DEMOLITION MAN Screenwriter Reveals "Three Seashells" Origin
He doesn't know how to use the three seashells! A mystery from Demolition Man that has confounded moviegoers for more than two decades may have been solved. Screenwriter Daniel Waters has finally explained the origin of the three seashells.
In the 1993 science fiction action film Demolition Man, LAPD Sgt., John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone) is put into a cryogenic prison in 1996 when he's falsely accused of manslaugther. He is later awoken in 2032 and reinstated into the police force so that he can help ill-equipped cops of the future apprehend psychopathic career criminal Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes). The best scenes in the film have to do with Spartan adjusting to this new futuristic environment. In it, Taco Bell (Pizza Hut for some international markets) has won the "Franchise Wars" and is the last remaining chain restaurant, Arnold Schwarzenegger was (at one time) President of the United States of America, and they replaced toilet paper with THREE SEASHELLS!
This past weekend at The Egyptian in Hollywood, there was a screening of The Adventures of Ford Fairlane in advance of the film's 25th Anniversary. Screenwriter Daniel Waters was one of the guest speakers at the event. During the Q&A session a member of the audience asked Waters about the "Three Seashells" from Demolition Man, which he also wrote. A Reddit user, uncleluke2, was on hand and has provided a breakdown of what Waters said.
I'm paraphrasing, Dan said: "I won't tell you the actual secret, but I'll tell you where it came from. There's a scene where Stallone has to use a restroom. I'm trying to come up with futuristic things you'd find in there. I was having trouble, so I called my buddy, another screenwriter across town, asked him if he had any ideas. Ironically enough that guy was taking a dump when he answered the phone, looked around his bathroom and said 'I have a bag of seashells on my toilet as a decoration?' I said 'Ok, I'll make something out of that.'"
The plot of this action film begins in 1996, with Los Angeles in a violence-crazed conflagration. One of the LAPD's most notorious cops, John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone), known as "the demolition man," is in hot pursuit of blonde-haired psychopath Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes), who is so nasty he even kills sometimes just because he feels cranky. John captures Simon, but not before Simon kills innocent hostages. John is blamed for the deaths of the hostages, and both he and Simon are cryogenically frozen to remove their brand of ultra-violence from a society that is simply just too violent. The film shifts to the future world of 2032, where Los Angeles has become a megalopolis called San Angeles. There is no poverty, Arnold Schwarzenegger was (at one time) president of the United States, and Taco Bell is the sole survivor of the Franchise Wars. Into this peaceful and bland society, Simon is summarily defrosted by reigning benevolent dictator Dr. Cocteau (Nigel Hawthorne) to have Simon murder Edgar Friendly (Denis Leary), the leader of a group of underground rebels. But Cocteau bites off more than he can chew when the melted-down Simon proceeds to go on a murder-and-looting spree. Reluctantly, Cocteau defrosts John to hunt down his old adversary. As John adjusts to self-driving cars and having sex wearing helmets, he pairs up with Lenina Huxley (Sandra Bullock), a bored cop with a nostalgic fascination for 20th-century culture.
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