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MSS 260

Jim Cash and Jack Epps, Jr. PapersAdd to your cart.

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Contact Infomation:

Special Collections

MSU  Libraries

366 W. Circle Drive

East Lansing, MI 48824

517.884.6471

E-mail:spc@mail.lib.msu.edu

URL: http://specialcollections.lib.msu.edu

Date Processed:

2004

Acquisitions Information:

Gift of Jack Epps, Jr.

Preferred Citation:

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Box number, Folder number and/or title, Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr. Papers, MSS 260, Special Collections, MSU Libraries, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Copyright Notice:

Copyright is retained by the author of the items in this archive, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Usage Restrictions:

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

The Jim Cash and Jack Epps, Jr. Papers will be open and available for use in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Photoduplication Restrictions:

Contact Special Collections

Collection Summary:

The collection is arranged by screenplay, and then chronologically within each collection of screenplay materials. The screenplays in the collection are: Izzy and Moe (1985), Dangerously (1978), Blackthorne (undated), Dick Tracy (1990-1991), Whereabouts (1980), and Turner & Hooch (1989).

Historical Background:

Writing partners JIM CASH and JACK EPPS, JR. have co-authored numerous box office hits over the past 20 years. Their credits include: Legal Eagles, starring Robert Redford and Debra Winger (1986); Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis (1986); The Secret of My Success, with Michael J. Fox (1987); Turner & Hooch, starring Tom Hanks (1989); Dick Tracy, starring Warren Beatty and Madonna (1990); and Anaconda, starring Jennifer Lopez, Eric Stoltz and Jon Voight (1997). Their last film writing credit was The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000).

Cash, a native of Grand Rapids, received his B.A. in English from MSU in 1970 followed by a M.A. in Television and Radio in 1972. For many years he taught writing and film history at MSU and supported a writing award named in his honor. Jim Cash died in 1999.

Epps, who grew up in the Detroit area, received his B.A. in English in 1972. While a student, he worked as a film critic for the State News and founded and directed the path breaking and critically praised Mid-West Film Festival held in East Lansing in the early 1970s. Today Jack Epps lives with his family in Santa Monica, California, where he continues to write for film and television, and teaches at the USC Film School.

They began their writing relationship while MSU students and wrote their first story together in the MSU Union Grill in 1975. Soon afterwards Epps moved to Hollywood, but the separation did not impede their ability to write successful screenplays. Probably one of the most unique writing relationships in the history of Hollywood, Cash lived in East Lansing, Michigan, while Epps live in Santa Monica, California. They collaborated by computer across country and only saw each other face to face a handful of times.

Processing Note:

The notes describing each folder come directly from notes sent by Jack Epps, Jr. The biographical note was written by Peter Berg. The collection was arranged by Lisa Robinson, October 2004.

Arrangement:


Box Folder Description
1 1 CORRESPONDENCE, 2003-2004
    Correspondence between Jack Epps, Jr. and Peter Berg, 2003-2004. 4 letters. The detailed folder descriptions come from these letters.
  2 IZZY AND MOE
    This is the first script written by Cash & Epps based on their own original idea. This is a draft that was optioned by Producer/Director Bud Yorkin, producer of ALL IN THE FAMILY, but was never produced. The rights reverted to Cash & Epps and we currently hold all worldwide rights. This screenplay is the end result of 2 ½ years of work using the mails, cassette tape, and phone conversations. We wrote several drafts of the screenplay, but I do not believe they exist. I am continuing to look for our very first draft on this project and do not believe I threw it away. It shows how far we came from our early attempts.

We earned option money on this draft and that not only gave us money to live, but gave us the confidence to continue writing together. We knew we clicked. IZZY AND MOE was an idea that Jim pitched to me at the MSU Union Grill and one of ten we wrote down that afternoon. I had come back to Michigan to retrieve my motorcycle and bring it back to California. I thought I would visit MSU and also visit Jim Cash, my former screenwriting professor. Little did I realize the way fate was directing my life. I really didn’t get the concept until I was riding cross-country on my motorcycle and I suddenly got it. When I got to California, I called Jim and was very excited about the idea. We started working on it immediately.

I know you have an autographed copy from Jim. If it’s an original autographed copy that is rare and thought you might like to keep that one from too many hands. I believe that Jim and I only autographed one or two drafts of any screenplay together. He autographed a lot of material in East Lansing in connection with TOP GUN—mainly videotapes and such.

  3 DANGEROUSLY
    The second script written by Cash & Epps based on their own original idea. This is a spec script that was sold to the highest bidder in 1978. I was in Beijing, China on as a cameraman on a documentary crew making a film about higher education in China. We got a pretty good price for the screenplay and I was half way across the world. It was very frustrating that I couldn’t celebrate with anyone. I couldn’t really tell the film crew since I kept my writing life completely secret to my film crew life. This was really the change. After DANGEROUSLY sold, Jim and I worked full time.

It was originally titled: THE N STREET JUDAH after a streetcar in San Francisco. I always loved the name the streetcar and thought there was some kind of movie to be made. There is a photo of me talking to Jim on a pay phone from San Francisco with the streetcar going past. If I find the negative, I will send you a copy.

We had a title, and an idea that there was gold hidden in the streetcar. It’s not a cable car; it’s a streetcar that is still running in San Francisco. I loved the name of the streetcar, it sounded like some Raymond Chandler novel, both Jim and I were taken with San Francisco as a location with all it’s romance and charm, and I knew I wanted the gold to be hidden in plan sight.

The way we started this screenplay is that Jim wrote some 20 pages or so on pure inspiration and then I read it and said, “What the hell is this about?” and he said, “I don’t have a clue.” I then tried to make sense out of the ideas that those first pages presented. It is doubtful those first pages survive. I will keep looking for them.

We kept working on the characters and the story. One story that Jim always liked to tell was that we were trying to find the character of Lucas and we came up with an image of him returning to his houseboat to find stacks of bills. Once we got the image of Lucas taking an arrow off the wall and lighting his bills on fire and sending them into the bay in one big flaming arrow, it was the spark that got the character off to a great start.

