At the age of 26, in 1985, screenwriter Joseph Minion was one of Hollywood’s most promising new voices. His comedy After Hours, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Griffin Dunne as a computer programmer on a nightmarish trip through New York’s SoHo district, was a critical and box office success. Cut to 1988. His second film, Daddy’s Boys, went nowhere. And Minion couldn’t get backing for his new screenplay, Motorama, about a boy driving from gas station to gas station on a weird quest.
His then girlfriend, Barbara Zitwer, promised to produce a movie if he’d write one that was more mainstream. ”Horror story,” thought Minion. ”There’s always an audience for that.” Inspired by a dead bat found on his balcony, he pulled from his typewriter in two weeks, and it was filmed without one rewrite. ”The only thing that wasn’t in the script was Nick (Cage) eating a cockroach. That was his own contribution.”
In Kiss, the 33-year-old New Jersey native bit into a familiar theme: A yuppie goes looking for love in New York and goes to hell instead. But Kiss is now more of a cult favorite than a mainstream success. Critics have speculated that his monsters are metaphors for AIDS, but he insists, ”I don’t have any kind of mission. I’m just interested in people trying to connect.”