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Mindhole Blowers: 15 Notable Writers, Actors, and Directors and Their Uncredited Rewrites

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | June 12, 2013 | Comments ()


Uncredited rewrites are not, by their nature, supposed to be advertised, hence the “uncredited.” Many, many screenplays are script doctored, but more often than not, we never know about them. However, here are a list of notable people and the screenplays they have allegedly screen doctored. Many of these writers — for instance, John August — have script doctored many other films, though we don’t know which ones.

Joss WhedonSpeed (1994) (including most of the dialogue), The Quick and the Dead (1995), Waterworld (1995), Twister (1996), and X-Men (2000).

Quentin TarantinoIt’s Pat (1994) and Crimson Tide (1995)

John Sayles: Apollo 13 (1995), The Mummy (1999), Mimic (1997)

Aaron Sorkin: Schindler’s List (1993), The Rock (1996), Excess Baggage (1997), and Enemy of the State (1998).

Carrie Fisher: Hook (1991), Sister Act (1992), Lethal Weapon 3 (1992), Last Action Hero (1993), The River Wild (1994), and The Wedding Singer (1998).

Tom Stoppard: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007).

Robert Towne: Bonnie and Clyde (1967), The Godfather (1972), and Armageddon (1998).

Jason Reitman: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)

Kevin Smith: Overnight Delivery (2008) and Coyote Ugly (2000)

John August: Blue Streak (1999) and Iron Man (2008)

Kenneth Lonergan: Fool’s Gold (2008)

The Coen Brothers: Fun with Dick and Jane (2005)

Ed Norton: Friday (2002)

David S. Goyer: Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

Ken Levine (From “Cheers”): Mannequin (1987), Jewel of the Nile (1985)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Lee

    As I recall, Sayes didn't merely script-doctor "The Mummy". He actually wrote a rejected draft that set the film in the present-day. As he recalls, a studio exec told him he should write a period film like the original; given that the original was ALSO a present-day story, Sayles was rather amused by this.

  • Lee

    *Sayles. And I don't even have auto-correct to blame right now.

  • Tom

    Of course I can't remember where I saw this to link to it, but I remember reading that one of Whedon's lines from X-Men that stayed in was a scene where Xavier, Cyclops and Wolverine are discussing Mystique's ability to take on the form of anybody and Cyclops wonders how they can be sure Wolverine is actually Wolverine. Wolverine says "you're a dick" and they know it's him.

    That makes me so happy that I don't even care if it's not true. It's fantastic.

  • Kim Stephens

    The story I've heard is that he contributed the best line, "You're a dick" and the worst line, Storm's line to Toad when she toasts him.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Worst line or worst line...reading. If the delivery had been wry or insouciant, it totally would have worked. Whedon knows how to write smack talk.

  • Mack

    Didn't Brad Bird and David Fincher contribute to the Tron: Legacy screenplay?

  • dc27


  • Mack

    Not sure if Pajiba allows links, so add "node/45759" to Ain't It Cool News' address.

  • e jerry powell

    Some of these efforts ultimately didn't help, though, because some of those films never should have been made.

  • A-schaef

    I refuse to believe that the magnificent and infallible Tom Stoppard had anything to do with Revenge of the Sith. It just can't be true, can it?

  • loo shag brolley

    I refuse to believe that Revenge Of The Sith wasn't made using the first draft.

  • firedmyass

    I still maintain it was written by the computer from Wargames.

  • Mrs. Julien

    A man's gotta eat.

  • Welldressed

    A man's gotta eat.
    Yes,and for Lucas money, he'll be eating endangered wildfowl in cream sauce. Aperif: A single plum, floating in perfume,served in man's hat.

  • Caito Potato

    Emma Thompson also did uncredited rewrites to the 2005 Keira Knightley Pride & Prejudice movie. Her screenplay for the far-superior Austen adaptation of Sense & Sensibility won an Oscar. Her awesomeness knows no bounds.


  • Margrete

    Love it!
    When she was interviewed for a documentary about Stephen Fry's life she showed up in a full ballgown, diamonds and fur. She is awesome.

  • kirbyjay

    She also gives great Oscar speech as well!

  • Caito Potato

    Her Golden Globes speech is my all-time favorite http://youtu.be/Q5prYhXQtCk

  • She has a place in my personal pantheon alongside Helen Mirren, Aisha Tyler, and Kate Beaton.

  • firedmyass

    Based solely on that list, you are objectively awesome. Congratulations.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    OVERNIGHT DELIVERY is the greatest movie of all time. OF ALL TIME. If for no other reason than what the hell is Paul Rudd wearing?


  • Gordon

    My brain just about exploded when I saw Ed Norton rewrote Friday — as in the Chris Tucker/Ice Cube stoner comedy. But then I realized that with a 2002 year next to it, that was a typo and it supposed to say Frida. And then I was sad.