When we handed the screenplay to our agent, Sam Adams, he didn’t like the title and came up with the title, OLD GOLD. It made sense and that’s the way the script went out. Supposedly, during the bidding process, Warner Brothers sent the screenplay to Clint Eastwood by helicopter when he was hiking in some remote area. He had to read it and let them know immediately. He passed.

It was bought by Casablanca Records, by producer Peter Guber, and the title was changed to DANGEROUSLY. Casablanca was immediately bought by Polygram Pictures. It was at one time cast with Dudley Moore and was eight weeks away from production when it was cancelled. The screenplay was set up at 20th Century Fox and currently is held b Warner Brother’s studio where it lays in their vaults. I’m not entirely clear who owns the rights.

DANGEROUSLY was really a huge step forward in our work and our visibility as writers in Hollywood. It was much more original than IZZY AND MOE and we were brought to the attention of producer Joe Wizan who subsequently offered WHEREABOUTS more about that later.

  4 BLACKTHORNE—ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
    This is the fourth screenplay written by Cash and Epps based on our own original idea. We were hired by CBS Pictures, which was a short-lived department at CBS and has since been dissolved. CBS holds the rights, but I’m sure they don’t have a clue the screenplay even exists.

These 23 pages is a first attempt to write BLACKTHORNE. They didn’t pan out.

  5 BLACKTHORNE—ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY—FIRSTDRAFT
    This is the first and only draft of BLACKTHORNE. We never revised it. In many ways it was way ahead of its time in terms of huge comic book approach and the massive visuals. I think people read it and thought we were out of our minds. If you look at this and think about this being done with computer graphics, it would be visually stunning.

It was never produced. There was a change of jobs at the executive level and the project never went forward. Jim and I made leatherette covers for own private collection.

    DICK TRACY — HISTORY

    Our actual work on the project ended with Dick Benjamin. We didn’t work with Mr. Beatty. That was very disappointing since there was still a lot of character and character relationship work to be done. During the production, Mr. Beatty seemed to focus way too much on the art direction and not enough on the relationship between Tracy, Tess and Junior. It was supposed to be the story of a lonely man who finds a family by adopting this street urchin. It was also the story of a man torn between his heart and his passion with Breathless representing his passion.

Madonna skewed the movie in the wrong direction. She was too big of a “star” and the role became bigger than it should have. She blew Tess off the screen and there was a huge imbalance in the relationship. Tess needed to be rewritten as a much stronger character that could hold her own against the strength of Madonna’s Breathless. Tess needed to fight for her man and show that she was just as strong as Breathless in her own way. That revision was never made. If you read the Third Draft screenplay, you will find that this is the best version, in our opinion, of the movie with the right balance.

My cast for Breathless was Michelle Pfeiffer. She had the right icy quality that Breathless needed. Mr. Beatty obviously did not share my opinion. In fact, that was the break in our working with Mr. Beatty.

At that time I had a studio office at Universal Studios and Warren would call during lunchtime when my secretary was away so I would pick up the phone myself. We had had several personal meetings and things seemed to be going along well. He called and asked me what I though about casting Madonna as breathless. I reacted rather strongly that I didn’t think that was a good cast. Little did I know that he had already made up his mind. Somehow that was probably some little test and I obviously didn’t pass since I never heard from him again.

Chester Gould liked to draw his characters based on Hollywood movie actors that were popular and Breathless was drawn to represent Veronica Lake. I still feel that Madonna is way too over the top and throws the balance out of whack and it becomes a movie about them and not about the family. The heart and emotion is in the family, not in the passion. Even though the heart wins out in the end, the movie never quite recovered enough to pull the audience in emotionally. Tess was also portrayed pretty flat and you never rooted for her to get Tracy. She seemed weak and uninteresting.

Also, Mr. Beatty’s performance was also way too cold. He never gave Tracy any life and played him pretty flat. I know from our initial discussions that he wanted to make this feel like a cartoon on the page, one panel at a time, but I think he went too far and left Tracy on the page.

While it’s beautiful to look at and won several Academy Awards, it ultimately lacks a sense of emotional involvement with Tracy and his situation. It was considered a disappointment at the box office and I feel that is due to the fact that Tracy as a character was hard to identify with. Warren was too focused on Madonna and not enough on Tracy’s character.

The film has been very popular in cable, video and DVD sales and rentals, and plays much better on second viewing.

In retrospect, I think the best movie would have been made by Director John Landis. It would have been wilder, zanier, and a lot more fun. There isn’t much comedy or laughs in the Beatty version. It’s pretty straightforward. Landis would have added the big movie fun energy that is lacking in the final movie.

  6 DICK TRACY, 1945-1946
    This is a collection of the published newspaper strips. I was going to use these if we did a sequel.
  7 DICK TRACY, 1956-1975
    Another collection of published strips. I was going to use these if we did a sequel.
Box Folder Description
2 1 DICK TRACY—1st DRAFT SCREENPLAY
    We were hired by Director John Landis to write Dick Tracy. We were writing BLACKTHORNE at the time. John was hired by Joe Wizan to direct WHEREABOUTS and wanted to hire us to write DICK TRACY based on our work with WHEREABOUTS.

John gave us very little instruction. He told me he wanted it “set in the 30’s and to make it revolve around Big Boy”. That’s it. Really. This is a project that I wasn’t really interested in, but Jim

really wanted to do it. I began to do research, read the strips and look for a story. I began to become very enthusiastic about the project the deeper I became involved. The most exciting thing about Tracy is all the bizarre characters he created. I decided early on that rather than just do one bizarre character, I would try to bring as many into the story as possible.

The draft with cartoon characters on the front is the actual First Draft handed into John Landis. It was not handed into the studio at this time. The character of Junior is missing in this draft because John had a serious accident while shooting THE TWILIGHT ZONE where two young children were killed and we thought that we would not want to do a movie involving a young child. John’s biggest note was to put Junior into the script. He was right. Junior became the heart of the screenplay.

  2 DICK TRACY— 2nd DRAFT
    This draft is really the first real incarnation of the screenplay and the eventual movie. It’s the basis of the eventual movie and is very different than the first draft in tone and in characterizations. Although many of the characters remain from the First Draft, the Second Draft is much closer to what we wanted.

