#93 - DOUBLE ACTION MAN (WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN) (late 80s/early 90s)
Erotic mystery-thrillers were all the rage in the late 1980s to early 1990s thanks to films such as FATAL ATTRACTION (1987) and BASIC INSTINCT (1992), so it isn’t a stretch to think the similarly tinged DOUBLE ACTION MAN sprung from there. The ironic thing is that despite being one of Joyner’s personal favorites of his unproduced scripts, it initially didn’t start with him and was written before the T&A thrillers were doing big business. “DOUBLE ACTION MAN was a script I wrote for an independent producer,” he reveals of the script initially written in 1986. “They had a script that was not good and they hired me and it was basically a case of ‘guys, you just have to throw away what you have.’”
|Replace "daughter" with "wife"|
Initially Joyner was looking to make this his third directorial effort, a sharp 180 from his first two genre features. However, as the script’s reputation grew, he realized it might be something bigger than what he could handle. “We were going to try and do it for kind of a low budget or mid-range budget,” he says. “That would be cool to try and set me up as a director because I had my eye on that, but the project was too big. We required someone who knew what the hell they were doing, not me.”
|John Flynn directs James Woods |
on BEST SELLER (1987)
Unfortunately, the project was never able to get off the ground. When asked during our conversation which of the screenplays he wished had been made, Joyner cited this one. “I liked that script, I was proud of that script,” he reveals. “I loved working with John [Flynn]. I really thought that was a good piece. That was disappointing that it didn’t happen. To be able to have meetings with James Woods and all that, I got very excited about all that.” Alas, all hope is not lost though as Joyner currently owns this script 100% so perhaps we’ll see it one day in the future.
#94 - OUT OF STEP (early 1990s)
Producer Paul Maslansky was trying to get steer away from his POLICE ACADEMY work and return to the type of thrillers that he began his career with as he was producing THE RUSSIA HOUSE (1990) at the time. It was Joyner’s work on DOUBLE ACTION MAN that brought him to Maslansky’s attention. “Paul had a fellow working for him at the time whose name was Phil Goldfine,” he says. “Phil was always very supportive of me and I believe WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN was the script that he read. He liked it a lot and Paul liked it.”
Joyner was brought in and given the idea for this thriller by Paul’s wife at the time, Sally Maslansky. “She had an idea for a thriller about stepchildren terrorizing their new mother,” he explains. “I thought that was an interesting take on the thriller, kind of turning things around so instead of the evil stepmother it is exactly the reverse. And, of course, the father doesn’t want to hear anything bad about his own kids and all of that stuff. It was interesting.”
|Producer Richard Donnar|
Even after the Maslanskys exited the picture, the script drew even more attention. “I remember a year or two after it didn’t happen with the Maslanskys that Richard Donner and [his wife] Lauren Schuler got involved,” Joyner discloses. “And so did Sally Field. [Her production company] Soapdish stepped in and they got interested in it. Whether they just read it and said, ‘we might be able to do something with this’ or whatever, then they either decided they didn’t want to move forward or hire another write or what have you. That was just a straight writing assignment. We did it, everybody seemed pleased but it didn’t go further than that.”
#95 - MINDFIRE (early/mid 1990s)
|We don't have much on MINDFIRE, |
so here is a mind on fire!
“MINDFIRE was about a young girl who was psychically connected to a maniac,” he reveals. “What he does is he can understand the connection and make her have delusions. So she feeds the police false information without knowing it. That was the idea. I thought if you had someone else is psychically aware, can’t they be manipulated. It is like if someone is eavesdropping on your phone, can’t you feed them misinformation? This would be the same thing, but only with psychics. It’s in there on the shelf, maybe I ought to dust that one off.”
Despite having one of those hooks that movie execs love to hear (“It’s LETHAL WEAPON with E.S.P.” you could say), the script never got made. “Nothing every happened with MINDFIRE,” Joyner reveals of the early 90s action-fantasy script. “My manager at the time, Cathryn Jaymes, was very good at getting my stuff out and that went to Joel Silver and Larry Gordon. Nobody ever jumped at it, but it got me some meetings about potential writing assignments.”
Stay tuned for our third and final part where we discuss some of Joyner's more recent efforts.