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A Gargoyles Live-Action Movie

In light of the release of the X-MEN movie I thought it would be appropriate to discuss a possible Gargoyles Live-Action Movie.

As most of you know, Disney/Touchstone has literally been developing this for years. So far with no success. But they're still plugging away at it and have hired a new screenwriter recently. I think the success of X-Men may help light a fire under them too.

But let me tell you a story. It was 1995. A Touchstone Executive named Todd Garner wanted to develop the Gargoyles series as a live-action feature. He was told he'd have to deal with Gary Krisel who, as President of Walt Disney TV Animation, had the property under his domain. Gary, in turn, strongly suggested that Todd develop the property with a couple of writers who were familiar with it: Greg Weisman & Michael Reaves. So Touchstone made a deal with Michael and I. We would be "co-producers" of the film. And they gave us a shot at writing the treatment, i.e. the outline for the story. We did that, more or less. Our approach was rejected, more or less, by Todd's bosses at Touchstone. Todd started us on a new approach. Then Gary Krisel announced he was leaving Disney. Very quickly, Michael and I were moved off the project. We're still "co-producers". But that means next-to-nothing. Todd's no longer at Touchstone. In fact, the projects gone through at least five executives I can think of and six writers that I know of. But I'm not exactly in the loop. Still I have a pleasant enough relationship with Jim Wedaa, who's working with the movie's attached producer. So I call him for updates periodically. He promises that if they ever get a script they like, they'll send it to me. I'm not holding my breath. But you never know.

Anyway, I thought it might be an interesting subject of discussion to reveal what Michael & I had planned for the movie. I feel safe revealing this, since I know it's not going to be used.

Keep in mind, we all felt that we needed to start the continuity over from scratch. The series (which was still in production at the time) would have it's own continuity. The movie continuity would exist in a kind of parallel universe. Hopefully, it would all be emotionally the same. But details would differ. We wanted to simplify the complex plotting a bit. (Not make it unintelligent, just clean it up a bit.) We wanted to leave room open for sequels. But we wanted to tell one GREAT story, as if we'd only ever get one shot.

That story would, more or less, be AWAKENING.

But we made some changes.

For starters, we put Macbeth in charge of Castle Wyvern. In one version he had the Magus by his side. In another, the Archmage. In yet a third, we made Macbeth himself a bit of a sorceror king. At any rate, Katharine became his daughter. I know this sounds treasonous. But doing this allowed us to simplify all sorts of backstory, and allowed us (at least in the nefarious backs of our minds) to plan for a Macbeth sequel. And an Avalon sequel with Katharine and the eggs.

We also were forced to ditch the notion of the Gargoyles not having names. There wasn't time to explore it unfortunately, and it is a complicated idea. Goliath remained Goliath. Demona was Angel. Lexington became Alexander (but still Lex for short). Hudson became "Mentor" in one draft. "Soldier" in another. And a fifth prominent character was Othello. Brooklyn, Bronx and Broadway had cameos in the eleventh century flashback that more-or-less opened the film.

Once we got to the present, we had Xanatos, Sevarius and Owen. They awaken three gargoyles: Goliath, Lex and Othello. They tell them that as far as they know these three are the only three that survived. Elisa is introduced, but she doesn't meet Goliath right away. She investigates a number of strange incidents and mysterious reports (with Matt's help and under Chavez's command). She discovers the secret of the Gargoyles over time. Then Elisa and Goliath both take time to learn to trust each other. The whole Cyberbiotics plot is there but simplified. Demona resurfaces and basically becomes the main villain in the movie. (In an earlier draft, we saved her to be a main villain in a sequel.) Othello doesn't fair too well in the present. (Thus setting up a possible Coldstone sequel.) Xanatos runs a whole series of tests on Goliath, (setting up a Thailog sequel). Goliath, Elisa and Lex manage to triumph over their opponents (which included Steel Clan Robots and Xanatos in his Gargoyle-Armor). In the epilogue, they find a cache of additional undestroyed gargoyles: Hudson/Mentor/Soldier, Brooklyn, Broadway and Bronx (and in one draft, Angel/Demona). The movie ends on a hopeful note as these new Gargs are awakened.