  • Jamie Dello Stritto

    Aw, and now you've made me notice. And then we were sad.

  • kdm

    Also, M. Night Shyamalan apparently ghostwrote "She's All That".

    No, really.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I think that's the genesis of this list - it was mentioned yesterday on Pajiba.

    What a twist!

  • apsutter

    Ugh...that guy is the worst

  • david

    you are the worst

  • apsutter

    I'm sorry, did I step on the toes of the last remaining M Night fan?

  • Doesn't Patton Oswalt have a fairly long list of significant anonymous punch-ups and rewrites to his credit as well?

  • alone in the dark

    Yes. He described the experience on Fresh Air on NPR. Something like "I get a call, a couple of my comedy buddies and I show up at a really nice beach house, eat great catered food for the weekend, then cash a check for 100 grand. Do they use what we wrote? Did you hear me? They paid me $100,000. They can burn it and flush the ashes down the toilet."

  • Mrs. Julien

    Dream job.

  • koko temur

    Oh, look at him! He is so... Ginger! I cant even hold "Speed" against that man.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    Why would you want to? SPEED is perfection on film.

  • PerpetualIntern

    Quentin Tarantino — It’s Pat (1994)

    What the what??

  • I would KILL to see what It's Pat as done entirely by Quentin Taratino is like. Can you imagine? I'm not even saying it would be a good movie, just an amazing spectacle.

  • Ian Fay

    I believe he was dating Julia Sweeney.


    (that is also what I imagine he titled his draft).

  • Captain D

    I know! It all makes perfect sense now!

  • alone in the dark

    Just because these names are attached to these projects doesn't mean they all did a complete rework of the film. One of the hard realities of Hollywood is that everyone (except maybe Ron Bass and I'm not so sure about him) gets rewritten. It's a safe, relatively low-cost way for a studio exec to both cover his/her ass (in case said film is a flop) and provide evidence of hands-on management (in case it's a hit). Some of these probably did significant rewrites, some did a quick gloss, and some probably contributed nothing that went into the finished project but still cashed the paycheck.

  • Three_nineteen

    One of the Cheers writers helped with Mannequin? No wonder Mannequin 2: On the Move didn't do as well at the box office.

  • God, I miss Hollywood Montrose.

  • My bollocks just exploded from 'Whaaaaa?!'

  • Mrs. Julien

    You should but some salve on that.

  • BWeaves

    I read that, "You should put some salsa on that."

  • Mrs. Julien

    Potato, potahto.

  • JJ

    "Aaron Sorkin: Schindler’s List (1993)"

    I wonder how well that one would fit into the Sorkinisms Supercut video that was floating around last year.

  • Laura

    Like Carrie Fisher, Carrie Fisher?

  • emmalita

    Also check out her book and one woman show Wishful Drinking. It kills me.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Carrie Fisher is like Dorothy Parker: Not quite equal to the sum of her parts, but beyond fabulous in the attempt. One of my favourite all-time quotes is from her:

    He made a minor vocabulary error and she inwardly, magnanimously forgave him.


    Some parliament of her pheromones had just named him pope, and she was doing all she could to keep her cardinals from sending up the telling puff of white smoke from her hair.

    Cora had come up with a nickname for this mood. She called it Edwin the Affronted One.

    In a lot of ways, she didn't feel like a very good person, and she was not about to be conned into believing otherwise.

  • She's a super-talented writer -- check out Postcards from the Edge if you haven't seen it!

    Producer: It's not that bad. It's not like you farted all over your lines and in dailies we were like, "What's that noise?"

    Suzanne: I'm so relieved.

  • Also, she's the "one-half" in the Paul Simon lyric "one and one-half wandering Jews". Same is true for the lyric "the child of my first marriage" from "Graceland".

  • frank247

    And she is "Betty", as in "I will call you Betty, and Betty, when you call me, you can call me Al"

  • Carrie Fisher is a fabulous creature with so much self-awareness and charm and such a lovely conversational way to telling stories. She's fantastic and should write all the things.

  • Laura

    More reason to love her!

  • pajiba

    Yes, Carrie Fisher, Carrie Fisher

  • PDamian

    I understand Ed Norton also contributed significant rewrites on Frida. I imagine it helped that he was sleeping with Salma Hayek at the time.

  • Tom

    I assume it helps everything if you're sleeping with Salma Hayek.

  • koko temur

    If i was sleeping with Salma Hayek i would feel mighty creative and confident too.

  • BlackRabbit

    What, you think he was sleeping? Boy, do I have some things to explain to you.

  • sean

    I would have never turned on a word processor. I would have gotten no work done. Ever

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