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Exclusive : Cop 4 writer talks!

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We haven’t heard much on the “Beverly Hills Cop 4” front lately have we? It’s actually gone so quiet on the Axel front that one could only presuppose the project had gone the way of a squished poodle. With their choca-bloc schedules, I too assumed Ratner and Murphy had simply decided to let the project thaw for a while. But talking to screenwriter Derek Haas, who with Michael Brandt has penned the latest draft of the long-gestating sequel, seems everything is still on track. But don’t ask him for a start date.

‘’We’re working on the second draft and then we’ll see’’, Haas, who also wrote “Wanted” and “3:10 to Yuma” tells Moviehole. “As I’m sure you know, nothing is ever certain in Hollywood.”

There have been quite a few drafts of “Beverly Hills Cop 4” over the years – in one Axel went to London to work with Scotland Yard, in another Billy and Taggatt (returning to the force after deciding retirement wasn’t for him) head to Detroit to help Axel catch a mobster – but Haas hasn’t read any of them.

‘’We’ve never seen a previous draft so have no idea what they had before’’, he says.

Haas and Brandt were given free-reign to do whatever they wanted with Foley. In fact, their script didn’t even start out as a ”Beverly Hills Cop” film.

‘’Michael and I wrote a spec script called Dying Day, a dark action movie about two FBI field agents in LA who discover their whole office is crooked. Paramount bought it and asked us to convert it into the next Axel Foley movie… which sounded like a cool challenge.. Someone at a different website reviewed our first draft of the [Beverly Hills Cop] script and railed on it for not having any jokes. No shit! Like with the first Beverly Hills Cop, we’re writing a straight up action movie that works as a police thriller, then Eddie Murphy is going to come in later and point out where he thinks he can riff. We haven’t gotten to that point yet.’’

Haas seems to have a good idea as to what makes a good sequel.

He explains, “I think you have to focus on the protagonist and set up a conflict based on or suggested by the first movie. You don’t sacrifice character just for bigger action or more special effects. You always start with character and say, “what does he want at the beginning of the film?” Then just tell a great story that doesn’t snub what came before it but builds on it.’’

And speaking of, what’s the latest on the recently-announced “Wanted” sequel? That, it seems, isn’t a question for Haas.

‘’We worked on a few story outlines but never wrote a draft of the sequel. I’m sure it’ll focus on Wesley [James McAvoy’s character]… but I honestly have no idea where they’re going to take the movie. Chris Morgan, a very talented writer, is writing the script.’’

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About Caffeinated Clint

The writer/publicist/producer who wears the editor hat on Moviehole. Favorite films include "Say Anything...", "The Hunt for Red October", "Jerry Maguire", "Almost Famous", "Die Hard", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "Young Guns", "American Psycho", "Back to the Future" and the "Star Wars" series.
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