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Screenwriter Michael France has passed way too early!

Published at: April 14, 2013, 5:28 p.m. CST

This one feels like a blow between the shoulder blades.

Hey folks, Harry here...   Michael France is one of my longest online associates.  He wrote the script for Renny Harlin and Sylvester Stallone's CLIFFHANGER - a film that I was a fan of, even if Lithgow is acting in a completely different movie.  And he wrote GOLDENEYE.   Then his career credits show that he wrote FANTASTIC FOUR, PUNISHER and THE HULK - but make no mistake about it - the films you saw with those names attached hold no semblence to the great scripts that France wrote for them.

Michael was a huge pop culture geek.   His scripts read like fevered comic book dream movies.   He understood the characters, the powers, the dynamic scale that they should be performing upon - and then people that did not understand those characters came on board and perverted his scripts into the shit we saw.   

Michael France is one of the reasons I read scripts.   Because sometimes, too often to mention, there are scripts that you'd kill to see get made.   That you'd read, repeatedly...   and then curse the producers, studios, directors and other writers that just didn't get it.

We live in slightly better times today.   People are starting to get the SUPERHERO movie, but nowhere near the badass level that France was playing.

When REVOLUTION STUDIOS offered me a producing gig, the second project that I had in development with Todd Garner over there was a film called SCALE.   It is based on an original concept I came up with that still tickles me to no end.   The writer that I wanted to work on it with was Michael France.   Michael and I got started on putting the treatment together - and when Joe Roth saw it he fretted that it would cost $200 million to make so it never went further.   But over the years, Michael and I would talk about that project - and the fact that he and I dreamt of making a CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN film.

Now, Michael was more than a cool screenwriter...   He had three kids he loved.   He owned the BEACH THEATER in the Tampa Bay area and ran it as a good film geek would.   Exhibiting not only mainstream, but classics that should be seen in a theater.  My thoughts are with his sister Suzanne who discovered Michael in his home.   

The sadness of this is that I had just written Michael last week.  Todd was wanting to revisit the SCALE Treatment and I was writing to see if Michael had toyed with it recently.   It was effortless to talk film, comics, fantasy and the fantastic with Michael.   Tampa Bay's paper has a nice write up you should check out!

Michael France

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