Unique Copy of "The Witching Hour" Screenplay,
Anne Rice. "The Witching Hour" Screenplay. Unpublished,
dated June 13, 1995, with "Copyright Warners & Geffen" in black
felt tip marker at lower left corner of title page. Signed three
times by Anne Rice, with two warm inscriptions. Front red cover
has, in the author's hand, "The Witching Hour Script Anne Rice" in
ink and "For Brian Robertson, With love, Anne Rice" in black felt
tip; title page has "For Brian, All blessings - this is it before
Warner's strikes - Love, Anne" in black felt tip. 163 pages of 8.5
x 11-inch paper, printed recto only. Brad-bound photocopied
screenplay, in textured red paper covers. Some minor small tears
along fore-edge of covers; small puncture by brad through rear
cover. In near fine condition.
Signed Three Times by Anne Rice and
Inscribed by Her to a Close Friend
The film rights for The Witching Hour, Anne Rice's novel originally published in 1990, were optioned by producer David Geffen, and in early 1992, it was reported to be in pre-production, with Richard Donner attached as director. But as often happens in the mercurial world of Hollywood, the film was never made, and twenty-one years after the publication of the book, Anne Rice still lives in hope of an eventual film or television miniseries being made.
This 163-page unproduced screenplay by Anne Rice, adapted from her novels The Witching Hour and Lasher, has never been published. A 124-page version attributed to Rice is available online, but it is not the same as this screenplay. It is unclear if that online version was actually written by Rice, especially in light of her comments about the script that she wrote to her fans in 1996: "I am adamant that I won't touch this Witching Hour script, until there is a director attached (pray the guy doesn't want me around, and I have no contractual obligation to touch it anyway) because I feel the narrative links of this script are utterly tight, it is a powerfully coherent story, and I'm not about to start hacking at it in Hollywood committee style just to make it 'short.'"
The screenplay is inscribed by Anne Rice to Brian Robertson, a young fan who became a friend of Rice and whom she describes on her website as "a very dear friend of mine [...] Brian has had quite an influence on my work the last two years. [...] Brian is one of the most brilliant people I've ever met. I'm very devoted to Brian -- I consider him my nephew!"
A singular copy of a truly unique, unpublished Anne Rice item which has never been offered for sale and has never been offered at auction.
THE FRUSTRATING HOLLYWOOD STORY OF THE FILM VERSION OF THE WITCHING HOUR
In February, 1992 Entertainment Weekly published this news item: "Spellbound by occult writer Anne Rice, producer David Geffen is turning her recent warlock novel, The Witching Hour, into a movie to be directed by Richard Donner (Lethal Weapon 3). The film may start shooting this summer. Rice's first novel, Interview With the Vampire (1976), might also make its way to the screen. The book has been optioned for a dozen years in vain, but Geffen, who now owns the rights, vows, 'It's going to happen and it's going to be epic. Just wait.'"
In subsequent issues of "Commotion Strange," Rice's newsletter to her readers, and in messages posted on her website for her fans, she has responded over the years to repeated questions regarding the lack of progress in turning her optioned novels into films. Interview With the Vampire, optioned by Paramount before the book was published in 1976, was not made into a film until 1994, eighteen years later! The following are quotes from Rice on the ever-languishing screenplay of The Witching Hour (which also incorporated the storyline of Lasher).
"I have written the screenplay for The Witching Hour for David Geffen. That means, I did get hired, I did get paid, they (Geffen and Warners) bought the rights to Lasher (I wasn't going to venture forth without Mona Mayfair and also without Lasher himself in the flesh). I have turned in my one and only draft. The draft. The author's vision. The movie according to Rice. The canonical version. What they will do with it is anybody's guess..." (Anne Rice, "Commotion Strange" newsletter, mid-to-late 90s).
"I am adamant that I won't touch this Witching Hour script, until there is a director attached (pray the guy doesn't want me around, and I have no contractual obligation to touch it anyway) because I feel the narrative links of this script are utterly tight, it is a powerfully coherent story, and I'm not about to start hacking at it in Hollywood committee style just to make it 'short' [.] I am the author of about 19 books now (I've lost count) and ONLY ONE FILM HAS EVER BEEN MADE BASED ON ONE OF MY NOVELS. Interview With the Vampire. It grossed (let's get really vulgar) over 200 million world wide before we even got to video, HBO and Cinemax. Yet Warner Bros has done nothing with the other four books by me which they own. In addition, they control another three books. Ah sigh! It's a world in which neither commerce nor art means anything logical ("Commotion Strange," 1996).
"Now, let me answer a question which you are bound to be asking-- where is The Vampire Lestat in Hollywood, where is The Witching Hour. The answer to that question is they are nowhere. [...] I doubt that the group who made Interview With the Vampire will ever come together again for a sequel to The Vampire Lestat. I mean, I can't see this. Everyone has gone off in a different direction. [...] It's something of a puzzle, because Interview With the Vampire was immensely successful. [...] I can't fault them for this, I can just say it's frustrating to me, because I love movies so much. It's frustrating that I've written 17 books, and that only one of them, really, has been made into a film" ("Commotion Strange," 1997).
"Many of you are sending me questions about this project. We were developing a 12 hour series based on the Witching Hour books for NBC Television. We had twelve hours of completed scripts done by a wonderful writer, John Wilder, and the invaluable enthusiasm of producer Mark Wolper. However NBC decided not to go forward with the project. It is possible that it will be set up at another network. And I will let you know if this happens. Our experience with NBC was fairly long and fairly good, and we did have high hopes for something wonderful there. However a new executive came in during development, and as often happens in these situations, he was not a reader of the books, and the enthusiasm for the project was understandably diminished. Thanks for your interest in this. And who knows what will happen?" (Anne Rice, from her official website, annerice.com, this message dated 2005).
"With regard to The Witching Hour, we have come close to having a filmed version. The first time was with Warner Brothers in the early 1990's, but this production was stopped by the studio when Interview with the Vampire went into production. Later on, we had considerable interest from NBC in making a mini-series of The Witching Hour for television, but after three scripts and many meetings, this production was scrapped as well. We were all very disappointed" (from annerice.com, this message dated 2009).
"There are talks going on with regard to the Witching Hour and the Mayfairs as well. We will eventually see a film or a TV series of high quality. But again, it's too early to say what will happen. When I have firm info, when decisions have been made, when there is a producer, director, etc. I will post the news here" (posted by Anne Rice on her Facebook wall, June 2010).
As of late-2011, no further progress on this project has been announced.
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