Christmas 2007 marked the end of a long, rocky road for the film “I Am Legend”. The film started development in 1995 after Mark Protosevich handed in a radically different draft from the film we finally saw on the screen. In fact, Protosevich had a story more closely resembling that of the original Richard Matheson story (which was a feat in and of itself, considering the property had already been twice adapted with “The Last Man On Earth” and “The Omega Man”), pitting Robert Neville against his original nemesis, Ben Cortman: his neighbor who became a baddie once he was converted. Years later, I Am Legend finally had its day and was met with moderate Box Office success.
Here now are 10 images that you’ve probably never seen before.
1. Ridley Scott’s I Am Legend
In 1997, Sir Ridley Scott was attached to direct the Protosevich draft of the script on behalf of Warner Brothers. What’s more, Arnold Schwarzenegger was supposed to star as Robert Neville, and the film was supposed to take place in San Francisco during the year 2000. Unfortunately, as things sometimes pan out in the business, this iteration of the project was canned due to budgetary constraints and the then current track record of Scott and Schwarzenegger. Which is a shame, because this draft had a lot of aspects that the book that would later go missing. Pictured above, and in the video included below, is the original makeup work from the legendary Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. that were proofs of concept for Sir Ridley’s vision of the “Hemocytes”. (No version of this project would use “vampires” as the villain, and even the subtitles in the finished film refer to these creatures as such.)
After Sir Ridley’s project was dropped, Rob Bowman and Michael Bay were courted over the years to help bring the film to fruition, ultimately landing with director Frances Laurence (of Constantine infamy) and a re-write by Akiva Goldsman after Will Smith had stayed attached to the project after Bay’s departure.
We are currently seeking Film contributors on WhatCulture. To find out more about the perks of being a Film contributor, click here.