Even though the 1994 film grossed $341,631,208 at the worldwide box office, the film was in development hell for years. According to an article in Entertainment Weekly , producers Keith Barish and Joel Silver commissioned Steven E. de Souza to write a script for a Flintstones movie in 1985. Steven Spielberg, who had directed John Goodman in Always , recommended Goodman for the role of Fred. In 1993, eight writers wrote a new draft of the script, but only three writers were credited. Richard Donner was once attached to direct but Brian Levant took over (he also directed the sequel, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas ).
It was Malkovich's serendipitous start in theatre in the Seventies that led him into the more commercial world of movie-making in Hollywood. He studied biology at university in his hometown of Illinois and had an itinerant career, driving school buses and painting houses until he fell in love with an actress. Picking her up from a rehearsal one day, he became fascinated by the stage. That led to acting classes and by 1976, he was a regular at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. The young company brought Sam Shepard's play, True West, to New York City in 1980, and a few years later, he directed a Steppenwolf production which led to accolades and a Broadway debut as Biff in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman alongside Dustin Hoffman (Malkovich won an Emmy for the role when it was adapted for TV by CBS).