This draft has my hand notes in the margin that are notes in regards to changes in the Third Draft. John Landis exited the project as director and Walter Hill as direct and Joel Silver as Producer took over. Walter Hill is an MSU Alumni, as you probably know.

  3 DICK TRACY— 3rd DRAFT SCREENPLAY, JULY 1983
    Rev 7/13/83 on the page 1 of the screenplay. There appears to have been a draft between the second draft and this third draft that I have not found as yet. This draft shows revised pages as per Walter’s notes.
  4 DICK TRACY— 3rd DRAFT SCREENPLAY, AUGUST 1983
    This would be the first draft handed into Walter Hill, August 12, 1983. #000004. This is the first Production Draft of DICK TRACY for Walter Hill. The two following drafts show minor changes from notes from Walter Hill and Joel Silver.
  5 DICK TRACY— 3rd DRAFT SCREENPLAY, AUGUST 1983, #000004
    August 12, 1983. #000004. This is the first Production Draft of DICK TRACY for Walter Hill. This draft shows my hand written revision notes. It also includes pink and blue pages. I have included here because of my hand written notes. We have made a few of the changes suggested by the director and the producer.
  6 DICK TRACY— 3rd DRAFT SCREENPLAY, AUGUST 1983, PRODUCTION
    August 12, 1983, #00004, 8/31/83. This is the Walter Hill/Joel Silver production draft that went out to the production staff. Walter Hill played a big role in reducing and focusing the screenplay.

There are new blue and pink pages with a revised ending. This draft is the essential draft that final film was ultimately based upon.

Universal Studios began building sets to go into production. As I was told, the studio and Walter Hill got into a disagreement about the budget. They thought it was too expensive. Mr. Hill was shooting STREETS OF FIRE on the lot at that time and Mr. Hill was going to go right into DICK TRACY. The production was shut down.

The other story about why production was shut down was that Mr. Hill and Warren Beatty meet and Mr. Beatty asked if Mr. Hill allows his actors to see dailies. Mr. Hill reportedly said that he didn’t believe in actors seeing dailies and Mr. Beatty was suddenly not interested in playing the role. Without a strong actor, the project shut down.

The worldwide rights, at that time, was owned by both Universal Studios and Paramount Studios. The project moved over to Paramount and Director Richard Benjamin was brought on board.

  7 DICK TRACY—REVISED 4th DRAFT, JANUARY 25, 1984
    There were several interim drafts before this one. Mr. Benjamin was brought on board to shoot a lower budget picture. Personally, Jim and I did not think this was the best approach or the best draft. We include it as an example of part of the process.
Box Folder Description
3 1 DICK TRACY— TIMING
    February 6, 1984. This is a timing done by a script supervisor probably the Jan 25th Draft to give a rough understanding of approximately how long the movie would run if it were shot as written.
  2 DICK TRACY—REVISED 4th DRAFT SCREENPLAY
    February 13, 1984. This draft is cut even further probably due to the results of the timing by the script supervisor. As you can see, this draft is the shortest one yet and I feel it went too far to accommodate budget. I’m glad this was not made. Mr. Benjamin left the project to shoot a movie with Clint Eastwood and actually used a song from this script and also a similar scene. We were not happy about that.

At this point the project languished for several years and we went on to our next project, which was TOP GUN. In fact, we were writing TOP GUN during the same time we were doing revisions for Walter Hill and Dick Benjamin.

  3 TELEPHONE CONVERSATION, OCTOBER 12, 1987
    Transcript of a telephone conversation on 10/13/87 between Jim Cash & Jack Epps and Warren Beatty. The project just sort of died at Paramount and we moved on. Warren Beatty had had conversations with Barry Diller who was head of Paramount at that time, but still nothing happened. The screen rights lapsed and Warren Beatty optioned them himself and moved the project to Disney. Jeffery Katzenberg had also been at Paramount when Mr. Beatty was inquiring about the project and then set it up with Mr. Katzenberg at Disney. The script went into turnaround and moved over to the Disney. We were off writing other project and pretty much had given up on DICK TRACY ever getting made. Then we got a call from Warren Beatty. I had taken a meeting with him alone and this phone call was made later in the day to bring Jim up to speed and answer some questions.
  4 DICK TRACY—“Warren Beatty’s Second Revision, November 11, 1987
    This is all our writing—the dialogue, the scenes, and the characters. Warren has made some minor trims and cuts.
  5 DICK TRACY, January 23, 1989
    A pre-production or production draft.
  6 DICK TRACY—SHOOTING SCRIPT
    Since this draft is unnumbered; it’s unlikely this was the shooting script. The above draft may have been the shooting script.
  7 DICK TRACY—FINAL REVISED
    This is the final composite draft of the screenplay. It includes any writing done in postproduction.
  8 ARBITRATION STATEMENT, March 1, 1990
    Arbitration statement by Jim Cash & Jack Epps, Jr., for the motion picture Dick Tracy, March 1, 1990. Since other writers were involved in the final production re-write and Mr. Beatty believed that he deserved credit for his editorial work, we had to go to a WGA Credit Arbitration to retain our sole writing credit which we were given. A “Written by” credit is the highest credit a writer can receive on the picture and the final credits read: “Written by Jim Cash & Jack Epps, Jr.” Not only does this statement detail our work, but it also gives a history of the project and thought it would be valuable to the collection.
  9 PROFIT PARTICIPATION STATEMENT
    Profit participation statement, June 30, 1991. The bottom line shows a 91 million dollar loss.
  10 DICK TRACY II, TREATMENT
    Dick Tracy, the sequel. August 9, 1989. I pitched this idea to Mr. Beatty after the film was produced, but net yet released. When it wasn’t a huge hit, there was no desire to make a sequel. I pitched it to him up on his white house off Mulholland Drive. It was a beautiful modern house with a private gate and an incredible view of the valley. The furnishings were sparse and there was a baby grand piano in the living room. We had met before in his kitchen that featured two clear glass industrial stainless steel refrigerators.

