The Last Boy Scout (1991)

R | 105 mins | Comedy, Adventure | 13 December 1991

Director:

Tony Scott

Writer:

Shane Black

Cinematographer:

Ward Russell

Production Designer:

Brian Morris

Production Companies:

Geffen Pictures, Silver Pictures
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HISTORY

Shane Black’s script for The Last Boy Scout made headline news in the 19 Apr 1990 issue of DV, after it sold at auction for a record-breaking $1.75 million. Although other studios reportedly bid between $2 million and $2.5 million for the screenplay, Black preferred the offer from Geffen Pictures, because Joel Silver would serve as producer, with Warner Bros. handling distribution. Black and Silver had worked together on Lethal Weapon (1987, see entry). The Geffen deal, which included all rewrites as well as a co-producing fee for Black, was considered “unusual” in that the screenwriter was guaranteed more than $1 million “up front.” One month after the announcement, a 23 May 1990 Var article reported on a potential “revolt” against “bidding wars for spec scripts,” revealing Twentieth Century Fox’s new plan to sign in-house writers to “exclusive long-term deals,” rather than solicit work from independent agents. Fox had “last refusal rights” on Black’s script, but declined to outbid Geffen, as stated in the 19 Apr 1990 DV.
       Var published a “Screenplay Review” on 23 May 1990, noting that a script with a $12,500 per-page valuation merited an assessment from “the twin perspectives of screen literature and commerce.” Although the review credited Black alone with conceiving the “original story,” the film’s opening credits indicate that writer Greg Hicks also contributed to the “story.” Var’s unnamed reviewer remarked on the significant similarities between The Last Boy Scout and Lethal Weapon, before dismissing the well-crafted screenplay as “industrial-strength … action/mayhem/buddy” material.
       Various contemporary sources, including a 30 Jun 1990 ... More Less

