Most of us who follows Hollywood knows that there are many scripts movie studios refused to turn into films. For whatever reasons the executives just didn’t believe in any of these scripts but of course they had no problem greenlighting several bad scripts each year. But that’s how the business works, if the scripts aren’t about sequels, reboots, remakes or comic book based, then they won’t get made into actual films.
Below are list of scripts I would love to see come alive and shown on the big screen someday but chances are these will never make it to the cinemas.
- Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis
Coppola spent years working on this script and around early 2000s he was ready to shoot the movie and he even got Russell Crowe on board to star as his leading man. The story is about government corruption in New York City set 300 years in the future. Coppola said he needs $200mil to make this world come alive but the problem is he hasn’t had a box office hits in years and he knows no studio in Hollywood will give him that kind of money to make this film. So he decided to put the project on hold and focus on smaller films. I hope he gets to make this film someday because I think it sounds great and the film could be a big comeback for him. I’m sure he’ll have to get another actor for the lead role since Crowe is not the A-list actor he once was 10 years ago.
- David Fincher’s Mission: Impossible 3
When Paramount hired David Fincher to take over the Mission: Impossible franchise back in 2002, I was quite excited to see his take on the spy flick. To read more about why Fincher left the project this project, please read my full article about this film. I do hope Fincher take this script and make it into his first action/adventure film someday.
This script based on a graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko was supposed to be David Fincher’s next film after The Curious Case of Benjamin Button but again Paramount didn’t want to put the up the big money so it’s currently stuck in a limbo. The story takes place in the 1930s and it’s about a serial killer who only left torsos of his victims after the he killed them. The investigator of the case was Elliot Ness, yup that’s the same Elliot Ness from The Untouchables. According to this HeroComplex article from back in December 2008, “…[Paramount] studio’s rights to the project… are due to expire on Dec. 15 [of that year].”
Matt Damon was rumored to be the front runner for the Ness role. According to some reports, Fincher was demanding a budget of $100mil or more and Paramount wasn’t willing to give him that kind of cash to shoot a movie about a serial killer in the 1930s. I understand the risk, but I think this film could be something special. Didn’t Paramount executives see Se7en? Currently the producers are pitching the project to other studios in Hollywood, I hope we get to see it on the big screen soon. Maybe Henry Cavill could step in and play Elliot Ness since he’ll be a household name by the time this film is ready to start shooting.
- I, Robot (The unproduced script from the late 1970s)
Yes I know I, Robot‘s already been made into a film but I’m referring to this script. It was written back in the late 1970s and it’s considered one of the best sci-fi scripts ever written. If you haven’t read it, please give it a try it’s excellent. The reason it was never made into a film was because back in the 70s, the technology just wasn’t available for filmmakers to make the script come true and also it would’ve cost 3 times more than any Hollywood’s film budget at that time.
The script is nothing like 2004’s I, Robot, it’s in the same vein as Blade Runner, more of a thinking man’s sci-fi thriller as oppose to shoot’em up action/adventure. The last I heard Fox is developing a sequel to their 2004’s hit, I wonder if they’ll incorporate some of the elements from this script. I highly doubt it since they’ll probably make it into louder and bigger than the first film.
- Batman: Year One
As much as I love Nolan’s Batman Begins, I still would love to see Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One made into a film. Back in early 2000s, Warner Bros. hired Darren Aronofsky to reboot their Batman franchise. Darren then got Frank Miller to come on board as his screenwriter. To read more about what happened, check out this from-vision-to-film post.
Maybe 15 years from now when Warner Bros. is ready to reboot the franchise again, we might get to see Miller’s Batman: Year One on the big screen.
- The Prisoner
Back in the 90s, Hollywood was crazy with turning old TV shows into films thanks largely to the success of Batman, The Fugitive and Mission: Impossible. So it was no surprise that they planned to churned out more films based on old TV shows, next on the list was The Prisoner. Even though it aired for only one season in England, the premise was intriguing enough that a movie studio, Paramount Pictures if I remember correctly, was confident that it will make a great tent pole picture for them. So in the late 1990s, they hired Simon West (Con Air, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) to develop the film version. …
Unfortunately by the late 90s, TV shows turned into films weren’t that successful, The Saint came out in 1997 and it tanked, the next year The Mod Squad made into the big screen and it also was a huge failure. So when the studio realized the trend is dying, they’ve decided to put the project on hold.In early 2000s, the project was again circling around Hollywood.
At one point Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott names were attached to the project but nothing happened. Then after Chris Nolan made a name for himself with Momento, he said he was developing a film version of The Prisoner, this was a year or two before he landed the Batman Begins gig. Even though he was working on the Batman films, Nolan was still working on The Prisoner’s script. But then in 2008 AMC Network announced they’re going to make a TV mini-series version, so in late 2009 Nolan decided stop developing the film version.
I was little bit upset when I heard he left the project, so much so that I decided to not watch the TV mini-series version. I guess I didn’t miss much since it didn’t do that well at all on ratings and most TV critics hated it. Now no one really know why Nolan decided to stop working on the film version, I’m assuming he wasn’t happy with the news that a mini-series was coming out and also maybe there are some legal issues and he didn’t want to deal with them. I do hope he goes back to work on developing the film version again, who knows he might do that once he finished with the third Batman film. I mean the premise of the TV show fits well at what Nolan does best and with a big budget and a good leading man, he could turn it into a great summer action/sci-fi/psychological thriller.
