I know they say you aren’t supposed to beat a dead horse, but what if the horse is actually undead and not really a horse at all, but more of a moldering human corpse with a lot of snappy one-liners? This is the question the folks at Plan B Entertainment, Brad Pitt’s production company, asked themselves before deciding to go ahead and flog the shit out of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. But you know what they also say? You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, especially if he’s dead. But according to Screen Rant, after spending more than 30 years in The Neitherworld Waiting Room (sometimes referred to as “development hell” by Hollywood types), that green lady finally called Beetlejuice 2’s number, with Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder both reported to be on board.
I remember how popular Beetlejuice was when it came out in 1988 because that year, there were 15-20 sweaty adolescent Beetlejuices running around my high school for the entire month of October. Shortly thereafter, there was an animated cartoon series that ran from 1989 to 1991. By 1990, a sequel was already in the works, with a script originally titled Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian. I don’t know which Hollywood make-believe quasi-Polynesian Gods were responsible for putting a Greg Brady hex on that project, but THANK YOU. SR reports:
Jeff Sneider’s Hollywood Transom newsletter for The Ankler revealed that, while it hasn’t been brought to Warner Bros. for an official greenlight just yet, Beetlejuice 2 is being produced by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B Entertainment. Reportedly, filming of the project could begin as early as this coming summer, with Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder reprising their roles from the original.
Since 1990, the development of the Beetlejuice sequel has been on a very bumpy road. Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian plans fell through in 1997. In September 2011, screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith, who had previously worked with Burton on Dark Shadows, was hired to write and produce the sequel, and he is still attached to it. In April 2019, Warner Bros. stated that the project had been shelved. A few months ago, Grahme-Smith noted that “the reason that it’s so hard to get going is because so many people love it and because there are 10 million ways to get that sequel wrong and four ways to get it right.”
With Beetlejuice the musical set to begin its second Broadway run this year, Beetlejuice is getting to be a word more dangerous to repeat three times than Candyman! Deadline reports that there’s no script yet, and given the spectacular career flameouts of costars Alec Baldwin and Jeffrey Jones, even with Michael and Winona onboard, it sounds like Beetlejuice 2 is already a cursed production. Even if they could persuade Catherine O’Hara and Geena Davis to return, without Tim Burton, they might as well just go ahead and shoot the 1990 script. Better yet, since it would shoot in Hawaii anyway, they could do a crossover with HBO and have Lydia summon Beetlejuice while staying at The White Lotus. That way we get Catherine O’Hara AND Jennifer Coolidge. But whatever they end up doing, if it’s a hit, you can bet that Broadway will come calling again. How many years until Beetlejuice 2: Too Many Beetlejuices wins a Tony?
Pic: Warner Bros.