John Carpenter Wrote a Script for ‘Judgment Night’


Director Stephen Hopkins dropped this fun little nugget at the Q+A following the 25th-anniversary screening of his Judgment Night at the ongoing Cinepocalypse film festival here in Chicago.  According to the filmmaker, the producers had wanted to create a film in the spirit of The Warriors and had commisioned several screenplays. One of the writers: John Carpenter. No word on what it was about, but it’s interesting to think what would have happened if they moved forward with a Carpenter-penned version of Judgment Night.

The 1993 masterpiece, about four friends who get lost in the streets of Chicago on their way to a boxing match, boasted one of cinemas best ensembles: Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jeremy Piven, and Stephen Dorff, with Denis Leary making his feature debut as the film’s antagonist.

ALSO READ: Kevin Spacey and John Travolta Could Have Starred in Judgment Night

“I’d done Predator 2 with Larry Gordon and Joel Silver, who were partners at the time; shortly afterward, they had a very bitter split. Larry Gordon started his own production company called Largo [Entertainment], and I think [Judgment Night] was the first film to come out of that,” Hopkins told the audience at the Q+A.

“They’d actually been wanting to make this film for a long time, and there were all sorts of scripts, from people like John Carpenter and Gary Cunningham – different versions that involved bikers in the desert of LA, and things like that. I was given a lot of scripts, and it was quite a long process. We wanted to work hard to get it right, and not make it about something that wasn’t just about rape – a lot of these urban stories are about that.

“There were months and months of script meetings – there were rooftop motorcycle chases, but we ended up in a grittier vibe. It was interesting for me, because I’d only just made sci-fi movies at that point; I wanted to try something more realistic.” (Thanks to CoS for the transcription.)

Unfortunately, Judgment Night would bomb at the box office after being pulled from theaters following a widely publicized shooting. 25 years later, we can appreciate the classic it has become.


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