Obviously, I'm not attempting to tell a coherent story above, but to show you what our strategy was. We were going to start over. Use a clean, straightforward story. Focus on the KEY Goliath/Elisa relationship. Intro elements that could be used for sequels but didn't require you to already know history. And didn't distract from the single big story we were trying to tell in THIS movie. There'd be a lot of tasty tidbits for diehard fans of the show. But we'd still have a brand new story that a new audience could follow.

That was the plan.

Of course, I have no idea what Touchstone's current plan is. But no matter what they do, I'm rooting for the movie. Because that movie is the surest way for us to get the series back on the air.

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Laura aka 'ad astra' writes...

Glad to see Ask Greg running again! I had downloaded the old archives, (or most of them) sometime last year. I checked periodically and it seemed the page was down. I gave up on the Ask Greg page and only checked it again on a lark. It took me weeks to read through everything!

Oh, a question-

You seem to have a much more optimistic view on the series coming back then when last I checked in. Has something changed? To be more precise- Before you seemed to say "long shot at best for the series in any form, even the live action movie seems dead". Now the movie doesn't sound dead, and the long term revival hopes good, (lost the quote, sorry). I am much heartened, and almost as curious.

I have many more questions to follow, but for now I want to say thank you for doing this, and thanks to Gorebash for running it.

Greg responds...

The movie isn't a lost cause. It hasn't progressed an inch really, but normally after this much time that would result in its death. They'd give up. But they absolutely haven't given up. In fact, they've just hired a NEW writer. Touchstone/Disney REALLY, REALLY wants to make this movie. So that keeps me optimistic. (And the success of X-Men doesn't hurt either.)

I don't love that Toon Disney is editing episodes and refuses to air "Deadly Force". But they ARE airing the show about twice a day. That gives me hope.

I haven't given up in any way, shape or form. I'm still in there trying to come up with ways to bring the show back in some, well, way, shape or form. In fact, I've got a new nefarious plan in the works now with Doug Murphy, a former GARGOYLES (and BAD GUYS) storyboard artist. Too soon to talk about now, but give me time.

The response here at ASK GREG is overwhelming. That means fan interest still exists. And I'm VERY heartened by the continuing success of the GATHERINGS. That gives me hope.

In fact, people ask me what they can do to help bring the show back, and what has become clear to me is that the best single way a fan can help is by attending one or more GATHERINGS. Aside from the sheer FUN FACTOR of the convention, it is the raw numbers in attendance that will help me prove to the powers that be at Disney that the show is still viable and ready to return. Come to Orlando next month. PLEASE. It's gonna be GREAT. Guests include myself, Thom Adcox, Brad Rader and Greg Guler.

And without doubt, plan to come to next years GATHERING in Los Angeles. I guarantee we will have over twenty members of the cast and crew in attendance. And if the fan attendance numbers are big enough, we will bring Disney Execs and show them first hand the opportunity they are missing out on. Do NOT MISS THAT ONE if you want to see the show back on the air.

Response recorded on July 18, 2000

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Bubbles writes...

Hey I'm a realy big fan of Gargoyles and I have two questions.
1. I was just wondering if it were true that there is a Gargoyle movie being made?

2. Do you think that Disney or who ever will ever ask you and your crew to make Gargoyles again?

Thanks for you time!

Greg responds...

1. Yes. It's in development at Touchstone pictures. They have a new writer, Simon Kinberg, who should turn in a first draft script in October.

2. I hope so. I think so too.

Response recorded on July 17, 2000

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Lee writes...

For the upcomeing live action movie of GARGOYLES who would you chose as director? I would say Steven Spielberg or George Lucas

Greg responds...

I definitely would NOT chose either of those talented men. Personally, I would pick Jonathan Frakes. I thought STAR TREK: GENERATIONS was very well made. And I'd love to have someone directing the movie who actually gave a damn about where the thing came from. Just my opinion.

Response recorded on July 10, 2000

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Carissa writes...

Hey Greg,

I love the gargoyles and I realy miss them. I havent missed a day of them since I found out the were on toon disney. I just want to ask if Gargoyles on a scale between 1-10, 10 being the highest, will be coming back anytime in the near future?
And what's this talk of the gargoyle movie?
Please write back thanks.

Greg responds...

Define "near" future? Like in the next couple years. I'd give it a zero chance. Cuz it ain't in production and it takes time to launch (or relaunch) any show. If you mean sometime, than I think the chances go up to eight or so.