It was a bright sunny day and this time we sat beside the pool. We were interrupted every five minutes or so as Mr. Beatty sought in vain to locate Madonna. It seems their relationship was on the rocks and she was nowhere to be found. “Have you found Madonna?” “Do you know where Madonna is?” It was so bright outside that I gave the entire pitch wearing sunglasses, which was a first for this writer. Usually, the star is the one behind the Foster Grants and the writer is squinting and sweating, but on this particular afternoon, Mr. Beatty seems to be doing most of the sweating.

  11 DICK TRACY III—THE SEQUEL
    August 8, 1989. This is a 3rd idea I had for the movie after reading the 40’s strips. I thought it would be interesting to put Tracy in a cheap Hawaiian shirt and have to deal with the Bebop50’s and set it around the Jazz scene. Gould created some great characters that are overshadowed by his best work in the late 30’s and early 40’s. I never pitched it to anyone but registered it with the WGA anyway.
    WHEREABOUTS -- HISTORY
    WHEREABOUTS was our breakthrough script. Based on our second script, DANGEROUSLY, Jim and I started to take meetings around town. This was a shift in our career since people were now interested in hiring us to work on their projects and ideas. Instead of speculating on a screenplay, we now could get contract work and was thereby guaranteed an income.

I went to producer Joe Wizan’s office on Sunset Blvd to take a meeting. Joe had read DANGEROUSLY and had liked it. During that meeting Mr. Wizan pitched me an idea about two people who are challenged to find each other and end up finding each other at the end of the movie. My immediate response was that wouldn’t work because we keep the lovers apart the entire movie.

I had a quick thought. I pitched it back to him, what if the two people find each other and then they find the man who challenged them dead and now they are on the run and are forced to work together. Mr. Wizan loved the idea. Jim and I wrote a fast story pitch, pitched the idea and we set it up at a production company.

Although there was a previous script, we never looked at it, or discussed it again. We started from page one. It was a difficult start and we make a lot of false starts before we got it right.

When we turned in the draft, Joe Wizan loved it. He was head over heels and was hoping the original small studio, who I can’t even remember the name of at this time, would pass on the project. When they did, he bought them out and owned the screenplay outright. That was a move that would make Mr. Wizan millions of dollars as he moved the screenplay from studio to studio.

This was not just a home run piece of work; we hit this one out of the ballpark and really launched our career. Jim’s dialogue is masterful and I believe my storytelling is the best work I have ever done. The screenplay was a great success and was seen by virtually every executive and actor in the Hollywood in the early 80’s. It catapulted Jim and I into an entirely different ballgame and put us on the “A” list of writers. This screenplay along with TOP GUN, had the greatest influence on our career and really changed our lives.

John Landis was involved to direct the script and unfortunately that was I think a big mistake. He wasn’t an actor’s director, and was known more for his outrageous comedies, and this wasn’t outrageous. It is our homage to Hitchcock and probably would have benefited from another director. John was very likable and the best part of working with him is that he didn’t have a lot of changes for the screenplay. We trimmed it down but it pretty much remained as we originally wrote it. Mr. Landis did have a meeting scheduled with Robert Redford on a Friday evening to discuss the idea. The screenplay was new and very hot. But on the day before that meeting, Mr. Landis had his accident on THE TWLIGHT ZONE where three people were killed and that meeting never took place. In many ways that terrible tragedy put some kind of a jinx on the project. Landis exited the project because he had a court case to attend to.

The project did move around to several other directors, Barry Levinson, Peter Bogdonovich, and others. But it was ultimately never made. I believe if the movie had been made when it was written, with the right case, it would have been very successful.

This is, in my opinion, and I know Jim’s opinion, our best work and although it may read a little dated by today’s standards, it’s filled with a great relationship, a lot of twists and turns, and I believe a lot of inventiveness. People that have read it always remember it and I do get calls about it from time to time. Two things that date the screenplay is that there are no computers and no cell phones.

Box Folder Description
4 1 WHEREABOUTS Part 1, THE CHALLENGE
    This is our original story pitch notes to studio that got us the assignment. It really lays out the idea quickly and to the point.
  2 WHEREABOUTS—PLOT LINE
    These are my original and only set of notes as I try and figure out how to break this story. Please excuse my spelling. I’m a poor speller and my IBM Selectric typewriter did not have spell check. In addition, I am writing fast and looking for the idea not concerned about someone else reading this material. I’m willing to have egg on my face for the sake of academic study, but again, I’m looking to break an idea and I’m not concerned about how it will read.
  3 WHEREABOUTS—1st DRAFT
    These 26 pages are an example of Jim taking a run at the idea and seeing where it gets us. Unfortunately, this is a dead end.

Jim liked to “Rip” on an idea and just run wild with it. Write from sheet inspiration and fun. That’s one reason Jim was such a successful writer. He loved to write. Love to play with words, create characters, link dialogue lines together like poetry. He was willing to take changes and fail. It really didn’t bother either of us to try something and come up empty handed. As we got further along in our career and the pressures became greater, we didn’t have the luxury we did at this time to be playful with our writing.

  4 WHEREABOUTS—2nd DRAFT
    This is another run at the story, but several important characters appear: Steve Turner, Maggie and Murdoch.
  5 WHEREABOUTS—REVISION, March 25, 1981
    These are Jim’s hand written pages. Jim had great handwriting and at this time in his career liked to write by hand. Computers were not available to us at this time. Jim liked to go the MSU Union Grill and write there. He liked to noise and the hustle and bustle. He said it helped him concentrate. These are special pages since they are in his hand.
  6 WHEREABOUTS—3rd DRAFT
    This is a typed version of Jim’s pages but again it goes nowhere. This is the way we worked in the beginning. We liked to take runs at the story to see where it would go and many times it would go nowhere. WE would discover characters or story elements that we would try and make sense out of later. Jim was a streak writer at that time and liked just to write at will. Later on, it became to exhausting for Jim to write without knowing exactly where we were going.
  7 WHEREABOUTS—4th DRAFT
    The characters are clearer here and the story is starting to take shape.
  8 WHEREABOUTS—5th DRAFT
    The story and characters are taking further shape. These are not actual drafts but are work approaches.
  9 WHEREABOUTS—1st DRAFT SCREENPLAY
    This is our First Draft of WHEREABOUTS. At 158 pages it’s pretty long and we cut 14 pages on the next draft. What is interesting about these pages is that they are raw Cash & Epps. This is truly our First Complete Draft of WHEREABOUTS.
  10 WHEREABOUTS—1st DRAFT SCREENPLAY REVISED
    144 pages. This is the First Draft we handed into Producer Joe Wizan.

