How Bill Lustig’s True Romance almost happened

While many credit True Romance as being the breakout for then-screenwriter Quentin Tarantino, the film almost had a completely different look and director.

Before the late Tony Scott took the helm it was actually Bill Lustig, director of Maniac and Maniac Cop who was going to direct.

Around this time Lustig was having issues with the production of Maniac Cop 3, which ultimately saw him quit before it was finished, leaving producer Joel Soisson to finish the film.

Scott Spiegel was brought onto that [production to add bits into Larry Cohen’s unfinished script and get the film over the line. Spiegel was looking to work with Lustig again and initially this was going to be on True Romance, before Tarantino chose to work with Scott instead.

Tarantino told Deadline, regarding Spiegel,

“He read it (True Romance), and he really, really liked it and couldn’t quite get it out of his head. He had a deal with Cinetel then, so he showed it to the people there and bought it. They were going to make it, with William Lustig.”

Lustig told DailyGrindhouse.com,

“I had acquired the script and done some re-writes with Roger Avery, and I was in active pre-production on the film.”

The Head of Development at Cinetel had other plans, with an eye on Scott to direct True Romance, after Tarantino met him on the set of The Last Boy Scout.

The mind boggles at what Lustig’s take would have been on Tarantino’s script, given his previous work on films such as Maniac Cop 2 and Vigilante, which showed a real flair for gritty action alongside gory horror (in Maniac Cop’s case).

Do you think Bill Lustig would have been a good choice for True Romance? Let us know in the comments.

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