Sunday, July 20, 2008

I'm Sorry, But WHO Wrote Timecop?

Probably seems silly to be "splitting hairs" over a writing credit from a 1994 Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, but...

Today's Los Angeles Times has a glowing profile of Dark Horse Comics/Entertainment chief Mike Richardson. It's a great piece and since Mike's one of my oldest friends, I couldn't be happier for his success. (Honest. This isn't one of those Hollywood "hoping the other guy fails" deals; Mike really deserves all the kudos in the world.) But in the article, the author claims that Mike "wrote" Timecop, and that's... not quite right.

If this seems like a sore point, you're right. And it leads to another strange, sad but curious story from my usually boring past. Way back in 1997, a fellow named Gary Devore disappeared while driving in the California desert. Devore was a successful screenwriter and his disappearance was very puzzling, because when he vanished, he vanished. No notes, no body, nothing. As time wore on, it got strange to the point that multiple scary/crazy conspiracy theories erupted. His body was finally discovered trapped inside his car in an aquaduct near Palmdale in 1998, and the mystery was sadly solved. It appeared that Devore had fallen asleep at the wheel and his car had crashed into some fairly deep water, where it lay out for view for almost a year.

But there was also this (clipped from Devore's IMDB page):

(Devore)...disappeared on June 28 after his car apparently slid off the road into a California Aqueduct where his body remained undiscovered for a year. His mysterious disappearance prompted an amateur sleuth to retrace his route (tracked by credit card receipts for gas and cell phone records) and contact the California Highway Patrol with his theory of running off into the canal. The CHP was initially skeptical due to the lack of damage of the overpass' guard rails but they soon discovered pieces of auto body parts that matched his Ford. Divers were called in and his SUV was located in the canal.

The story of this prescient "sleuth" was yet another curious wrinkle, giving the tragedy a little extra "oomph" in the local news cycle.

At any rate, this very sad and tragic event was quite the news-story at the time. And what does ANY of this have to do with me and TIMECOP? Well... because Devore had done a dialogue pass on TIMECOP the movie, somehow that became the credit that kept being mentioned when the case hit the news. In fact, when Devore's body was finally discovered, I received several panicked calls from friends wondering if I were, well, "deceased," since all they'd heard in the promos for the news shows was "Timecop Writer Found Dead."

At any rate, and since I have the carpel tunnel to prove it, yours truly wrote the first FIVE drafts of TIMECOP the movie, as well as all the comic book scripts. Mike Richardson and I co-created the story, which is why we share a story credit on the movie, while I have sole screenplay credit. We kibitzed constantly during the scripting, but the guy with his fingers at the keys was moi. And if the author of the L.A. Times article had, oh, CHECKED THE ACTUAL CREDITS (and bought a DVD while he was at it, I could use the residuals!), perhaps this small fact wouldn't have eluded his attention.

But at least he didn't credit it to poor Gary Devore...