    A NOTE ABOUT FIRST DRAFTS:
    You might ask yourself how all these drafts can be First Drafts. Hollywood is about perception. Sine this movie had not gone into production, the prevailing wisdom was to make this screenplay feel like it was still a “virgin” and was the first draft. It doesn’t look as good as the cover page to say 7th draft. Sort of implies there is a problem with the screenplay. You’ll also notice there are no dates on the screenplay. That’s because once again, we don’t want to show a script around town that is 2 years old. Everyone wants what is new and hot.

  11 WHEREABOUTS— JOHN LANDIS PROJECT
    First Draft Screenplay 124 pages. John Landis was hired to develop and direct Whereabouts. He wasn’t our first choice and I think in the end a mistake. While John was daring, he was also off putting to a lot of serious actors and in the end stunted the initial momentum of the project. This is a draft that John edited from our longer 144-page draft. I’ve included his note to me: “Jack—so?—John” and an autographed photograph, “Jack—onward and upward with the Arts, John?” The production still is from WEREWOLF IN LONDON, or is it called American werewolf. John liked to dress in a suit and tie as an homage to the directors of the 30’s and 40’s where everyone on set wore a suite and tie.

John made a few minor changes to the screenplay, and a lot of them we liked. He shortened it considerably and that was a good thing. As a side note, he went to New York on another project and scouted a few locations and called all upset. He told Jim and I that he went to the places we wrote in the screenplay and they weren’t there. We got a good laugh out of it by reminding John it’s a movie. If you need a phone booth, put it there.

The adm at the top of several drafts tell me that it was typed by John’s secretary who was a delightful German woman who was like a bit of a mother hen to John.

At the same time John was hired to direct whereabouts, he also hired us to write DICK TRACY. I wasn’t in love with the strip, but Jim was very enthusiastic, so I learned to love it as we went along. That was a great part of our relationship. If one member of the team was passionate about something, we tended to go with that passion, and eventually, the other partner would get totally on board. There were never a mine or yours with us; it was always “ours”. Jim would always say, there were three egos, Cash, Epps and Cash & Epps and it was very true. When we were together, it was like there was a third personality at work and we never really fought over creative ideas or authorship.

  12 WHEREABOUTS1st DRAFT “STEROBCAR” PRODUCTIONS
    First draft “Sterobcar” Productions, 124 pages. Sterobcar was Joe Wizan’s production company. I believe this draft is a composite draft between the Landis Draft and some earlier work we wanted to have put back in. There is the “adm” on the top of the first page.

Box Folder Description
5 1 WHEREABOUTS—1st DRAFT SCREENPLAY
    First Draft Screenplay “Master Copy” “adm” Wizan Film Productions, 12022 San Vicente Blvd., Suite 350, Los Angeles, CA 90049. Page length 133. This draft was typed by John Landis’ assistant and believe it was the draft that was eventually sent out around town. Joe Wizan set up a company to produce films and this address was his new location. Jim and I went back into the screenplay and put some things that John Landis had cut out back into the screenplay. It stretched the length to 133. This is extremely long by today’s standards where screenplays are around 110 or less in length.

Because of Jim’s prose background, our screenplays read very well and the description tended to be longer and more detailed. Producers and executives were much more literate and enjoyed a good read, and our scripts were always described as good reads. This is another aspect of the business that seems to have disappeared.

  2 WHEREABOUTSREVISED DRAFT SCREENPLAY, FEBRUARY 11, 1983
    Revised draft screenplay, February 11, 1983—153 pages. It’s not often that a screenplay gets longer, but it appears this one did. Joe Wizan became head of production at 20th Century Fox for a short period of time and tried to get the movie made there. WE had a small office and I believe this draft has to do with notes given by director Barry Levinson, who Joe had a strong personal relationship with at the time. Barry had troubles with the screenplay because there were elements in it that reminded him of HIGH ANXIETY that we worked on with Mel Brooks.

Jim and I still did not have a screenplay produced and were frantic to get a movie made. I had a small office with the world’s loudest air conditioner. This the draft where we had 3 secretaries on call and had to get a new draft out in 24 hours and had people typing around the clock. It was insane. Computers make revisions so much easier. This is a cut and paste draft, which was the way we did a lot of our work.

Barry Levinson was never really deeply involved or committed to making the movie. He worked with us as a favor for Joe Wizan. Eventually he went on to another project and we just sort of dumped his revisions.

  3 WHEREABOUTS—TORK DRAFT
    Second Draft Screenplay, September, 7, 1984—118 pages. This is the TORK DRAFT. We added another character, a friend for Turner to make it a little more crazy. Sort of a John Candy type of character to bring a little more humor to the screenplay. In addition, we changed the ending to the screenplay in this draft. People had continued problems with the “Maze” ending so I had an idea for another ending. The “Maze” ending was inspired by Orson Wells’ LADY FROM SHANGHI mirror sequence, which is still considered one of the finest visual endings of all time. It is constantly alluded to in many films and no one yet has figured out how Wells shot it exactly.

The ending in this draft was inspired by trips I took to New York as a young boy with my parents. O the side of a building in Times Square there used to be a famous Camel’s cigarettes sign where the arm moved and smoke was blown out of the sign. I thought that it would make a great set piece, and also be a huge publicity event putting the sign back up for the movie. Although I think we did a good job writing the sequence, the original ending is still the best.

By this time, Jim and I had written DICK TRACY, TOP GUN, and were doing rewrites on WHEREABOUTS depending on who was interested in the project at the time.

To my mind, this is an example of a good screenplay being changed just to change something. The “master copy” draft is the draft that Jim and I believed should have been shot as written.

