Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 11th, 2008
Film historian Tom Weaver is passing along the sad news to celebrity obituary sites that the Writers Guild has confirmed the death of Creature from the Black Lagoon scripter Arthur Ross on November 11, 2008.
Arthur Ross is credited as the major author of the screenplay for Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and a writer on The Creature Walks Among Us (1956).
This significant death of the scriptwriter for this classic movie comes at the same time there are more leaks regarding a remake.
Arthur’s son, Gary Ross, is now the writer and producer of a new production of Creature From The Black Lagoon, which is due to begin shooting in 2009. Gary Ross is best known for directing the films Pleasantville and Seabiscuit.
Writer George Roush, during an exclusive interview at Latinoreview, actually confirmed what many of us here know, the origin of the first film is via a “darling of cryptozoology.”
You will recall that the underlying plot of the original film is of a geology expedition uncovering on a Amazonian riverbank a fossil of a reptilian skeletal hand with webbing between the fingers. The scientists feel this demonstrates a link between land and aquatic animals.
Gary Ross said: “It’s not like the original, it’s not, my Dad wrote the original, so it’s not a reference to what the original is. We take it sort of seriously. We found some scientific under pinnings for it, which my Dad actually felt in the original. In fact, he based it on a lung fish that was found around that time. So a lot of that was his.”
What the younger Ross is referring to, of course, is the media frenzy in 1952 caused by the search for and discovery of the “second” coelacanth. The coelacanth is the inspiration for Creature from the Black Lagoon, which was released in 1954.
Part of the recent history of the movie’s development, in October 2005, is that Breck Eisner signed on as director for the new version of Creature from the Black Lagoon. Gary Ross said in March 2007 that the movie’s origin would be reinvented, with the creature being the result of a pharmaceutical corporation polluting the Amazon.
The film was delayed by the 2007-08 Writers Guild of America strike, and once Eisner finishes filming another project, he will begin filming Creature from the Black Lagoon in Manaus, Brazil and on the Amazon River in Peru. Eisner continues to rewrite the script, which will be a summer blockbuster full of “action and excitement, but [still] scary.”
Eisner spent six months designing the new incarnation of the Gillman with Mark McCreery (Jurassic Park designer). The director said the design was “very faithful to the original, but updated”, and that the Gillman will still be sympathetic.