10 Secrets About the History of Heathers With Writer Daniel Waters

By Charles Webb in Daily Lists, Movies
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 6:00 am

5. On Blowing up the School


The "lost" ending of Heathers is legendary. In it, the school gets blown to bits with a prom in heaven closing out the action.

Waters walked me through some other planned dark endings that were shot down before shooting. "[In one], the kinds drink from a punchbowl containing the blue liquid that killed Heather Chandler."

However, his favorite ending shares some bits of the current one, with a darker twist. "Veronica comes up to Martha at the end and says 'Hey, you want to rent some new releases and pop some popcorn?' And then Martha turns around and stabs her with a knife, and says 'Fuck you, Heather.'" That scene would have ended with Veronica laying on the ground, bleeding and saying "My name is not Heather. My name is not Heather," as Martha stands up from her wheelchair like Dr. Strangelove, saying "I can walk!"

Waters added that since "everyone was just so happy with the quasi-happy ending that we have now," he decided to keep quiet about the alternate take.

4. "Mean Girls Is New Order to Heathers' Joy Division"


The closest we've come to a spiritual successor to Heathers here in the States is Mean Girls - and that's according to the man who wrote Heathers. Of course, he could be a little biased: Mean Girls was directed by his brother Mark.

"You want a Heathers for the masses?" Waters joked. "Then let's keep it all in the family and let my brother give it to you so the money can stay in my mother's retirement fund."

3. "The Enduring Legacy People Made More Money Than I Did"


That sounds like a bitter dig at some of the filmmakers who followed and borrowed Heathers' legacy, but Waters is pretty kind to those writers and directors who were inspired by the film.

"People who will openly admit that they were inspired by Heathers like Kevin Williamson and Joss Whedon, those people found a way to take my prototype and build a sleeker vehicle from it."

Waters notes that in the years immediately following the release of Heathers, he was often frustrated by fans who would ask him why he never made another film like it. But in recent years, its legacy (and his) have changed.

"In the 21st century, people come up to me and say 'God, can you believe you were allowed to make Heathers?'"

2. Don't Worry, Waters Explains Hudson Hawk


Waters' post-Heathers career was fascinating. He wrote some of the odder and most interesting experiments in mixing action and comedy in the first half of the '90s. There was the Gothic cool of Batman Returns and the corporate-branded futuristic muscle-fest that was Demolition Man.

But two of his films bombed completely at the box office - a pair of vanity projects for two actors at the heights of their professional power that a younger version of your writer loved when he was a teen: Hudson Hawk and The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane.

"Again, it goes back to my original premise that I love every kind of movie," Waters said. "In retrospect, I probably should have experimented with one Joel Silver movie, not three of them."

Those films were hugely hyped, propping up stars Bruce Willis and Andrew Dice Clay respectively (and bruising the careers of both - Clay never really recovered).

Waters wonders what would have happened if after Heathers, he simply stuck with churning out dark comedies. He suspects that he became rich at the wrong time. That doesn't mean he necessarily thinks either of those movies is bad.

"I'll half-defend the movies but definitely defend the scripts for Ford Fairlane and Hudson Hawk." He continued "Still, I should have stuck to my own kind of thing, and my work in action films became the equivalent of putting a giraffe's head on a rhinoceros' body."

1. The Heathers Sequel, or How to Keep Winona Ryder off Your Back


Veronica is dead to Daniel Waters. "In my original script for Batman Returns Catwoman dies, and in my original script for Heathers, Veronica dies."

Still, Veronica lives and one of the movie's biggest fans keeps bugging Waters to make a sequel, with one pitch heading into Dangerous Minds territory, seeing Veronica becoming a teacher and getting drawn into more murder. Another, more famous pitch traded the school house for the White House.

"Winona kept barking at me, so I kept throwing out ideas," Waters said. "The most famous one that I gave her was that I had Veronica going to Washington as a Senate page, and meeting up with a Senator running for President, played by Meryl Streep whose name is Heather."

Waters says that script would have been a political satire with Veronica assassinating the President by the end of the film. He didn't think it would actually get made.

Never underestimate the power of Veronica.

"Winona said 'I talked to Meryl Streep and she loves it.'"

But the sequel never happened. Waters says returning to those characters was never something he was passionate about, leaving us with only one stab at one of the greatest high school satires of all time.

Previously by Charles Webb

9 Things Zack Snyder's Justice League Movie Had Better Not Do

8 Batman Characters Who Might Be the Arkham Knight

8 Things I Learned After a Week of Dying in Dark Souls II

8 Things I Learned While Surviving Space Camp

8 Reasons You Absolutely Must Watch Cosmos

10 Modern Heroes of Black Nerddom (and Urkel Is NOT One)

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