Coma
Based on the novel by Robin Cook: after her best friend falls into a coma during routine surgery, Dr. Susan Wheeler discovers similar cases at her prestigious Boston hospital. But as her investigation unfolds, Susan uncovers a horrific conspiracy – and suddenly finds herself marked for death.

In His Own Words

Michael Crichton - In His Own WordsI found it much easier to adapt someone else’s work than to adapt my own. I hate adapting my own, because I’ve done all that work to make it a book, and now I have to go back to make it a movie. I’ll never do it again. Writing original screenplays is more fun. But Coma to me is very interesting. It has a medical background, and I have that, and secondly, it’s the kind of story that I like, because it’s based on a premise that is not impossible. It’s a possible idea carried to an extreme.

Michael Crichton Signature

From the Official Archives

Behind the Scenes from a Deleted Coma Scene

In the Coma shooting script, there is a short scene set at a Racquetball Court that shows Susan (played in the movie by Genevieve Bujold) getting out some of her frustrations in a racquetball game with a friend.  The scene was shot at The Center Courts in Santa Monica, California on July 19, 1977.  The scene never made it to the final cut of the movie, but in the Crichton Archives, we found some fun behind the scenes material from that day of shooting:  a thank-you letter from the the president of The Center Courts, a picture of Michael Crichton playing a game of racquetball and a picture of Michael Crichton with a group of racquetball “fans”!

COMA Script - Racquetball Scene

Coma Script – Racquetball Scene

COMA Script - Racquetball Scene

Coma Shooting Schedule – Racquetball Scene

Michael Crichton playing Racquetball at The Center Courts

Michael Crichton playing Racquetball at The Center Courts

Thank You Letter from The Center Courts

Thank You Letter from The Center Courts

Picture of Michael Crichton at The Center Courts

Picture of Michael Crichton at The Center Courts

Michael Crichton on Directing

Michael Crichton talks about directing in this excerpt from “A Cure from Box-Office Atrophy from a physician who likes to play doctor” by Digby Diehl in Signature magazine from 1978.

“Working in films has been good for me personally. I came out of medicine with very autocratic attitudes, ‘Do this’ or ‘Do that,’ and having it happen. It doesn’t work that way in movies. You are obligated to cajole, convince, and persuade people rather than order them. Because filmmaking is such a collective effort, you also learn a lot about compromise. It has been a healthy contrast to the lonely fantasy life of writing.

There is something very concrete about working on a movie. There you are, surrounded by sets with wallpaper and furniture and lights that are all real — but they are all illusion, too. When you sit at your typewriter writing books, it is all in your imagination, there isn’t even that illusion. I suspect I will eventually come to some point where my book projects and my movie projects will be quite separate processes for me.”

Michael Crichton in Signature Magazine - 1978

Michael Crichton in Signature magazine – 1978

Michael Crichton in Signature Magazine - 1978

Michael Crichton in Signature magazine – 1978

Photos from the set of Coma

Coma photo credits:  MGM

Michael Crichton on the set of Coma

Michael Crichton on the set of Coma

Michael Crichton and Elizabeth Ashley on the set of Coma

Michael Crichton and Elizabeth Ashley
on the set of Coma

Michael Crichton and Genevieve Bujold on the set of COMA

Michael Crichton and Genevieve Bujold
on the set of Coma

Michael Crichton and Genevieve Bujold on the set of COMA

Michael Crichton and Genevieve Bujold
on the set of Coma

Michael Crichton and Genevieve Bujold on the set of COMA

Michael Crichton and Genevieve Bujold
on the set of Coma

Michael Crichton and Michael Douglas on the set of COMA

Michael Crichton and Michael Douglas
on the set of Coma

COMA Cast Photo

Coma Cast and Crew Photo

COMA Cast and Crew Photo

Coma Cast and Crew Photo

Movie

Coma

Release Date: January 6, 1978
Running Time: 1 hr. 53 min.
MPAA Rating: PG
Director: Michael Crichton
Screenwriter: Michael Crichton
Based on the novel by: Robin Cook
Studio: MGM
Starring: Michael Douglas, Geneviève Bujold, Elizabeth Ashley, Rip Torn, Richard Widmark, Lois Chiles, Tom Selleck