direction for Ghostbusters would look like.
-Hellbent led me to research old physicists— namely Heissenberg and Feinman!
-The mundaneness isn’t there? I disagree.
-It isn’t Ghostbusters? It was never just about trapping Class 5s. The original Ghostbusters script is rooted in interdimensional travel, and Hellbent was another iteration of that idea. To me, it’s very much in the spirit of Ghostbusters, just not what we’ve seen on screen. They go to hell, confront Satan, then get stuck in a traffic jam on the way home from work. Roll credits.
-No love for the ghost trap on a telescoping pole?
Warning This is going to be a long post:
Well I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with you so thoroughly. Tho we are in agreement about one thing. I too am a bit uncomfortable by putting this behind a paywall. I know it’s only for a month but…that wasn’t the intent of the original donater. I mean let’s be honest here…we are dealing in some truly dubious ethics here. Personally, I’m glad I read it and had access to it. But at the same time…someone is profiting off of this. But then that person is also someone whose been a HUGE resource to Gb fans and someone whose had the work they’ve provided sold by others. So there’s a few layers to this. But I do think putting this up behind a pay wall is wrong. That is not what this was for and would go against the wishes of the donating party. But I gladly paid and consumed it. But I’ve visited the prop forums here and I’ve read over and over about how against prop people are over stealing and reselling molds other people made. I get that. It makes sense. But then profiting off of a script you don’t own? I dunno. But I see Paul’s side of it. Hosting a website isn’t free. It’s a complicated issue.At the end of the day MrmichaelT said he got permission from the library and I think that’s an important thing to have. If it were copied without their knowledge? That’s theft. Tho I still would’ve gladly read it lol
Now on to the fun stuff.
Ok. I’m going to get controversial here ladies and gentlemen. I can this is as a fan of the movie but…Ghostbusters is one of those movies where the movie is about 5X better than the script. I don’t think Ghostbusters is a very good script. It’s not bad. But I think the finished film, transcribed word for word, is an excellent script. But the shooting script…is messy. It goes on weird tangents, the pacing is all over the place, and from what we know of the making of the movie and how certain people (Sigorney Weaver, Stephen Dane, John De Cuir) contributed ideas and concepts vital to the essences of what makes Ghostbusters Ghostbusters, we can say that the movie is more than just Dan, Ivan and Harold. It was all these people in one place at one time.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it until I’m dead. We are lucky Ghostbusters works as well as it does. It’s held together by spit and duct tape and pure will. If most of the deleted scenes are included, from the Bums, to the Fort Determing, to the honeymoon couple, the movie would be lesser off. If Elmer Bernsteins original theme is used, if the Ecto 1 is painted black with purple lights, if the original design for the GB’s with helmets, swat gear and…metal rods…think of all those points of potential failure. And yes, I’m saying right here, right now, the GB’s in their original design? if any of those elements were left in the finished film.. I don’t think the movie finds the cultural staying power it has with that…aesthetic. I don’t. It’s like…does Indiana Jones work as well with Tom Selleck(the original actor cast)? No I don’t think so.
And so…Ghostbusters 1 we got lucky. The movie as it existed on paper when they went to go shoot it? It’s not the classic it would become. And plenty of movies that become classics can say that. Just look at the original Star Wars script. But I’m also not going to pretend like the script for Ghostbusters was some genius level of comedy. Because it wasn’t. A lot of the comedy we get is reworked, improv, and performance based. Some of it is in the script. But does Louis work on the page? No. Does Venkman? Not really. Gozer as a dude in a business suit was never a good idea.
And what of Ghostbusters 2? Ghostbusters 2 funniest character wasn’t even really thought up by any of the original team. Janosz is Janosz because of Peter Macnicol. Then we have all the reshoots that I won’t bore everyone with. But again we have a very messy script.
So what does all this mean? It means Ghostbusters movies were never ever great in scripted form. It took other cast members, production designers, visual effects guys and some re working to make it what we know and love.
This script throws so much at the wall and so little of it sticks that I just can’t see it working…but I’m sure if I had read Dan’s original GB draft I’d have the same opinion.
I’ll give this script a few more reads. Scripts, like movies, can take a bit. Sometimes the bad is so bad it overwhelms everything else. Nat is so bad I had trouble with everything after he appeared. It’s such a stupid, stupid, weird, “what were they thinking”? Idea that it colours the rest of the script for me.