In 1994, Paul Thomas Anderson was 24 years old and struggling to sell his script for Boogie Nights.
The young writer-director's idea to create a film about the porn industry of the '70s was pretty revolutionary and, sure enough, was more than a little controversial for some studios. The first draft of the script passed through a few of the major studios, including 20th Century Fox.
For those that don't know, scripts have to go through various drafts and, as you can imagine, it can change quite dramatically between them. However, Anderson's first run at the script for Boogie Nights left 20th Century Fox pretty well cold, if this rejection letter is anything to go by.
Here's the cliff-notes from the original rejection slip:
And here's the rejection letter in full.
As we know, Boogie Nights was eventually made in 1997 and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at both the Oscars, the BAFTAs and the Writers' Guild of America Awards. The film launched Paul Thomas Anderson's career as a writer-director and also launched the career of Mark Wahlberg, who up until that point, was primarily known as the lead singer for Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch.