Review: Tales from Development Hell

By David Hughes

Titan Books, out now

The films we didn’t quite see: a collection of what might have been.

The 2012 update of David Hughes’s intriguing look behind the scenes at Hollywood and the film industry will be a must-buy for anyone who’s not already got the first edition. It’s a fascinating and well-researched account of the true stories behind some of the best known films of the past few years, with script critiques and plenty of information that allows the reader to make their own judgements on how stupid the parties involved were to pass on the various versions that were prepared.

The earlier chapters are all suitably updated, and two extras are added: the first is an account of the trials and tribulations affecting a remake of the 1966 film Fantastic Voyage (the one with Raquel Welch in the wetsuit, for those needing an immediate visual reminder). Stylistically, this is in keeping with the rest of the book, although perhaps lacking in some of the detail about the more recent developments.

The second is Hughes’s account of his own problems in development hell. Lacking the objectivity of the earlier chapters, there’s a little too much name-dropping and self-promotion, which is unfortunate as the switch in point-of-view could have been more revealing had someone else penned that chapter with Hughes as the interviewee.

However, that should not be allowed to detract from the excellent work that is in the rest of the volume. Recommended.  8/10

Raine Rodeaux

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