Briggs hit the screenwriting scene in 1991 with his well-received Alien vs. Predator screenplay, which sold almost overnight to 20th Century Fox through Lawrence Gordon. The project languished in development hell for many years, until a version of the property was brought to the screen by Paul W. S. Anderson (who ditched Briggs’ script) in Anderson’s poorly received production.
Briggs’ draft is often cited as an example of strong action writing in a number of screenwriting books, including Chris Gore’s book “The 50 Greatest Movies Never Made”.
Since 1991, Briggs has worked steadily as a “writer for hire” on largely studio-based productions, including Freddy vs. Jason, Judge Dredd, the original period version of The War of the Worlds (which had two abortive attempts at production; the first with Kenneth Branagh in 1995; and then later with Tom Cruise’s production company in 1998, both of which were thwarted by legal reasons), and numerous other projects.
Connection To The Highlander Franchise
Briggs, who is on record as stating he is a huge fan of the 1986 film Highlander, was asked by the producers of the film, William Panzer and Peter Davis, to help set-up Highlander: The Series. Despite having contributed major strands to the show (including the invention of the “Watcher” subplot), Briggs received no credit from the two producers.
Years later, Briggs was hired by Dimension Films to write a new draft for Highlander: The Source – the fourth sequel in the franchise. Briggs anonymously joined the message boards at the official Highlander website to help research what fans of the franchise would want in another film. Under the screen name Everpresent Scribe, Briggs introduced himself only as someone with access to the script. In the following months, Briggs posted several pages of his script for the fans to read and gauge their reactions. Fan reception to both drafts of his script were very positive.
Despite having contributed two drafts to Dimension, the movie company folded, and the rights to the property were transferred to Lionsgate Films. The final film, which was reworked by other writers and contained virtually none of the material Briggs created, was the first in the franchise to go straight to video, and was extremely poorly received.
Briggs still occasionally returns to the message board, where he is one of the most popular members.
Briggs’ Hellboy script finally hit the screens as a blockbuster in 2004, sharing credit with director Guillermo Del Toro. Briggs was initially hired in 1996, a full two years before Del Toro joined the project.
Late in 2010, Briggs will make his directorial debut with the Mortis Rex. The movie was initially announced as shooting in spring 2010 in the UK, Italy and Eastern Europe. Veteran producer James Jacks will be handling the reins.
Briggs further announced on 30 October 2009 his production of the World War 2 supernatural thriller Panzer 88, which may actually go into production prior to Mortis Rex. Briggs is currently in Los Angeles, prepping Panzer 88 with legendary producer Gary Kurtz which Briggs will also direct.
On August 23, 2010, it was announced in the Hero Complex section of the Los Angeles Times that Richard Taylor (filmmaker) and Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop would be joining Panzer 88. Reaction spread across the internet fan pages and was overwhelmingly enthusiastic.
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