Heritage holds a blockbuster auction featuring props, scripts and costumes from producer Joel Silver's Collection

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Heritage holds a blockbuster auction featuring props, scripts and costumes from producer Joel Silver's Collection
Producer Joel Silver's Personal (5) Scripts from the Lethal Weapon Franchise (Warner Bros., 1987-1998).

DALLAS, TX.- You know his movies, among them the billion-dollar franchises and big-screen blockbusters that will play on small screens until the electricity runs out. For starters: all four Lethal Weapons, the first two Die Hards, the first three entries in The Matrix series, the Sherlock Holmes movies, 48 Hrs., the first two Predators, Road House, Demolition Man, Commando, V for Vendetta, Weird Science, the Tales from the Crypt TV series. It goes on. And on.

You know his name, too, the rare producer whose name would appear above the title: Joel Silver, who likes to say that in 1975 he “went from college to Hollywood.” Silver has more than 125 productions to his credit, dating back to 1979’s The Warriors. Ever since, he’s come out to play: “I am in the business to make movies seen by the audience,” he once said. “That is my intention.” That, and nothing but.

During those five decades in show business, Silver has amassed one of the modern cinema’s greatest collections, featuring desired and iconic props, costumes, scripts and models not only from his productions but from such films as House of Wax, Von Ryan’s Express, Blade Runner, A Night to Remember, the Coen Brothers’ Hudsucker Proxy and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (in which the producer had a cameo as a director). Silver, too, has some of cinema history’s most precious memories, among them the ornate door handle to Paramount Pictures’ landmark Broadway offices built in the 1920s.

For the first time, Silver will offer all of these precious and celebrated memories to the public: More than 100 items from Silver’s collection, representing nearly every major film of his career (even Xanadu and Hudson Hawk!), will be sold through Heritage Auctions during the July 22-23 Hollywood & Entertainment Signature® Auction. Every item comes with a letter of authenticity signed by Silver.

“Everywhere you look in this auction is something from a movie you know by heart,” says Executive Vice President Joe Maddalena. “This is one of those auctions movie-lovers only dream of – a chance to own something from a childhood favorite, a movie that upended the industry, a film that revolutionized the art form. These are some of Joel’s most prized memories from some of his biggest movies, including all of his scripts from the Lethal Weapon series, and to share them with our client-collectors is a pleasure and a thrill.”

Look no further than the more than a dozen props from 1999’s The Matrix, otherwise known as The Movie That Changed Everything.

Here is the Nebuchadnezzar itself, or at least the original production maquette used during The Wachowskis’ first visit to the Matrix. This is the ship captained by Morpheus as he searched for The One, and it’s strikingly cool: The model comes in its original wooden crate and still lights up when plugged in (just like Neo!). When it was recently on display in the windows at Heritage’s New York offices, passersby stopped simply to stare.

This auction also features the lightning rifle hero prop, designed for use against the lethal Sentinels but also the very weapon used by Cypher to kill Dozer and injure Tank. And speaking of the Sentinels, here are two – one, a standalone model; the other, featuring a “squiddy” affixed to the Nebuchadnezzar during the battle sequence late in the film.

From 2003’s The Matrix: Revolutions comes perhaps the ultimate fan piece, especially for fans of Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith. This auction features three life-sized Smith models created for the climactic rain-soaked brawl pitting Keanu Reeves’ Neo against Agent Smith in front of an infinite number of Smiths. Most of the agents were just actors made to look like Weaving; but to flesh out the fight, the Wachowskis had lifelike Smiths scattered throughout the crowd. Why have just The One when you can now own this unholy trinity?

And this isn’t the only Hugo Weaving available in this event: From Silver’s office comes a life-sized display clad in the complete hero costume and Guy Fawkes mask Weaving wore in 2005’s V for Vendetta, written by The Wachowskis and based on Alan Moore’s graphic novel. This is the entire costume, too, from the black waffle-weave jacket to the half dozen steel daggers to the signature felt hat.

No less impressive – or imposing – is the life-sized creature suit display from 1990’s Predator 2. The alien was the creation of legendary special-effects artist Stan Winston, who was recommended by the original film’s star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and took his inspiration from a portrait of a Rastafarian warrior in Silver’s office and Aliens director James Cameron’s suggestion of a creature “with mandibles.”

Said Winston later of the creature’s design, “The Predator had to be a real character, rather than a generic creature. He needed to be a very specific character, and that's what we came up with.” Winston’s team crafted the head, hands and feet from the original’s molds and finished them to detail to complete the display for Silver.

From the 1987 original Predator comes another production model: the alien’s spaceship filming miniature made of cast fiberglass, resin, acrylic and multimedia components.

As this auction spans the entirety of Silver’s career, it includes two costumes from the first movie he says he “willed into production”: Walter Hill’s 48 Hrs. – at the time, a strange and seldom-seen action-comedy hybrid that wound up defining the buddy-cop picture for decades. Silver, producing his first film solo, kept two pieces from the film that marked Eddie Murphy’s big-screen debut (at all of 21 years old): Murphy’s Reggie Hammond suit and its far shaggier counterpart, the outfit worn by Nick Nolte’s grizzled cop Jack Cates.

Die Hard might be Silver’s most beloved film, but as the producer likes to say, the filmmakers were considered “laughingstocks” when they hired Bruce Willis to play New York cop John McClane. At the time, he was known primarily as the small-screen star of ABC’s Moonlighting – a slight, soul-singing smart-ass in a suit who couldn’t have been more unlike the bulked-up action stars of the day.

From that Christmas classic (depending on who you ask, anyway) comes this gift: Silver’s screen-used miniature model of the office chair loaded with C-4, detonators and a computer McClane tossed down an elevator shaft. There’s also a production-used clapboard from Die Hard; a miniature model of the ill-fated Windsor Airlines DC-8 and Silver’s annotated script from Die Hard 2; and McClane’s tattered and singed outfit from Die Hard With a Vengeance.

Like the man says: Yippee ki-yay.

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