In the annals of action cinema from the ’90s, you’ll find a bevy of kinetic marvels that can still dazzle today. You’ll also find the 1993 movie Demolition Man. You will not, however, find a sequel to that deeply stupid but weirdly enjoyable film. And for that, it seems, we might have Meryl Streep to thank—or not thank, as the case may be.
Look, no one was hankering for a sequel to one of Sylvester Stallone’s dumber sci-fi action-comedies. But we would have been, had we only known what Joel Silver had in mind for it. On a recent episode of the Projection Booth podcast, one of the film’s many co-writers, Daniel Waters, revealed the producer’s idea for a second installment in the adventures of a thawed-out supercop. The original film apparently had a subplot that was eventually cut, in which Stallone’s John Spartan reconnects with his daughter—who is now older than he is, thanks to the intervening years. Silver took that idea and ran with it, according to Waters:
I get a call from Joel. “What do you think of this? Meryl Streep is Stallone’s daughter for the sequel. What do you think?” I’m like, “Okay, you get Meryl on the set and I’ll come out.”
Presumably, Silver (after giving himself the rest of the day off for coming up with such a good idea) then commissioned an amazing script, presented it to Streep, and the Out Of Africa star tore it up, sneering, “I don’t care about art, Joel, I’m here to make bank. Show me the money.”
Sure, there’s the slight possible that the whole Streep idea was a fleeting fancy generated by a four-martini lunch and forgotten immediately afterward. But we’re going to stick to the much more vivid idea that Meryl Streep ruined the possibility for a fantastic sequel to a mediocre and campy Stallone vehicle. So thanks a lot, Meryl Streep. Enjoy cashing your fat paychecks and sneering at those of us who just want to see some thoughtful arthouse cinema with a name like Demolition Man 2: Demolition Daughter.