Welcome to Script to Pieces, a recurring feature at Wicked Horror where we look at the best, most interesting, and at times most unbelievable horror movies that never happened. Sometimes these will be productions that never came together at all, other times, they will be original incarnations that were completely different from what we wound up with. Each should be fascinating in its own way, because the stories of movies that never see the light of day can sometimes be even more interesting than the stories of those that do.
Well, it looks like the new Friday the 13th is finally gearing up to film—although I guess anything could happen at this point—and that means it’s time to take a look at one of the many, many projects that didn’t happen. In particular, this new Friday seems to be doing entirely its own thing. So why not take a trip back to 2009, when the reboot hit theaters and did well enough to warrant a sequel. There was plenty of talk at the time that we’d see that follow-up by 2011 at the latest.
And for awhile, things seemed to be progressing really well. Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, who had previously written both the 2009 movie and Freddy vs. Jason, returned to write a direct sequel to the reboot that would place Jason in an environment that he had somehow never encountered over the course of twelve films: the snow.
Even before there was talk of a found footage Friday the 13th, Fuller and Form had their fingers on the pulse of the theatrical gimmicks of the time. Found footage hadn’t quite taken off yet, so instead there was talk of possibly shooting the sequel in 3D—a move that the series had obviously pulled before in Part 3, the movie that gave Jason his mask.
The issue with 3D, according to Fuller & Form, would have been getting the bigger budget to shoot in 3D. While the reboot did well enough in theaters to warrant a sequel, it didn’t do well enough for a bigger budget than the original. It had a strong opening weekend, but a huge drop off after that.
While the producers remained fairly hush on what the story would actually be in the script they were developing at that time, they talked quite a bit about how they planned to fix what they considered to be a major issue with the reboot. “If we were vulnerable in Friday the 13th, I think our vulnerability is people think our kills were not clever enough.”
Almost immediately, nearly every report on this film—and there were many—became conflicting. Fuller and Form started saying that it would not be 3D, it would not be set in the snow and while they hoped for an August 13th, 2010 release date, the movie was nowhere even close to being green lit.
“No, I can tell you this, the movie itself will not take place in the snow. I don’t want to sit in Winnipeg with him for two months in the snow. We did that once, I don’t want to do it again,” Fuller said in an interview with Collider. This is interesting, because Shannon and Swift have said that their draft was set during the winter. So while that script exists, it sounds like it was never seriously considered, even before it was written.
In April of 2010, Brad Fuller officially took to twitter to call the project dead. When asked its status, he simply replied “Dead—not happening.”
During this time, of course, Platinum Dunes remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street hit theaters and failed to win over fans, critics, or audiences. Realizing they had an even less lucrative new franchise in Elm Street, they revisited the well of Friday the 13th. By February of 2011, they announced that the script by Shannon and Swift had been completed, but New Line was not yet ready to move forward on the project.
Things got even more complicated in 2013, when Warner Bros licensed out the Friday the 13th title to Paramount in exchange for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. Shannon & Swift’s script was long gone by this point and eventually Hannibal scribe Nick Antosca turned in a draft that, while it has gained positive buzz, was also eventually rejected. By that point, however, the idea of making a direct sequel to the 2009 movie had been totally retired.
This new film, should it see completion, will stand completely on its own. While the idea of Derek Mears’ Jason picking off stranded hikers in the snow would have been interesting, it’s hard to tell at this point if anything like that was ever seriously considered.
With all of the different writers, directors and overall story ideas that have come and gone on this project, we’ll be lucky enough at this point just to get another Friday the 13th at all.