  4 WHEREABOUTS—3rd DRAFT
    Third Draft—February 7, 1986—128 pages. Joe Wizan continued to shop this screenplay for years and each time he set it up as a producer, he got a big check. Joe made more money on this movie not getting it made, than he would have gotten if it had been made five years earlier! We received small re-write fees each time we did a revision, but not near the money that Joe Wizan made on it. It’s a less on why it’s important to control your material.

Each time the movie was moved to a different studio the costs of the movie, such as producers fee, writer’s fees, offices, etc., would be charged against the movie and the previous studio would have to be bought out or become a partner. The costs eventually against WHEREABOUTS west estimated to be between 4-5 million dollars!

This time Mr. Wizan moved the project to MGM Where Frank Yablans was head of production. Joe Wizan was a consummate producer and had a lot of good relationships around town. Frank Yablans finally green lit the project, meaning go make the movie. Joe once again picked the wrong director. He picked Peter Bogdonovich.

The idea was to make the movie as economically as possible and Joe felt Bogdonovich was hungry and could make the movie for the right budget.

Joe had been told that on Bogdonovich’s last picture Bogdonovich has smeared the New York unions and the word was that Bogdonovich would not be able to make another movie in New York. He would be hounded and the picture would be a disaster to hurt Bogdonovich. Joe wanted us to move locations from New York to San Francisco!

This is ridiculous! Now we’re changing not only the location, but also the entire foundation of the screenplay, but again, Jim and I were soldiers and were willing to give it a shot. I think we did a pretty good job of moving the story to San Francisco. Again, it’s a compromise and I don’t think it’s a better screenplay. Something gets lost each time in translation.

Bogdonovich didn’t know a good thing when he saw one. A very pompous and arrogant man, he had a green-lit picture. MGM was going to make the movie and he wanted to work on a script a little more. That is the definition of an idiot! All he had to do was cast it, shoot it, and he had a movie made. But no, he wanted to make it “better”. This is from a guy who hadn’t had a hit picture in close to 15 years.

My first meeting with Bogdonovich was at his fabulous estate on Copo de Oro just north of Sunset Blvd near UCLA. The irony of that meeting is that I had been to the house nearly ten years earlier when I worked for Orson Wells as a cameraman on his last picture. TH EOTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, which is the story of a director who dies before his last work is finished, and Orson died before this film was finished Who knows where it is today. Of course Peter didn’t remember me, why would he, I was only a crewmember, and I didn’t really want to go into it with him. Peter is not a warm man and does not make one want to share anything personal with him.

The house was a U-shaped Spanish mansion set around a courtyard leading out to a cabana and a pool. It had Hollywood’s golden era written all over it. Eventually, Bogdonovich lost the house.

The meetings didn’t go well and it was the only time I was fired off a picture and was pleased. Bogdonovich wanted to change the very nature of the screenplay away from a mystery to a suspense piece and would constantly quote “Hitch”, meaning Alfred Hitchcock. WHEREABOUTS was a bit of a homage to Hitchcock’s NORTH BY NORTHWEST and Bogdonovich couldn’t see it. There was really no getting through to the man.

On a side note, Bogdonovich would spend the entire meeting nervously breaking colored toothpicks in half and littering the ashtrays with them. I suggested to Peter, in fun, that the red dye on the toothpicks might be bad for his health, and on the next meeting he had changed to natural wood toothpicks.

The subsequent meetings deteriorated and Joe Wizan was powerless to do anything about it. I refused to change the concept of the screenplay. What was the point? It was a mystery filled with suspense. I asked Bogdonovich why he wanted to do the movie in the first place since he didn’t like the screenplay. I kept telling him he was missing the movie.

I was not hired to do next draft, which was all right with me. By February 19868, TOP GUN was in production LEGAL EAGLES was also in production. I had been working with a lot of top directors, producers and studio heads and I was not going to compromise our vision.

Bogdonovich with someone else wrote a horrific draft of the screenplay and virtually killed the project. It was never made. He was the idiot who turned a green light motion picture into a development deal. All he had to do was shoot the movie as written. Joe Wizan would have been better served to have replaced Bogdonovich and shoot the original screenplay rather than replace us.

Virtually every executive and movie star in town read WHEREABOUTS DURING THIS PERIOD. Within three months our lives would drastically change with the release of TOP GUN. Within the next year we went from having no movies produced to having three movies produced in one-year period and a number one worldwide hit. We were in constant demand.

We sort of out grew WHEREABOUTS and were not interested in destroying something we loved so very much. We let it go, and it has never been made. While there is a sense of loss about it never making the screen, I’m also pleased that it was never made wrongly and compromise beyond recognition. It still exists on paper as a perfect movie.

    TURNER AND HOOCH -- HISTORY
    TURNER AND HOOCH turned out to be a project that both Jim and I had a lot of fun working on. It came about in one very unusual way. Because I lived in L.A. producers would usually send me the projects first and then I would send them on to Jim if I felt it was something we would be interested in.

Usually, I’d read the property and then talk to Jim about it. Most of the time he wouldn’t even look at the screenplays. This time I was in Hawaii with my family vacationing and they sent it on to Jim. If it had come to me first, I doubt we would have become involved in rewriting the screenplay.

They way our involvement in TURNER AND HOOCH came about was I was sitting having breakfast on the Big Island overlooking the ocean when Jim called really excited. “This dog is going to be the next big star…” And he went on and on. Anyone who knew Jim knows that you can’t turn Jim down when he’s excited about something. His passion and enthusiasm was always infectious.

I was very reluctant to write a “dog” movie since it didn’t have any prestige attached to it and felt our career was at a higher level. Jim was really excited about writing it because he was such a dog lover. He had three dogs and literally fifty animals in the house. His wife, Cynthia, was also a huge animal lover. Jim really wanted to write his movie. Okay, if it means that much to you… Why not? I had dogs at home and loved OLD YELLER, it was Disney, they were going to make it. They had Tom Hanks as an actor and Henry Winkler was going to be the director. Why not? At this time Tom Hanks was not the mega superstar he is today.

Working with Tom was one of the best experiences I ever had in my entire career. One can’t say enough about how smart, generous, funny, inventive, sincere… The list goes on. Tom was the only actor we worked with that took an active part in building the story, the character and the ultimate film. One of the smartest men I have ever had the pleasure to meet. He deserves all the fortune and recognition that he has garnered in the last few years.

