Paul Wood from Essex, England writes:
I contribute to a Drew Barrymore fan site (The Drew Barrymore Collective). I was looking for updates on Barbarella because that’s the film I want to see more than any other. Would you be so kind as to give us an update on how the script is coming along? I’d be interested to know how far along the line the production process is and if the film is still on the cards.
Alas, unfortunately, all of the cards have been played. The project is dormant, and quite possibly dead.
To briefly recap the tumultuous history of Barbarella:
Drew asked me to write Barbarella while I was working on the first Charlie’s Angels. Being a huge fan of Drew and the original Barbarella, I said yes immediately. This was in 2000.
The underlying rights have always been a mess. Ultimately, Fox 2000 and Warner Bros. agreed to pool their respective rights and develop the project together.
Based on the rights they owned, the studios could develop a movie featuring the Barbarella character, but not the plot of the first movie. This wasn’t really much a problem, though, because it’s not like the original movie had a masterful plot anyway.
I turned in my first draft in April 2001, and my second draft later that year.
I flew to France and met with Michel Gondry, who was Drew’s first choice to direct it. But he really wanted her for another movie (which hasn’t been made yet).
Everyone got busy. I did the second Charlie’s Angels with Drew. Laura Ziskin, the other producer on the movie, did Spider-Man.
In 2003, we got everyone back together to figure out what the next step was on Barbarella. Unfortunately, we learned that the rights situation had gotten much more complicated. Unless we could get the movie into production within the next nine months, everything would fall apart. We couldn’t, so…
Everything fell apart.
Now the script is in limbo. Unless someone budges, the movie can’t be made because it involves a character we no longer own. It would be a good writing sample for me, except that I have actual produced movies people can see.
So that’s the sad history of Barbarella. Hopefully, something will change and Barbarella will get her day in the sun.