Film scripts are re-written all the time by numerous writers, with each subsequent iteration often differing from the last. Changes can take place to such an extent that you often end up with a shooting script that doesn’t resemble the one that sparked a studio’s interest.
Such is the case with 2013’s Tom Cruise sci-fi vehicle “Oblivion” according to the film’s original script writer William Monahan. Monahan, who penned the likes of “The Departed” and “Kingdom of Heaven,” handed over his “Oblivion” script which then scored re-writes by the likes of Karl Gajdusek and Michael Arndt.
In a new interview with Den of Geek, Monahan surprisingly laments the loss of his original script and what Joseph Kosinski’s film ultimately turned out to be:
“It differed enormously. I’d written something I think was very good, perhaps a science fiction classic, which I imagine got the film greenlit, and then it was turned by subsequent writers into cannon fodder, despite Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman and Andrea Riseborough and Olga Kurylenko, all of whom I love.
There’s nothing left of me except drone behaviour, some story, the seawater collectors, and Horatius at the Gate. I never tried for credit. The director and the studio made their bed and they can have it. Not taking credit probably cost me a significant amount in royalties, but I don’t care.”
Despite his misgivings, “Oblivion” ended up making $286 million worldwide even though it only scored mixed reviews.