Shane Black’s script for The Last Boy Scout made headline news in the 19 Apr 1990 issue of DV, after it sold at auction for a record-breaking $1.75 million. Although other studios reportedly bid between $2 million and $2.5 million for the screenplay, Black preferred the offer from Geffen Pictures, because Joel Silver would serve as producer, with Warner Bros. handling distribution. Black and Silver had worked together on Lethal Weapon (1987, see entry). The Geffen deal, which included all rewrites as well as a co-producing fee for Black, was considered “unusual” in that the screenwriter was guaranteed more than $1 million “up front.” One month after the announcement, a 23 May 1990 Var article reported on a potential “revolt” against “bidding wars for spec scripts,” revealing Twentieth Century Fox’s new plan to sign in-house writers to “exclusive long-term deals,” rather than solicit work from independent agents. Fox had “last refusal rights” on Black’s script, but declined to outbid Geffen, as stated in the 19 Apr 1990 DV.
       Var published a “Screenplay Review” on 23 May 1990, noting that a script with a $12,500 per-page valuation merited an assessment from “the twin perspectives of screen literature and commerce.” Although the review credited Black alone with conceiving the “original story,” the film’s opening credits indicate that writer Greg Hicks also contributed to the “story.” Var’s unnamed reviewer remarked on the significant similarities between The Last Boy Scout and Lethal Weapon, before dismissing the well-crafted screenplay as “industrial-strength … action/mayhem/buddy” material.
       Various contemporary sources, including a 30 Jun 1990 Screen International news brief, indicated that Richard Donner would helm the picture, with Jack Nicholson in the role of “a small-time detective,” and Mel Gibson as “an ex-football player.” However, by the time production began, Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans had been cast in the lead roles, and Tony Scott had signed to direct.
       Principal photography began 11 Mar 1991 in Los Angeles, CA, according to a 12 Mar 1991 HR production chart. Various sequences in the movie reveal that filming took place on actual locations throughout Los Angeles. A 30 Apr 1991 DV news brief stated that the fifth floor of a Wilshire Boulevard office building was transformed into a screen-worthy version of the Los Angeles Police Department. In addition, the film’s climactic sequence at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was, in fact, shot at the Coliseum, with 6,000 background actors filling the seats as football fanatics. A 25 Jun 1991 DV news item announced the completion of the seventy-day shoot. Although an 8 Jul 1991 Var news brief listed a $37 million budget, the 28 Jun 1991 HR put the cost of the picture at closer to $43 million.
       On 2 Dec 1991, Var reported that Warner Bros. studio executive Stuart Baird had been brought in to perform “emergency” editorial work on the film, incorporating Nov 1991 reshoots into the cut. A 31 May 2016 article in the U.K. Telegraph indicated that Baird’s involvement in the post-production process came too late for his name to appear on the movie’s promotional posters. He does, however, receive onscreen credit.
       Although a “Christmas release” had been suggested by various contemporary sources, The Last Boy Scout opened 13 Dec 1991. The film received fairly negative reviews, with most critics echoing the sentiments of Var’s 16 Dec 1991 review: “This entertaining if mindless shoot-‘em-up … is well positioned to cash in” at the box-office. On 27 Jan 1992, Var reported that the film had earned approximately $54 million in gross receipts.
       According to a 14 May 1992 HR news brief, a Seattle screenwriter named Stephen Codling filed a lawsuit against Geffen, Warner Bros., and Silver Pictures, claiming copyright infringement of a script he had written sometime prior to Shane Black’s The Last Boy Scout. The outcome of the lawsuit could not be determined.
       The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “Special thanks to: State of California; California Film Commission; Vista Group; Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; University of Southern California Marching Band.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
19 Apr 1990
p. 1, 21.
Daily Variety
30 Apr 1991
p. 2.
Daily Variety
25 Jun 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Mar 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Dec 1991
p. 6, 47.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 1992.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Apr 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Dec 1991
Calendar, p. 8.
New York Times
13 Dec 1991
Section C, p. 14.
Screen International
30 Jun 1990.
---
Telegraph (U.K.)
31 May 2016.
---
Variety
23 May 1990.
---
Variety
8 Jul 1991.
---
Variety
2 Dec 1991.
---
Variety
16 Dec 1991
p. 57.
Variety
27 Jan 1992
p. 9.
Village View (Los Angeles)
13-19 Dec 1991.
---
Village Voice
21 Jan 1992
p. 59.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Geffen Pictures Presents
A Silver Pictures Production
A Tony Scott Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Video assist
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Rigging gaffer
Key grip
Grip best boy
Dolly grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
Film ed
Addl ed
Addl ed
Addl ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Set des
Lead person
Prop master/Weapons specialist
Asst prop
Asst prop
Asst prop
Const foreman
Standby painter
COSTUMES
Asst cost des
Cost supv
Costumer
Costumer
Sportswear by
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Supv mus ed
Mus ed
Orchestrator
Orchestrator
Orchestrator
Orchestrator
Orchestrator
Orchestrator
Orch rec by
Mus rec and mixed by
Solo acoustic bass
Solo French horn
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Cable person
Supv sd eff ed
Post prod dial
Supv ADR ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv Foley ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd eff ed
Asst sd eff ed
Asst sd eff ed
Asst ADR ed
Supv dial ed
Dial asst
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
End titles & opticals
Main title spec eff
Main titles des by
DANCE
Cheerleader choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Football tech adv
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod secy
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst to Joel SIlver
Asst to Joel SIlver
Asst to Michael Levy
Asst to Barry Josephson
Asst to Tony Scott
Asst to Tony Scott
Asst to Steve Perry
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Craft service
First aid
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Friday Night's A Great Night For Football," written by Steve Dorff and John Bettis, produced by Steve Dorff, performed by Bill Medley, courtesy of Curb Records
"Moody River," written by Gary Bruce, performed by Pat Boone, courtesy of MCA Records
"Gett Off," written by Prince Rogers Nelson, performed by Prince & The New Power Generation, courtesy of Paisley Park/Warner Bros. Records Inc., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
+
SONGS
"Friday Night's A Great Night For Football," written by Steve Dorff and John Bettis, produced by Steve Dorff, performed by Bill Medley, courtesy of Curb Records
"Moody River," written by Gary Bruce, performed by Pat Boone, courtesy of MCA Records
"Gett Off," written by Prince Rogers Nelson, performed by Prince & The New Power Generation, courtesy of Paisley Park/Warner Bros. Records Inc., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"I Wanna Be A Cowboy," written by Brian Chatton, Nico Ramsden, Nick Richards and Jeff Seopardi, performed by Boys Don't Cry, courtesy of Profile Records Inc.
"Tusk," written by Lindsey Buckingham.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
13 December 1991
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 13 December 1991
Production Date:
11 March--late June 1991
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Copyright Date:
20 April 1992
Copyright Number:
PA564328
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral Recording Dolby Stereo® SR in selected theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® cameras & lenses
Duration(in mins):
105
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31522
SYNOPSIS