The script was a mess, not very consistent. The story was all over the place and Tom was lacking a character to play. One of the reasons Jim and I were so successful was that we would come onto a script in trouble and bring big new ideas. The major work we did here was to clean up the story, ass depth to Tom’s character by giving him something to play, giving him a character arc through line, and strengthening the love story. We also added a lot to the relationship between Tom and Hooch. We also added a lot of comedy.

Hooch was a huge animal. They had about 7 or 8 Hoochs to work with. They would train each dog a specific trick. In addition, they would paint a distinctive pattern on the animals so that at a quick glance each different animal would appear to be the same dog.

TURNER AND HOOCH was a surprising success and is listed as the second most successful dog pictures of all time behind 101 DALMATIONS. It’s constantly being shown on television and has a strong following. Watching it today, it still feels fresh and fun.

At this point in our career we were flying. TOP GUN had come out along with THE SECRET OF OMY SUCCESS and LEGAL EAGLES. We were known as hit makers with a lot of box office success. Coming in as a rewriter is always fun because the studio is desperate and you pretty much have a free hand to do what you want. They trusted us and took all of our advice except about the death of Hooch at the end of the movie.

We begged Jeff Katzenberg and Ricardo Mestres, Disney executives, not to have Hooch die at the end but they wouldn’t see it any other way. There had been a movie released earlier called “K9” where the dog was injured and everyone felt that we had to have a different conclusion. Also, Tom wanted to have something to play against and since this was a love story about the world’s neatest guy and the world’s sloppiest dog, the ending enabled Tom to have a more powerful scene. At the time I thought it was a mistake, but in looking back, it’s a more powerful ending that gives the movie more substance and drama.

TURNER AND HOOCH turned out to be a project that both Jim and I had a lot of fun working on. It came about in one very unusual way. Because I lived in L.A. producers would usually send me the projects first and then I would send them on to Jim if I felt it was something we would be interested in.

Usually, I’d read the property and then talk to Jim about it. Most of the time he wouldn’t even look at the screenplays. This time I was in Hawaii with my family vacationing and they sent it on to Jim. If it had come to me first, I doubt we would have become involved in rewriting the screenplay.

They way our involvement in TURNER AND HOOCH came about was I was sitting having breakfast on the Big Island overlooking the ocean when Jim called really excited. “This dog is going to be the next big star…” And he went on and on. Anyone who knew Jim knows that you can’t turn Jim down when he’s excited about something. His passion and enthusiasm was always infectious.

I was very reluctant to write a “dog” movie since it didn’t have any prestige attached to it and felt our career was at a higher level. Jim was really excited about writing it because he was such a dog lover. He had three dogs and literally fifty animals in the house. His wife, Cynthia, was also a huge animal lover. Jim really wanted to write his movie. Okay, if it means that much to you… Why not? I had dogs at home and loved OLD YELLER, it was Disney, they were going to make it. They had Tom Hanks as an actor and Henry Winkler was going to be the director. Why not? At this time Tom Hanks was not the mega superstar he is today.

Working with Tom was one of the best experiences I ever had in my entire career. One can’t say enough about how smart, generous, funny, inventive, sincere… The list goes on. Tom was the only actor we worked with that took an active part in building the story, the character and the ultimate film. One of the smartest men I have ever had the pleasure to meet. He deserves all the fortune and recognition that he has garnered in the last few years.

The script was a mess, not very consistent. The story was all over the place and Tom was lacking a character to play. One of the reasons Jim and I were so successful was that we would come onto a script in trouble and bring big new ideas. The major work we did here was to clean up the story, ass depth to Tom’s character by giving him something to play, giving him a character arc through line, and strengthening the love story. We also added a lot to the relationship between Tom and Hooch. We also added a lot of comedy.

Hooch was a huge animal. They had about 7 or 8 Hoochs to work with. They would train each dog a specific trick. In addition, they would paint a distinctive pattern on the animals so that at a quick glance each different animal would appear to be the same dog.

TURNER AND HOOCH was a surprising success and is listed as the second most successful dog pictures of all time behind 101 DALMATIONS. It’s constantly being shown on television and has a strong following. Watching it today, it still feels fresh and fun.

At this point in our career we were flying. TOP GUN had come out along with THE SECRET OF OMY SUCCESS and LEGAL EAGLES. We were known as hit makers with a lot of box office success. Coming in as a rewriter is always fun because the studio is desperate and you pretty much have a free hand to do what you want. They trusted us and took all of our advice except about the death of Hooch at the end of the movie.

We begged Jeff Katzenberg and Ricardo Mestres, Disney executives, not to have Hooch die at the end but they wouldn’t see it any other way. There had been a movie released earlier called “K9” where the dog was injured and everyone felt that we had to have a different conclusion. Also, Tom wanted to have something to play against and since this was a love story about the world’s neatest guy and the world’s sloppiest dog, the ending enabled Tom to have a more powerful scene. At the time I thought it was a mistake, but in looking back, it’s a more powerful ending that gives the movie more substance and drama.

