The Last Unicorn (lost production materials from unmade film adaptation of Peter S. Beagle fantasy novel; 2005-2015)
The Last Unicorn is a popular fantasy novel written by Peter S. Beagle. The story follows a female unicorn who discovers that she might be the last of her kind. So she sets out on a magical journey to find out the truth about the unicorn's disappearance.
In 1982, the novel was adapted into a fully animated feature film by Rankin/Bass and has since become a cult classic. But what many people don't know, is that there were once plans to produce a live-action adaptation by Continent Films Ltd.
In the early 2000s, Continent Films Ltd. announced it would produce a live-action adaptation of Peter S. Beagle's novel by setting up a website to promote the film. The website would slowly be changed and updated over the years before finally going out of service in late 2019.
Thanks to the Wayback Machine, it is possible to view the different versions of the film's website, and to see various production materials and lists of cast and crew members.
The film was to be directed by Geoff Murphy and produced by Michael Pakleppa, with a screenplay written by Beagle himself. The film would have utilized both practical and non-practical effects. Such as a real horse being used to play the titular unicorn (with makeup and CGI enhancements), a real cat playing the talking cat, and several animatronic creatures.
The film also would've featured a star-studded cast, such as Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Schmendrick the Magician, Mia Farrow (who voiced the unicorn in the animated version) as Molly Grue, Angela Lansbury as Mommy Fortuna, Rene Auberjonois as both Captain Cully and The Skeleton, and most notably, Christopher Lee who would reprise his role as King Haggard.
For over a decade, the film seemed to go through development hell (the exact reason as to why being unknown) with it constantly being pushed back and getting stuck in pre-production.
After Christoper Lee's death in 2016, the website was changed to heavily promote Angels Of Notting Hill, which was Lee's final film before his death.
Since the website is now no longer in service, and Continent Films (presumably) being dissolved, the film has most likely been canceled. Whether or not any footage was shot for the film remains unknown.
- A download link for the film's script. Which was written by Peter S. Beagle himself. Retrieved 04 Aug '20
- Polygon's article on the film Retrieved 10 Aug '20
- Earliest available archive of the website. Retrieved 04 Aug '20
- Planned merchandise for the movie. Retrieved 04 Aug '20
- BFI's page on The Last Unicorn movie. Retrieved 04 Aug '20
- The film was apparently announced at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival. Retrieved 04 Aug '20
- One of the first iterations of the website. Retrieved 04 Aug '20
- What the website looks like now. Retrieved 04 Aug '20
- The film's credits list. Retrieved 04 Aug '20
- Details about the film's special effects. Retrieved 04 Aug '20
- Details about the cast. Retrieved 04 Aug '20
- The Angels Of Notting Hill promotion. Retrieved 04 Aug '20
- Companies House' page on Continent Films. Retrieved 04 Aug '20