So, we all know about the Monkey Island movie that ILM was puttering around with twenty years ago from its concept art and bizarre plot synopsis, all of which was eventually collected as bonus features in the Special Edition compilation LucasArts put out in 2011.
But what about the real behind-the-scenes dirt on this legendary project’s origin and demise? What about that rumor that Steven Spielberg threw a spanner into everything by suggesting that the main character be replaced by a monkey because he has lousy story instincts?
Wait, that was never a rumor. But it is nevertheless one of the several new tidbits unveiled by Polygon’s sordid tell-all about the Monkey Island movie, which offers hitherto unavailable insight into the abandoned project with the aid of its director, visual effects supervisor David Carson. Read all about the various permutations of the story - each pass of which took it further and further from its initial form as a loose adaption of the first game - and feel elTee's shame when the stubborn rumor that the screenwriters of Pirates of the Caribbean had any meaningful involvement is forcefully refuted. Then there’s this:
Beyond the problems of adaptation, there were also more troubling concerns. This included a second meeting with Spielberg. Jim Morris, Patty Blau, Rosen, and Tom Bertino (who was going to act as animation supervisor) were all present at this meeting.
“The first meeting was just this little table, but now Steven wanted to make the project the table … [imagine] this cartoonishly long conference room where Steven is sitting at one end, Tom Bertino is sitting at the other,” Rosen recalls. “The funny thing about Hollywood meetings and creative projects when you come up with ideas is, you’re like, ‘Oh, I have this great idea,’ and then the committee assembles. All of a sudden, this story that everyone was shaking hands on becomes, ‘What if we change the main character to a monkey?’”
“We gathered in Steven’s office, and the first thing he said was that we shouldn’t have the main characters be human,” Carson says. “Instead, he suggested we should make the movie be about the monkeys on Monkey Island. Everyone just nodded, but my heart stopped. What the heck? We had worked for several weeks on a story that was based on the charm and humor of the games, and Steven wanted to throw all that out and make some new story about monkeys? I was completely confused.
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