W.D. Richter says there's no mystery about what's become of him in the seven years since he made "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai," an eccentric and imaginative science-fiction movie that has become a cult classic.
"I haven't been on drugs, I haven't dropped out and I certainly haven't been in a deep freeze like Willie and Frank," he says in a telephone interview, referring to the two characters in his new movie, "Late for Dinner," who come back to life after being on ice for 29 years. "I've been right here in Gloucester, Mass., sitting in an a chair working on screenplays."
Richter, now 45, is considered one of the most brilliant screenwriters of the '70s and early '80s. A short list of his scripts includes: "Slither" (1973), "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1978), "Dracula" (1978), and "Brubaker" (1980). But in the seven years since "Buckaroo" -- a film so popular that there are "Team Banzai" clubs in places as disparate as the Mathematics Department at Cal Tech and the Pacific submarine fleet of the U.S. Navy -- there have only been two Richter screenplays produced. And neither of those, "Big Trouble in Little China" (1986) and "Hang Tough" (1990), were successful movies.