There was a time when “Yellowstone” star Kevin Costner took part in the most expensive movie production the world had ever seen. The cost of making the infamous 1995 Sci-Fi Western “Waterworld” rang in at a staggering $175 million. Based on reputation, it’s not the first title one would expect to get a reboot. But Universal plans on doing exactly that with a TV series that will reportedly pick up where Kevin Costner left off.
It was very nearly one of the biggest Hollywood disasters of all time. Fortunately, mostly thanks to the international box office, the movie recouped its production costs and went down as a reasonable failure. It became an example of how not to make a movie.
The craziest part is that Steven Spielberg tried to warn “Waterworld” director Kevin Reynolds about the many dangers of trying to film the movie on the actual ocean. Per screenwriter Peter Rader, the ambitious choice to shoot the movie in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawai’i is what doomed it from the start.
“Do not shoot on water! You’re going to need a couple of shots on water, so use second unit for that. Do all of your coverage in a tank or a stage,” Spielberg reportedly told Kevin Reynolds.
Alas, Reynolds and Kevin Costner didn’t heed the warning and went ahead anyway. And to be fair, Murphy’s Law was in full effect. The shooting location was hit by a hurricane. That caused the set to sink into the Pacific. And creative differences between Costner and Reynolds led to competing visions for the final product.
It took nearly six months to film “Waterworld.” After a drawn-out editing process, the near-$200 million price tag yielded a decent movie, by most accounts. Now, Universal is turning it into a show.
What Can We Expect from the New Series Based on Kevin Costner’s Near Disaster?
These days, such technology exists that it would be a breeze for studios to recreate the look Kevin Reynolds and Kevin Costner were going for with the 1995 film. Beyond that, producing a TV series is way more cost-efficient than making a movie. There’s also the fact that if “Waterworld” wasn’t attacked by a hurricane, and the cost was closer to intended, we may very well be talking about it as a moderate success today.
So the math for a reboot series checks out. But what direction are producers John Davis and John Fox trying to take? They were both involved with the 1995 original, as well. Based on an interview they did with Collider recently, it looks like the series will likely follow the same characters as the original. The intention is to set the show 20 years after the events of the original movie.
“We’re not 100% sure on the approach to the show. But definitely, we’re in the building stages right now,” producer John Fox said.