DEEP IMPACT (1998)
Steven Spielberg called me and said he would like me to write a movie that was inspired by When Worlds Collide. I loved When Worlds Collide. I saw it when I was eleven years old. I came out of the theater with a friend named Billy Robinson, and we stood on the street corner for hours talking about it. I had never in my life stood on a street corner for so long. We were totally immersed in trying to figure out the meaning of it all. It was the beginning of philosophy in my life. It changed me.
Steven is such an enthusiast. As we sat and talked about it, I realized I had an opportunity to bring that moment to another generation of moviegoers. That’s an incredible feeling—to be able to take a truly inspirational point in your life and pass it along in such a concrete way. So, I was very excited about that. Steven described his vision of the movie as seeing a bullet coming at the human race in slow motion, and watching the reaction. How do people react to the end of life? I hoped people would go into the movie with one world view and come out with another.
Steven and I spent time at his office and his home talking about what we wanted, about who these characters should be. But we knew we couldn’t make a movie about two planets on a collision course with the Earth, and trying to save humanity by flying 100 or so people to the rogue planet to start a new world [a la When Worlds Collide]. Even in the 1950s that felt kind of bogus. So we tried to figure out a more realistic scenario. I began months of research into what might really cause an extinction level event and was led to the comet that killed the dinosaurs. Why couldn’t that happen to us, I thought. And so Deep Impact was born.
- From an interview with Erik Bauer for Creative Screenwriting magazine