Touchstone is developing a live action film based on the gargoyles. They've been at it for years. They haven't given up. But they haven't put it into production either.

Response recorded on June 29, 2000

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Robin Wynn writes...

Ok..this is probably a false alarm, and I'll probably know the answer before you have a chance to answer, or even see this post, but, I was on a page called "Ain't it Cool News". Don't know if you've ever heard of it, but it's a very reliable page of Movie news and reviews. I was reading an article about who was going to be playing Anakin in the next Star Wars movie (or at least who the latest rumour was), and at the end of the article, the guy who runs the page continued to talk about what he was going to be up to next. After talking about a few movies he said (and I quote:)
"THE FINAL APOCRYPHA: THE RETURN OF THE GARGOYLES which is supposed to be a damn kickass film."
That's all he said about it, but the mention of Gargoyles, naturally, got my attention. So...what do you think? Could it be the movie we've all been waiting for? Probably not huh? oh well...it sounds interesting anyway...

Greg responds...

I have no idea.

Response recorded on March 25, 2000

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Alan Coleman Waltrip writes...

Okay... I know people have asked you this 1,001 times, but it's about a book deal... I mean, Disney does own a publishing company... hell, they more or less own the world. I feel the only reason they don't approach you for anything is that Disney is falling futhur and futhur towards simply a children's media outlet. Think about it, Princess Monoke and Fatasia 2000 were either hardly advertised or shown in such limited release that no one was able to see it. They denounced Kevin Smith's Dogma (which was originally produced under Miramax), which is one of the greatest films I've ever seen.

So, why don't you think the Disney executives don't try to target a more adult audience? Sure, there are early to mid 1990s shows and movies (The Lion King, Gargoyles, to name a few) that do appeal to a more adult audience, but with things coming out such as The Tigger Movie, I don't think Disney realizes what they're missing out on.

Okay, so that was more of a rant than a question, but I'd still like to hear your response...

Greg responds...

I'd like to rant and rave, but it's of limited value. Certain projects are targeted to certain markets. It's ridiculous to think of the Tigger Movie as proof of anything vis-a-vis Gargoyles -- as if we weren't making episodes of Winnie the Pooh at the same time we were making Gargoyles, at the same time we were making Schnookums & Meat, etc.

I haven't seen Dogma, so I can't comment on that, and I also haven't seen Sixth Sense, which was a Touchstone film, but from what I understand, that was a fairly intelligent movie targeted at a non-kid audience. And they're still developing the Garg live-action movie, so they haven't exactly given up on squeezing a dime outta the property.

Disney sees a value in Gargoyles, but not the value. We aim to change their mind. At this moment, for no particular reason, I'm confident that we will eventually succeed.

Response recorded on March 21, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

So, what movie do you think deserves to win the Oscar this year? :-)

Greg responds...

What's nominated?

Response recorded on March 19, 2000

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Adan Rodriguez writes...

I was seeing possible upcomming movies on the web and saw Gargoyles as one of them and being live action is this true.

Greg responds...

Possibly. Try checking out the "LIVE ACTION MOVIE" archive below for the most up-to-date info I have. Which isn't much.

Response recorded on March 09, 2000

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David writes...

Hey there Greg,

I just want to say first that the show Gargoyles is the best cartoon show ever and it´s also so much more than a cartoon show, thank you for making these shows!

Now for my quiestion: I don´t now much about the movie that is being made but I´ve been wanting to ask you, is it a cartoon or not? And also is about the Gargoyles story that is in all the shows about the Gargoyles or something else?

Thank you for your time.

P.S. Hey did you now that The Gargoyles have got fans here in my country(Iceland)? It´s a little island in Europe. Anyway it shows that the shows are great and will hopefully come some time again!(We can only hope!)

Greg responds...

I'm greatful for all our fans all over the world. Thanks for the kind words.

I really have nothing new to say about the movie, so you should check the "Live-Action Movie" archive for all my old responses.

But briefly, it's live action with CGI. And I can't tell you how closely they're sticking to our stories. I don't know if they have an approved script. But if they do, they have not shown it to me.

I'll try to get some more information in time for G2000 in Orlando.

Response recorded on February 09, 2000

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