This particular script was sold to Harry Saltzman (who wrote the original story and screenplay for the first two James Bond films) who, along with director John Glen, took the script to the West End for the filming. Saltzman found the script difficult to work with, as he felt that the script was a little too dark. The studio put the script up for auction, and it ended up coming to James Cameron. Cameron, who had seen the script, and thought it was too dark, bought the script. The original script was then rewritten again by Richard LaGravenese and scribe William Goldman. This rewrite was then sold to Michael Mann who then went on to remake the script for the film. The revised script was then sold back to the studio by me, who had now become a producer, and was produced by David Heyman with Michael Mann directing.
The original draft of the script was written in 1984 by me. It was shopped around to different producers and made the jump from development to production in a shorter time than most of them did. However, the moment the script was turned into a full-blown script, the studio's marketing department started to take notice of it.
Kevin Costner was offered the role of Eliot Ness based on his performance in the 1987 version of Dirty Harry (1988), but he turned it down. Kevin Costner finally got the role from The Untouchables (1987) (which did not involve even a cameo by Kevin Costner), which ended up costing him his Oscar for Best Actor, as Dirty Harry (1988) won that year.
This screenplay is the only version of Lethal Weapon that has ever been revealed by the author. The screenplay has been privately sold to over a dozen companies interested in developing it to motion picture format.
The Undisputed screenplay was written by Brian Helgeland, also the screenwriter of Lethal Weapon (1989). It was based on the series of books by Brett Morgen: The Jew of Toledo (1980), Devil in the White City (1987), Wild East (1991), and Dead Man Switching (1998).
The original screenplay by David Mamet of The Untouchables, 125 pages plus 25 rewrite pages. Mamet's holograph additions, deletions, and corrections are evident throughout as he advances the storyline to an interim stage that would be reworked further into the film form.