ByTrent Tofte, writer at
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Trent Tofte

Somewhere in the dark abyss of Hollywood copyright limbo lurk the rights to the greatest spy thriller never made. Yes, you read that correctly. Escape From Zircon never saw the light of day. It was originally supposed to come out in 2004 but when the film's budget exploded, the movie was put on the skids. Somehow, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago got ahold of the rights and used the few scenes that had already been shot to create an interactive exhibit about what goes on behind the scenes in filmmaking. The museum exhibit first showed many props from movies and explained many of the best-kept secrets of making a movie work. Once visitors had traversed the prop room and makeup department, they entered a soundstage where certain lucky audience members were randomly selected to portray characters. These visitors were filmed in scenes and then taken to an editing bay to watch the clips of themselves that had been edited together with the few already-shot movie scenes needed to create the film trailer. I happened to be visiting the museum at the time and was one of the lucky visitors cast in the trailer. I actually was cast in two different roles: the character who started all the trouble, and the titular villain himself, the evil Zircon. The premise of the film is fairly simple, but I am quite sure that if the film had actually been produced, it would have become much more intricate as the story progressed. A young couple, Pat and Jesse, (and their dog Oscar) are enjoying a relaxing vacation in the City of Love. One day as the pair is sitting outside a Parisian restaurant, a shadowy spy whose employers are not revealed mistakes Jesse for someone else and drops a file folder containing top secret documents into her bag. One of Zircon's spies is lurking in the shadows across the street and observes the dropoff. He radios his accomplices who proceed to smash a car into the restaurant patio in an attempt to murder the young couple and retrieve the documents. The attempt fails and the couple flee Paris to Hawaii. However, once aboard the plane, another of Zircon's spies attempts to steal the documents from Jesse's carry-on. Oscar begins barking and the spy aborts his mission, opens the plane door, and parachute jumps from the plane. Upon landing in Hawaii, Pat and Jesse go to the beach where they are kidnapped by more of Zircon's spies. The spies take their hostages in a submarine to Zircon's underwater base. Zircon offers the young couple an ultimatum: give up the secret documents or be fed to the sharks. Pat distracts Zircon by picking a fight with one of the guards while Jesse turns a decompression valve. The base begins to collapse around them as the pair escape up a pipe shaft. Oscar, meanwhile, is rescued by the Coast Guard. What happens to Pat, Jesse, and Zircon is left open to the imagination because the film never made it into production.

One of the life goals on my bucket list is that after I become a director, I want to buy the rights to this movie and give it the film it deserves. I feel that with the proper writing crew, the premise of the movie is absolutely incredible.

Anyone want to petition for this movie to be made?


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