Greatest Movies Never Made?
November 29, 2008 9:31 PM   Subscribe

Help me find great & fascinating movies that were never made (like Neil Gaiman's Sandman by Eliott & Rossio). If you know of any - can you help me find stories about what happened?

I ran across this CHUD article that details a bunch of movies that were never made. My curiosity got the best of me. They include things like a Batman reboot by Darren Aronofsky with garage mechanic Big Al as Alfred. And a Planet of the Apes starring Arnold and prehistoric monkeys playing baseball.

I've been fascinated by this ever since Jerry Bruckheimer's Oz trilogy never panned out.
posted by jabberjaw to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I remember reading about Sigourney Weaver being cast in the adaptation of one of my favorite books from years ago, Dr. Neruda's Cure For Evil.

So far, the jury is out as to whether the sequel to The Wicker Man, called Cowboys For Christ, will ever be made. Also, everyone's waiting for the final installment in Lars von Trier's trilogy about America, which is supposed to be called Wasington.
posted by hermitosis at 9:43 PM on November 29, 2008

Best answer: Haven't seen it, but the documentary Lost in La Mancha is about Terry Gilliam's failed attempt to make a Don Quixote movie.
posted by msbrauer at 9:45 PM on November 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

Not great, but fascinating... Superman Lives.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:17 PM on November 29, 2008

I have read the script for Sandman by Rossio & Elliot. It was horrible beyond belief. So, I think that's connected to why it didn't get made. Not that bad scripts don't get made, but, for example, this one actually had Delirium's dialog written with the alternating upper and lower case characters, which was obnoxious and lazy.
posted by bingo at 10:17 PM on November 29, 2008

I've seen Lost in La Mancha, and it's great. I mean, everything goes wrong. everything. I saw it with a friend of mine who also works in film, and he admitted that it was like every work nightmare he had coming true. Gilliam takes it all with such good grace, you have to admire the man.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:38 PM on November 29, 2008

Best answer: The movie was eventually made by D. Lynch, but I think the original production of Dune, directed by Alejandro Jodorowski, which was cancelled for financial reasons, counts as one of the most fascinating films never made. It contains the original concept of Giger's Alien aesthetic, a soundtrack by Dark Side of the Moon era Pink Floyd, Salvador Dali as the galactic emperor and all sorts of other cool things.
posted by ghost of a past number at 10:48 PM on November 29, 2008

For varying values of great, there's the sad fate of Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League.
posted by lekvar at 11:28 PM on November 29, 2008

Best answer: The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made
The 50 Greatest Movies Never Made

This short story touches on various movies not made.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 12:41 AM on November 30, 2008

The band Sparks had two failed film projects. The first was in the 1970s. One of the greatest French filmmakers of all-time, Jacques Tati, was planning to make a movie starring Sparks. Read all about the failed 'Confusion' project here. Undeniably, that would have been an interesting pairing.

Almost twenty years later, there was the failed Mai, The Psychic Girl, based on the Japanese comic. Tim Burton was to direct it, and Sparks was to provide the soundtrack. It was never made due to financial reasons.
posted by Mael Oui at 2:30 AM on November 30, 2008

i actually recently heard that Gilliam has secured new financing to have another go at his Don Quixote project. i believe i heard this on the BBC, on Mark Kermode's film review program, but i'm not positive.
posted by xz at 2:52 AM on November 30, 2008

American McGee's Alice has been on the verge of production for the past few years. I don't think it's ever going to be made. I'll be more than happy to be proven wrong, though.
posted by Xere at 2:56 AM on November 30, 2008

There was a script for Alien 3 written by William Gibson. Then one written by Vincent Ward which Renny Harlin was attached to direct for a while. Gibson's script (which I've read and it's terrible) mutated the Aliens into a biological contaminant and didn't feature Ripley at all, only Newt and Hicks.

Ward's version was set in a space station made out of wood with monks living on it. It got quite far in production: sets were built and people hired before the studio got nervous and axed the idea. Should be plenty of information online. I know the documentaries on Alien3 mention Ward's version quite often.

Another similar movie franchise is George A. Romero's 'Dead' series. He always invisioned the story as a larger arc, where the world was eventually overwhelmed by zombies and the remaining humans eventually train the zombies to use weapons and fight their wars for them. Elements of this survives in his later movies. It was originally going to be Day of the Dead but due to budgetary constraints, it got cut down to (practically) a single location and only smaller elements of the original story survived.

Generally speaking, if it's a successful franchise, there will be sequel ideas that were never completed for various reasons. Some better than others.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:22 AM on November 30, 2008

I can't find anything that tells if Charles K. Pitts ever managed to get Robertson Davies' Deptford Trilogy made into a film.
posted by Restless Day at 5:15 AM on November 30, 2008

Not exactly "never made," but an extra on The Fountain DVD chronicles Aronofsky's first attempt to make the movie that didn't pan out.
posted by puritycontrol at 8:06 AM on November 30, 2008

Seconding Jodorowski's Dune. If I could somehow will that movie into being, the world would be just a little more awesome. Also I believe a lot of the Tatooine sets from Star Wars were originally concieved for that one.

And while it's not a movie, a third season of Twin Peaks would have been pretty damn awesome.
posted by Jawn at 9:55 AM on November 30, 2008

Response by poster: Zed_Lopez - thanks for the links to the books, I'll have to track them down.

And I had forgotten about Superman Lives, MegoSteve. Kevin Smith's story is hilarious.
posted by jabberjaw at 3:40 PM on November 30, 2008

Best answer: Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon biopic.
posted by minimal at 10:44 AM on December 2, 2008

Thirty Wishes, by Elisa Bell. One of the best screenplays I've ever read (and I used to read them for a living). I can't find much about it on the web, but it's bounced around Hollywood for years and somehow never made it off the ground. Maybe someday...

I also recommend checking out Lost in La Mancha, though it's a bit depressing.
posted by Messily at 5:17 PM on December 10, 2008

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