First Script Was Based on Peter Pan

The Lost Boys became one of the ’80s most iconic horror films with its dark, steamy take on vampires. But its co-writer James Jeremias initially had a much different type of film in mind, inspired by Peter Pan.

In an interview with The Guardian for the publication’s “How We Made” series, Jeremias, a former grip turned screenwriter who wrote the Joel Schumacher film alongside Janice Fischer, recalled that after reading Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire, he was particularly struck by Claudia being frozen in time in the body of a 5-year-old for eternity.

“It got me thinking about J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan — where our title came from. What if the reason he came out at night, could fly and didn’t grow up was because he was a vampire? We took a fictional character and put him in a new light. What if it wasn’t all goodness and there was some evil intent?” he recalled.

He shared that the writers were paid $375,000 for the script. But a year later, Warner Bros. wanted The Lost Boys to be drastically different.

They had a meeting with Richard Donner, who at the time was slated to direct and later became the executive producer. “It was brutal. We had designed the film to be a boy’s adventure, set in a time before sex rears its head. But that’s not what the studio wanted,” recalled Jeremias.

“Donner wanted the boys to be old enough to drive. What he meant was old enough to fuck,” he continued. Donner also wanted Star, who had initially been written as a little boy, to be changed to the female love interest.

As Jeremias noted, once the script was sold, the rewrite decisions were “out of our hands.”

Jason Patric, who starred as Michael in the film, also recalled the numerous rewrites the movie went through.

“Joel Schumacher, the director, wanted me in the movie right from the first time we met. But the script I read was nothing like the magical movie it would become after rewrites and production, and I had no interest in teenage vampire films,” he told The Guardian. “So I turned it down about five times — but Joel was determined.”

Jeremias had previously shared the initial plot for Lost Boys in a 2020 interview with Empire. At the time, he said the film was originally written about two young brothers living in Santa Cruz with their divorced mom, who meet the child leader of a vampire gang before befriending the Frog brothers, who were written as “identical twin 8-year-old vampire-hunting boy scouts.” Instead of lustful teenagers, the cast was meant to focus on preteens.

The movie did keep a child to represent Jeremias’ initial idea, though: Laddie, a missing child who was turned into a vampire and is protected by Star.

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