During the final minutes of a National Football League (NFL) game between the Los Angeles Stallions and the Cleveland Cats, running back Billy Cole races to the end zone to make the winning touchdown. Suddenly, he pulls a gun, shoots three of his opponents, and kills himself. Team owner Sheldon Marcone watches from the sidelines, horrified. A day or two later, in Los Angeles, California, private detective Joseph C. Hallenbeck receives an assignment to provide personal security for an exotic dancer. “Joe” is not interested in the seemingly insignificant case, but needs the money. Elsewhere in Los Angeles, professional football player James “Jimmy” Alexander Dix attends a party for the Stallions. Other players taunt the suspended quarterback, but Jimmy retorts that he is still the best arm in the league. Meanwhile, Joe confronts his wife, Sarah Hallenbeck, about her affair with his best friend, Mike Matthews, whom he finds hiding in the closet. When Sarah confirms the infidelity, Joe escorts Mike out of the house. Mike gets in his car, and the vehicle explodes the moment he puts the key in the ignition. Joe is stunned. Later, he goes to a strip club to meet Cory, the dancer seeking security. Before her performance, Cory stops to kiss her boyfriend Jimmy Dix, who has been watching her meeting with Joe with suspicion. Jimmy antagonizes Joe, but Joe dismisses the athlete, alluding to Jimmy’s weakness for gambling and drugs. Later, while waiting outside the club for Cory, Joe is attacked by four men. He escapes, but it is too late. The hit men intercept Cory, killing her. After the incident, Joe explains to Jimmy that he received the assignment to protect ... +


