What did script writer William Hjortsberg have to say about LEGEND?

William Hjortsberg, the scriptwriter of the film LEGEND, was kind enough to talk to the maintainers of the LEGEND FAQ and reflect on a film that he helped Ridley Scott nurse along through 15 drafts over 4 years. He had this to say :

Hjortsberg was on the set for the first 3 months of shooting. He was involved in all of the rewrites and changes done to the script throughout the production.

He wrote the title crawl for the American version (which Mr. Hjortsberg himself felt was unnecessary) because he knew that if he didn't, someone else would.

The first line of the prologue from the American Version is "Once long ago, before there was such a thing as time, the world was shrouded in darkness." This was not the original opening line that Hjortsberg wrote. The original line was, "Once upon a time, before there was such a thing as time, the world was shrouded in darkness." This line, as originally written, would have been the opening sentence of a proposed LEGEND novel . The book would have encompassed the film storyline as well as expanding on it. There had been a book deal for LEGEND at one point but the deal fell apart.

He said that Ridley Scott had the most trouble with how he (Ridley) wanted to begin and end the film.

He confirmed that Alice Playten, who played Blix, dubbed all of Gump's (David Bennent's) lines because the Studio execs were afraid that Bennent's German accent would be hard for audiences to understand. This is also why Screwball calls Gump a "foreigner" right before they all go into the swamp and get attacked by Meg Mucklebones.

He said that after Ridley Scott showed Tom Cruise the Francois Truffaut film "The Wild Child", Cruise envisioned Jack as a "wild" forest boy. In fleshing out the Jack character, Cruise felt that some of Jack's lines were too sophisticated for the character that was evolving from the script to the screen. Hjortsberg worked with Cruise and changed some of Jack's lines to make them simpler and more realistic coming from this "wild" forest boy. During this process, Hjortsberg transferred some of his favorite lines from Jack's character to Lili's character.

Mr. Hjortsberg was very gracious in allowing the FAQ maintainers to interview him and we thank him for his time and for allowing us to put this information on the LEGEND FAQ web page.

Click below is visit LEGEND screenwriter William Hjortsbergs's website

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This page was last updated on May 28th, 2008.
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