The Purge: Anarchy, From The Mind That Brought You the Robin Williams Comedy Jack

by on 07/11/2014

So, the Purge, and its upcoming sequel The Purge: Anarchy, are brutal, non-stop thrillrides in a world where mercy and compassion are supposed to be switched off and all crime is legal for one night. The guy that wrote that must have cut his teeth on Fangoria, nursed on fake blood, and spent his career making more and more brutal horror, right?

Uh, no.

As Mike Ryan of Screencrush found out, Purge director and writer James DeMonaco broke into Hollywood with the sweeet/sad Robin Williams comedy Jack, which is about as 10 year old boy trapped in a 40-year-old body and all of the wistful silliness that implies.

“I wrote a short film, it won the student Academy Award,” says DeMonaco, “and we got William Morris to represent us. I had a trunk of crime thrillers, but they needed something for him that was more in line with the short film — this sweet, Chris Columbus thing. So, they’re like, ‘You need to write something quick … write a script in 20 days.’

It only took DeMonaco 17 days, and the cute script started a bidding war and a fight between A-List actors to play Jack. Kevin Costner, John Travolta, and Eddie Murphy were involved, but Williams won out. Francis Ford Coppola directed.

The final film made money, but was torn apart by critics. Fortunately, DeMonaco had sold one of his crime thrillers, which was made into The Negotiator, so Jack didn’t kill his career, which worked out for horror fans.

The Purge: Anarchy opens July 18 in the U.S. and July 25 in the UK.

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