The rule of thumb in Hollywood is that for every thousand scripts that
get written, only a few dozen get into development, and out of those,
only one will ever get made...if that.
A little over a year ago, I was approached by a company that wanted to
make a Babylon 5 movie. They optioned the rights, and commissioned a
script. (It's worth mentioning that I, not WB, own the rights to a B5
movie. When we were negotiating the original B5 deal -- by whose terms
I will never see a dime in profit -- the one thing they did let me have
were the movie rights, figuring they'd never be worth anything in the
Anyway...on December 27th of 2003, the script for "The Memory of
Shadows" was turned in, and the process began of trying to make the
deal work with all the various forces involved. It is, to say the
least, a very difficult process on any movie where the studio does not
directly take the financial reins. In terms of B5, Warner's position
was esssentially, "We only do big-budget movies with big names, so
you're on your own." If there were big-name movie actors in the film,
they'd get behind it; without that, things become very problematic,
especially as far as the financing was concerned. You much have to put
together a consortium of international interests and business plans
rivaled in complexity only by the Allied invasion of Normandy Beach.
Nonetheless, every attempt was made by the people involved to get this
deal in place. This was not being done by Doug or myself, but rather
by the company/individuals who approached us and optioned the rights.
At times, it seemed we were inches away from a deal...stages were
reserved at Elstree, actors were contacted, a director was in place,
the script went through many revisions, a few key staff were hired,
again not by me...it was really a year-long roller coaster ride.
During that time, the people involved, with every good intention, tried
very hard to pull the necessary pieces together on the deal. The
option expired in late December 2004, but I renewed it without cost, to
give those involved more time to try and make things work.
In the end, however, the deal could be put together, and it did not
look as if that was going to change at any point in the foreseeable
future. So the option has reverted, and to all intents and purposes,
the project has dead ended. Nor do I think this particular incarnation
will arise again at any point in the future, though prognostication has
always been a tricky art, especially if you have to do it without the
benefit of hindsight.
This was not the first time someone's taken a run at a B5 feature film,
and it will not be the last. Eventually it will happen, because such
things are simply inevitable. If they can do a Brady Bunch movie, you
can be sure that sooner or later, somebody's going to do a B5 movie.
The only thing I can say without equivocation is that when that day
comes, as the rights-holder, I will make darned sure that it's done
right, because I'd rather have no B5 movie than one that doesn't live
up to what fans and I myself would want to see.
To that end...I can wait.
Anyway, just thought you should know the story.
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