|John Landis and Tom Stoppard Correspondence Regarding Clue Movie Script - 1982, 1983|
In late 1982, John Landis attempted to persuade Tom Stoppard, a noted script writer who later wrote Shakespeare in Love, to write the movie Clue. The following copied materials provide insight into this process.
1) Dated October 24, 1982, a six page letter written on TWA - In Flight stationary from John Landis to Tom Stoppard praises his earlier work and asks what it will take to have Stoppard write Clue. Landis promises to call him in a week to discuss the matter further.
2) Dated January 22, 1983, a two page telegram from Sean Daniel, the executive vice president of Universal Studios in charge of overseeing the production of Clue, to Tom Stoppard as a letter of introduction and includes details in regard to a meeting set with John Landis for the weekend of February 5th and 6th. Note: Clue was eventually produced through Paramount Pictures.
3) Dated January 26, 1983, a one page telegram from Sean Daniel to Tom Stoppard confirming flight, car, and hotel arrangements for the meeting with John Landis.
4) Dated February 22, 1983, a one page letter written on Universal Studios stationary from Jill Craven to Tom Stoppard reimbursing $2937.33 for airfare for the meeting with John Landis as well as requests completion of a MCA employee data form.
5) Dated March 6, 1983, a four page letter written on La Sumanna hotel stationary from John Landis reassuring Tom Stoppard (who is apparently having difficulty with the script). Landis mentions having his secretary send a copy of a transcript of their meeting. He further suggests that perhaps the crimes of the movie are unsolvable - "Kafka meets the 3 stooges". He further asks if moving the location of the movie back to England (or Bombay, Hong Kong, Detroit, Paris, Golders Green) would make it easier.
6) Dated March 11, 1983, a nine page transcript of a conversation between John Landis and Tom Stoppard regarding "Clue". The transcript basically consists of John Landis explaining the movie to Stoppard. He has the story pretty much worked. It was to be a country-house sort of mystery which follows pretty closely to the end-result movie. Some of the differences include:
7) Dated March 22, 1983, a two page letter from Tom Stoppard. Stoppard writes that he has completed half of the script and is unhappy with the result. He did not like the way the story was progressing and found the set-up of the puzzle much more difficult than anticipated. He declines to finish the script pointing out that this is the first time he has not completed a project he has undertaken.
8) Dated April 4, 1983, a one page letter from John Landis to Tom Stoppard accepts Stoppard resignation from the project with great friendliness noting that "everything will be alright."