The original script for The Fugitive had a touch of villain for Tommy Lee Jones – /Film

According to hindsight, producer Arnold Kopelson had been trying to finish a “Fugitive” movie for a long, long time and had managed to rack up 25 different drafts in the previous five years alone. Harrison Ford had already been cast as Dr. Kimble, but “The Fugitive” still had no script or director. However, when Ford saw Andrew Davis’s “Under Siege” one weekend in 1992, Davis was immediately hired. Davis recalled that his meetings with Kopelson were great, but that the script he was given was, to use his words, “terrible.” In the 25th draft, Davis revealed, Gerard was the villain. It seems that the extensive rewrites leading up to draft 25 deviated quite a bit from the original material. Davis explained:

“[Gerard had] he hired the one-armed man to kill Kimble, after Kimble botched an operation on Gerard’s wife. […] It did not make sense. But Harrison had committed to the movie and his point of view was, ‘Hey, we’ll fix the script.'”

And fix it they did. Davis immediately dismissed the idea that Gerard should be the villain, as well as the idea that Kimble had done something terribly wrong to justify revenge. In fact, with a heroic actor like Ford in the title role, Davis felt that Dr. Kimble should remain a fair and innocent character, which made the eventual murder accusation all the more shocking. Davis called her sister Josie, a nurse, and she suggested the subject of the film. Davis recalled:

“I said, ‘Josie, what could a doctor do that would get him in a lot of trouble?’ She spoke to a bright young resident at her hospital, who said: ‘What if there’s a dangerous new drug on the market and the doctor says this drug is nonsense?’ So, that became the plot.”

A wise change.

Leave a Comment