Film Design: The Tourist

The Tourist VIIConsidered by many to be one of the the best unproduced screenplays (Clair Noto) in Hollywood. Giger was hired in 1982 to do a series of production designs for this yet to be made film. Some of Giger's most remarkable work was done for this dark and haunting project.

Is "The Tourist" the Greatest Scifi Movie Never Made?

Is "The Tourist" the Greatest Scifi Movie Never Made?

The Tourist featured secretive alien refugees and tentacle sex, attracted the interest of Quadrophenia director Franc Roddam, and inspired concept art by HR Giger. Despite being called a masterpiece by some, this strange science fiction noir was never actually made.

The screenplay for The Tourist was written by Clair Noto and, like a darker, sex-charged Men In Black, revealed a secret alien world in Manhattan, including a secret alien club call the Corridor, where various aliens from all over the universe meet, have sex, and commiserate about being stuck on Earth. Grace Ripley, a beautiful corporate executive who happens to be an alien in disguise, seeks a way to get back to her home planet while being drawn into the bizarre world of the Corridor.

The first pass at The Tourist, which began in 1980 at Universal, was plagued by personality clashes and creative differences. Noto's New Wave-influenced script deliberately employed a non-traditional structure, and under the eye of director Brian Gibson, various writers attempted to revise the script. HR Giger, fresh off of Alien was asked to invent the aliens Grace would encounter in the Corridor. But when production failed to move forward, Noto was able to exercise a rare clause in her contract and take the script to another studio. The screenplay briefly found a home at Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope Studio, where director Francis Roddam fell in love with the strange tale. But financial issues at Zoetrope left the project stalled, and when Universal came back claiming ownership issues, it fell entirely by the wayside.

Today, all that's left of The Tourist is Noto's original screenplay, Giger's dark artwork, and plenty of tales of development hell, though Universal still owns the rights, and every now and then interest in the script is renewed. But for now, it's one of those long-dormant projects that may simply never be.