  5 MEMO To: Turner and Hooch Team; From: Tom Hanks, December 5, 1988
    I believe these notes were before Jim and I were actively involved in the project. They were probably notes that were addressed to everyone on the project and generated because we had just been brought in and Tom wanted to have some input. We were brought in during the last stages. The notes are interesting because they show what an actor is thinking about. It’s also interesting to note that although he had many good ideas, not all of them were included in the finished film. If all actors took this much interest in their movies and their roles, the entire level of filmmaking would move to a higher level. Hanks was great to work with a brought a tremendous amount of creative ideas to the project.
  6 TURNER AND HOOCH—Phone Conversation, December 7, 1989, Transcript
    This is a meeting Henry Winkler (HW), Ricardo Mestres (RM) who was the Disney executive on the project, and Jack Epps, Jr. (JE). This is a preliminary meeting trying to work out the direction of the rewrite. This document is a little more non-specific. We’re looking for solutions. Jim and I came up with the solution on Friday, December 10, and then pitched it to the executives, and then Tom Hanks in the following transcriptions.
  7 TURNER AND HOOCH—December 10, 1988 Meeting—Cassette Tape #1
    This is the actual tape that is transcribed below.
  8 TURNER AND HOOCH—December 11, 1988 Meeting (Transcription of Tape #1)
    (Hooch3.Doc) 1-1. This is a transcription of our first active meeting on the project. RM is Ricardo Mestres, TH is Tom Hanks and HW is Henry Winkler, the director. This is our first meeting with Tom Hanks after pitching our approach to a group of executives. Then next meeting was pitching our approach to the actors. This is a really interesting document that shows they way Jim and I would pitch material, and also the sense of collaboration with an actor. Tom has a lot of great ideas here and it’s interesting to see the way he takes our ideas and shapes them as an actor.
  9 TURNER & HOOCH—December 11, 1988 Meeting (Transcription of Tape #1)
    2-1 in the upper right corner. This is a continuation of the meeting. It’s must the second half of the document or probably the start of the next tape.
  10 TURNER & HOOCH—December 11, 1988 Meeting
    (HoochC.doc 5-1). This is a further transcription of the meeting.
Box Folder Description
6 1 TURNER & HOOCH—December 11, 1988 Meeting
    4-1 in the upper right corner. This is a further transcription of the meeting.
  2 TURNER & HOOCH—CHANGES TO COME, January 9, 1989
    This is a Memo from Producer Daniel Petrie, Jr., concerning the proposed changes that were expected to come from the Cash & Epps revisions. This memo would be sent out to the entire production team that was prepping the movie. It’s sort of an advance warning.
  3 TURNER & HOOCH—EXECUTIVE MEETING, JANUARY 22, 1989
    Sunday. This is a story meeting and transcription of executive notes after handing in our First Draft to the studio. Again, what’s interesting here is a word-by-word transcription that shows how a project is shaped by notes and meetings before a single scene is shot.
  4 TURNER & HOOCH— PAGES FROM JIM, December 1988
    (12-23-88.doc to 2-6-89.doc) These are examples of the writing methods Jim and I would use. I’d pitch Jim the scene that included by thoughts on how the scene should play, what information we need to communicate, and where the scene was in the story. I’d relate how the scene would fit into the whole of the piece. He would then either take my advice or discard it and do something different. Then he’d send the pages to our office and we’d call them "Pages from Jim”, which meant that they were raw pages. Then Jim and I would go over the scene together and revise or edit them down. If they were good as is, then I’d send them on to the director or producer. On TURNER AND HOOCH, we were writing on a production deadline so we’d send pages to the director daily to get a First Draft done as soon as possible.

  5 TURNER & HOOCH— PAGES FROM JIM, January 3-13, 1989
  6 TURNER & HOOCH— PAGES FROM JIM, January 16-31, 1989
  7 TURNER & HOOCH— PAGES FROM JIM, February 1989
  8 TURNER & HOOCH—JCJE TELEPHONE COVERSATION, January 18, 1989
    (J&J1-18A.doc) This is an example of the way Jim and I would work on designing out a scene together. This conversation is about the ending. Again, it shows the way Jim and I worked best together.
  9 TURNER & HOOCH—REVISED PAGES GIVEN TO THE DIRECTOR, December 1988
    (hooch1.doc to “Given to Henry” 2-6-89) This is a series of revisions that Jim and I would revise and then deliver to the director, Henry Winkler. These are First Draft revised pages. And then we’d revise them as per the director’s notes, or they would be sent out as revised pages.
  10 TURNER & HOOCH—REVISED PAGES GIVEN TO THE DIRECTOR, January 1989
  11 TURNER & HOOCH—REVISED PAGES GIVEN TO THE DIRECTOR, February 1989
  12 TURNER & HOOCH—February 23, 1988
    This is a previous draft of TURNER & HOOCH that has several writers names attached before we became involved. While some scenes remain in the final film, Jim and I made a lot of revisions during this project and eventually were awarded co-screenplay credit. Receiving credit after so many people have worked on a project is not only rare, but extremely difficult. To share credit, the second writer has to do at least 50% of the writing. In this case, I think it was more like 33% because there were so many writers and it was hard to determine who did the lion share of the work, so the credit was evenly divided. But it shows the huge amount of work that Him and I did on the project to receive credit.

On revisions, we were able to approach an existing project that was pretty much set in its ways and make big changes in character and story. We did this on THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS, TURNER & HOOCH, SISTER ACT, and ANACONDA. We failed to request credit on SISTER ACT due to some poor advice from our agent who felt the project was in trouble and we shouldn’t have our name attached.

Box Folder Description
7 1 TURNER & HOOCH—Draft Revised Jan. 13, 1989 Pink
    A First Revised Draft by Jim Cash & Jack Epps, Jr.
  2 TURNER & HOOCH—Draft Revised Jan. 11, 1989 Yellow
    Another revised draft by Jim Cash & Jack Epps, Jr.
  3 TURNER & HOOCH—Draft Revised Jan. 16, 1989 Green
    Another revised draft by Jim Cash & Jack Epps, Jr.
  4 TURNER & HOOCH—Draft Revised Jan. 31, 1989 Salmon
    More revised pages by Jim Cash & Jack Epps, Jr.
  5 TURNER & HOOCH—Revised 6/23/89
    The Final Shooting script with further revisions by Daniel Pietrie, Jr.

TURNER & HOOCH was a fun project to work on but not for everyone. After the first week of shooting the director, Henry Winkler, was fired and Roger Spottiswood was brought on to finish the picture. Tom called me to explain that they just weren’t making progress and felt that they needed a change. Spottiswood was a very good choice to shoot the movie and I think it’s a much better picture for his work as a director. It was difficult to hear that Henry had been replaced since he was such a good guy and fun to work with.

I’m always surprised at how popular the movie was and still is. It’s one of the highest rated dog pictures of all time. Both Him and I were dog lovers, buy for Jim this was especially fun because he and three dogs that shared his office with him daily and could really “think dog.” It shows in his writing.

  6 Interview with Jim Cash & Jack Epps, Jr., 1990
    Cassette Tape #2.




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