Well, what do you think, would you like to see any of these projects on the big screen? Do share your own wishlist of scripts you wish would get made into feature films.
18 thoughts on “Six Un-produced Scripts I’d Love to See On the Big Screen”
‘Torso’ is an awesome book and Fincher would’ve been perfect for the film version. Can’t believe Par wouldn’t pony up the dough for that, especially after ‘Button.’ In a similar vein, BMB made another graphic novel called ‘Fortune and Glory’ that chronicled his struggle to get one of his books made into a movie. It’s very funny and well worth a read for film fans.
I’ve never read the graphic novel of Torso but I think with Fincher behind the camera, it could be something great. Let’s hope we’ll get to see it on the big screen someday.
Wow, great article. I would really like to see #1 and 2, although all picks are awesome.
Thanks Lesya, I’d love to see those two scripts made into films too.
Really great article you are relly good at digging up interesting sublinks. The Prisoner is actually a remake it was a 60’s BBC production that lasted a season. It has some really brilliant episodes that most certainly is among the earliest attempts of modern TV (the kind we are accustomed to now).
Thanks Joel, I vaguely remember watching the TV show of The Prisoner. But the premise has been spoof so many times, including an episode of The Simpsons a few years back. I sure hope Nolan goes back and work on the script again so we can see a film version.
It’s almost depressing to know about all of this. I’ll tell you what, though. Coppola does not need $200 million to make anything. No one does. I would direct him to Neill Blomkamp and have him ask how to use a budget. So much money is wasted in making movies it’s ridiculous. I’d love to see Megalopolis, but c’mon.
The I, Robot thing just makes me remember the one that actually got produced. Then I puke a little in my mouth. Some of it might dribble onto my Converse, circa 2004.
I’ve actually wanted to watch The Prisoner. I forgot about it until you brought it up here, so I’ll seek it out.
I actually don’t mind seeing the Prisoner miniseries either, I mean I love Caviezel. I’d love to see Nolan’s version too of course, and Ted mentioned in another post that perhaps Gerry Butler could star in it? Now I like that idea VERY much 😀
You’re so right, $200mil to make a film is a ridiculous number but that’s how the business works. Big ego big money.
lol, yeah Will Smith’s I, Robot was pretty bad, there were so many plot holes I can drive through them.
Aw man, I loved YEAR ONE. Probably one of my favourite graphic novels along with THE KILLING JOKE.
Great post Ted. As always!!
Thanks Scott, I’ve never read the comic book version of Year One but i did read Frank Miller’s script that he and Aronofsky worked on. It’s pretty great and I hope we get to see it on the big screen someday.
I’m a huge fan of the original Prisoner series…would love to see a well done movie version of it. I had heard that Patrick McGoohan (the guy often seen as the show’s mastermind) worked on a script for a film version in the early 90s, but put it aside.
(I love that you placed The Prisoner at Number Six).
I would love to see Christopher Nolan direct a movie version, but I do wonder if the strange, ambiguous nature of the programme would translate well to a 2 hour motion picture.
Lol, yeah i was hoping someone will catch that I put it there at number 6, he he. I think Nolan can make it work for a two hour film.
I think of any of today’s directors, he probably would do the best job. Here’s hoping that he decides to pick up the project again!
Great idea for a post Ted. There is many great scripts out there that are left collecting dust because Hollywood studios are unwilling to take a chance on them. Megalopolis for example is a great example. $200 million to produce this kind of movie, sadly it’s just never going to happen because studios will never shell out that kind of money for a project that doesn’t scream “massive blockbuster”
Thanks Castor and yeah that’s basically what Coppola said, his script is not action oriented and it doesn’t have any big explosions or shootouts, that’s why he knew no studio will finance it.
What an outstanding article Ruth, I loved it!
Given that I hadn’t heard of any of these scripts before I was enthralled and would love for them all to eventually turned into films. Reading about David Fincher and his struggle for MI:3 was a great read, perhaps the studio is wishing now that they gave him a shot…
Megalopolis sounds great too. What an interesting concept for a film, if anyone could do it, I believe that Francis Ford Coppola could.
If they could do a proper film version of I, Robot then I would be very happy. It’s an incredible book and made even more impressive for the time that it was written. The Will Smith version is an embarrassment to the source material and is just a trainwreck of a film. I haven’t read the script for the late 1970’s version but I am very interested in your comment that it is considered to be one of the greatest sci-fi scripts ever written….
And lastly, I do hold out hope that they finally make Frank Miller’s Year One a movie reality…hope springs eternal, right?
From what I’ve heard about Darren Aronofsky and Frank Miller’s screenplay for “Batman: Year One,” I’m glad it wasn’t adapted. I found the graphic novel to be boring, and let’s face it, who wants to see a movie focusing on Jim Gordon? And to have a black jive-talking Alfred and Selina Kyle as a prostitute? Ugh. Chris Nolan handled Batman’s origins perfectly. However, I would have liked to have seen “Batman DarKnight” produced, as described here: