Early Contact screenwriter on the George Miller version that could have been

Contributed by
Apr 29, 2016, 3:30 PM EDT

Before Robert Zemeckis signed on for the twisty sci-fi flick Contact back in the mid 1990s, George Miller was attached to do his own version of the story. So, what could’ve been?

Mark Lamprell , who worked on an early version of the script with Menno Meyjes when Miller was still attached, chatted with IF Magazine about the early versions of that script and how it was reworked/abandoned once Miller left the project. It seems this early version of the script was more “ambitious” than what eventually made it to the screen. Long story short: Miller wanted additional time to work on the film, so the studio balked and brought in Zemeckis for a faster turnaround.

Here’s an excerpt from Lamprell’s comments:

"Our screenplay was greenlit and all ready to go, and then I think George wanted an extension to make it properly, and the studio wouldn't give it to him. They fired him and put Robert Zemeckis in charge. In a few shocking days, we went from being a greenlit movie to it all going away. After that, I remember I was quite devastated. It was a much more interesting screenplay, and I think George would say this too.

Because of my Jesuit connections I was able to get all those amazing Jesuit scientists in, to talk to us about how you operate as a man of faith in the world of science. We were having really interesting conversations, and Carl [Sagan] was thrilled to be having those. It wasn't about being populist or talking down to an audience. Not that Contact necessarily did that, but ours was much more ambitious intellectually. I guess it sits there somewhere in a drawer at (production house) Kennedy Miller gathering dust."

Oh, and one casting note: Miller is the one who actually cast Jodie Foster in the lead, but he was pursuing Ralph Fiennes for the male supporting role that eventually went to Matthew McConaughey. Again, just interesting.

It's not that Contact was a bad film in any way, but it’s fascinating to look back and wonder what Miller could’ve done with the subject matter.

(Via IF Magazine)