During the final minutes of a National Football League (NFL) game between the Los Angeles Stallions and the Cleveland Cats, running back Billy Cole races to the end zone to make the winning touchdown. Suddenly, he pulls a gun, shoots three of his opponents, and kills himself. Team owner Sheldon Marcone watches from the sidelines, horrified. A day or two later, in Los Angeles, California, private detective Joseph C. Hallenbeck receives an assignment to provide personal security for an exotic dancer. “Joe” is not interested in the seemingly insignificant case, but needs the money. Elsewhere in Los Angeles, professional football player James “Jimmy” Alexander Dix attends a party for the Stallions. Other players taunt the suspended quarterback, but Jimmy retorts that he is still the best arm in the league. Meanwhile, Joe confronts his wife, Sarah Hallenbeck, about her affair with his best friend, Mike Matthews, whom he finds hiding in the closet. When Sarah confirms the infidelity, Joe escorts Mike out of the house. Mike gets in his car, and the vehicle explodes the moment he puts the key in the ignition. Joe is stunned. Later, he goes to a strip club to meet Cory, the dancer seeking security. Before her performance, Cory stops to kiss her boyfriend Jimmy Dix, who has been watching her meeting with Joe with suspicion. Jimmy antagonizes Joe, but Joe dismisses the athlete, alluding to Jimmy’s weakness for gambling and drugs. Later, while waiting outside the club for Cory, Joe is attacked by four men. He escapes, but it is too late. The hit men intercept Cory, killing her. After the incident, Joe explains to Jimmy that he received the assignment to protect Cory from his friend, Mike, who was also a private detective. Sure that the murders are related, Jimmy urges Joe to investigate. The two go to Cory’s apartment, where they find documentation linking Sheldon Marcone to Calvin Baynard, a corrupt U.S. Senator. Jimmy deduces that Cory hoped to blackmail the Stallions owner into dismissing his suspension and hiring him to play again. Leaving Cory’s place, Joe and Jimmy are accosted by two criminals who demand the incriminating evidence. However, the private detective outwits the men, creating an explosion that destroys the information. Jimmy offers to help reconstruct the case against Sheldon. He accompanies Joe home, where he learns that the detective, a former Secret Service agent, once protected the President of the U.S. from an assassination attempt. Trading stories, Jimmy reveals that, a few years ago, his pregnant wife was killed in a car accident. Gambling and drugs helped him cope with the loss, but led to his suspension. Jimmy criticizes the NFL for failing to provide mental health care services. Joe is unsympathetic and asks Jimmy to leave. The next day, men in black suits attack Jimmy, tossing him in front of oncoming traffic. Jimmy survives, however, and later attempts to convince police of a conspiracy between Senator Baynard and the NFL. No one believes him. While at the police station, Jimmy learns that Joe has disappeared. Police suspect that the detective was responsible for Mike’s death, even though Sarah Hallenbeck insists that could not be true. Jimmy tells Joe’s teenage daughter, Darian, not to worry; he has a hunch as to Joe’s whereabouts. Meanwhile, Sheldon Marcone holds Joe captive, boasting of his scheme to restore people’s interest in football by legalizing gambling. When Joe deduces that Senator Baynard is crucial to the plan, Sheldon admits that he bribed the politician to overturn current anti-gambling laws. However, Baynard refused the offer, demanding more money. Although the Senator now expects to receive a briefcase containing the $6 million he asked for, Sheldon intends to kill him, instead. Sheldon’s accomplices fill another briefcase with explosives, and swap it for the case containing money after the Senator’s security man verifies the amount. Joe participates in the exchange against his will. After the handoff, Jimmy attempts to rescue Joe, to no avail. Sheldon’s minions threaten to kill the quarterback as well as the detective, until Darian, having stowed away with Jimmy, walks into the middle of the debacle. She slips a gun to her father, and the trio make a getaway under a shower of gunfire. En route to the Coliseum, Joe and Jimmy drop Darian off at a posh Hollywood home, and ask the homeowner to call police. They then intercept Baynard’s limousine on the freeway. When the car overturns, Joe snags the undetonated briefcase bomb from the trunk. Just then, one of Sheldon’s henchmen calls to inform them that he has captured Joe’s daughter. Laughing maniacally, he reveals he is headed to the football game. Jimmy and Joe rush to the Coliseum. They confront Sheldon in his office, dismayed to see Darian in his clutches. The Stallions owner is unimpressed with their attempt to foil his scheme, and announces that he has hired a sniper to kill Baynard. Sheldon then orders his associates to kill Joe and Jimmy, but Jimmy tosses an explosive bullet into the fireplace, creating a firestorm that allows them to escape. Jimmy rushes onto the playing field and throws a football at Senator Baynard, knocking him out of the sniper’s line of fire. Meanwhile, Joe locates the gunman atop the stadium lights. A fight ensues, and the sniper falls to his death. Later, Sarah Hallenbeck finds Joe and Jimmy nursing their wounds in the parking lot. When she suggests that she and Joe reconcile their marriage, he embraces her. Police ask about the briefcase bomb, and Joe indicates that it is in the backseat of the car he drove to the Coliseum. However, unknown to all involved, Sheldon stole the briefcase, thinking it contained $6 million. Just then, a tremendous explosion rattles the residential neighborhood below Griffith Observatory. Joe and Jimmy laugh at the mogul’s demise. Sometime later, Joe invites Jimmy to become his partner, and they stroll near the beach discussing the finer points of detective work. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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