Hollywood has a long and extremely checkered history when it comes to movie sequels.
For every Godfather Part II produced there are are dozen Dumb and Dumberers as loaded can already attest with its own run-down of terrible movie follow-ups most people never knew existed.
But for all the furore that followed American Psycho 2 and Kindergarden Cop 2, those films are at least recognised as attempts to continue the story of the original.
The story of Solace, the would-be sequel to Se7en is a little different though.
Following on from the success of David Fincher’s original back in 1995, New Line Cinema was desperate to score another hit with a follow-up that focused on Morgan Freeman’s Detective Somerset.
The only problem studio faced, initially, at least, was that Fincher wanted nothing to do with any sequel.
Not that New Line Cinema cared much at first, with the studio pushing forward with plans for another movie.
In 2002, the project finally made some progress after the studio purchased a spec script called Solace, which had been written by Ted Griffin, one of the writers behind Ocean’s Eleven.
The original plot focused on a former doctor with psychic abilities who was recruited by the FBI to track down a serial killer.
Keen to find an angle for Freeman’s character, the script was rewritten to include Detective Somerset in the place of the psychic while the name was changed from Solace to the more sequel appropriate Ei8ht.
At this point, however, Fincher returned to the fore to express his dismay at the idea which, when you look at it on paper, does appear to be somewhat of a blatant cash-in by the studio on the original’s success.
Evidently keen to avoid pissing off one of the hottest directors in Hollywood, the idea for Ei8ht was scrapped with the film returning to its original name of Solace and remaining in development hell for some of the years that followed.
Fast forward a few years and after a troubled production, Solace finally arrived with Anthony Hopkins in the role of psychic with Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Abbie Cornish cast as detectives on the hunt for Colin Farrell’s serial killer.
Despite ditching the plan to call the film Ei8ht, Farrell still felt Solace shared some similarities with the original, telling FearNet: “It explores a similar genre to Se7en, but it’s different. I haven’t seen a single frame of it yet, but I can’t wait to see how the film turns out.”
His comments would come back to haunt him though with the film going on to become a critical and commercial flop which probably would have looked a whole lot worse had it been released under the name Ei8ht.
It seems we have Fincher to thank for that and a few more things besides.