Six Un-produced Scripts I’d Love to See On the Big Screen

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Torso

    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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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  6. 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.

A Flix Odyssey – From Vision to Film: Batman Begins

Inception Countdown Post #2

As you probably know, I’m a sucker for movie trivia. I love reading tidbits about casting and behind-the-scenes stuff about film productions. I’m not talking about gossips about which actors are hooking up with who, now that’s TMZ territory I don’t care for. What intrigues me is the journey how certain flicks go from vision to the actual version released in theaters. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that for most films, the finished piece has been greatly altered from its original vision and the drama that go on in the making-of process is likely far more convoluted than whatever is going on in the movie itself!

Well, in the next few weeks, FlixChatter will be featuring guest posts from my colleague and fellow movie buff Ted Saydalavong, who’s like a walking encyclopedia on behind-the-scenes trivia! As this week is dedicated to Christopher Nolan’s Inception, why not start with my favorite of Nolan’s work. So here is a cliff notes version of the Batman Begins‘ history.

After the Batman & Robin debacle, Warner Bros. wanted to reboot their most lucrative franchise and so they went out and hired a lot of writers and directors to see who can come up with the most creative ideas to restart the franchise.

First they decided to adapt the animated cartoon Batman Beyond for the big screen. This version takes place in the future where Bruce Wayne is an old man and he’s training a young protégé to be the new Batman. In fact Clint Eastwood was asked if he’s willing to play the old Bruce Wayne/Batman, he said he would if he’s was younger. I believe around this time Eastwood was well into his 70s and he said he didn’t want to run around and kicking ass at that age. A little tidbit, Nolan actually asked Eastwood if he wants to be in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, he was supposed to play the commissioner in Begins and the mayor in TDK. He couldn’t do it because he was busy filming his own movies, but he said if Nolan asked him again to be in the new Batman flick, he’d make time. So expect to see Eastwood in the next Batman film. As for the young Batman to be, there were lots of actors who auditioned for the role, these include Aston Kutcher, Joshua Jackson and Jake Gyllenhaal just to name a few.

After they read the screenplay from the animated show’s writers, they didn’t like what they read and decided to go another route. In came director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler), he asked Frank Miller (the man who pretty much reboot the Batman franchise in the comic books) to help him write the script. Miller wrote the first treatment based on his graphic novel Batman: Year One, also the name of the script, which you can read in full here. In this version, the setup is similar to Batman Begins: Bruce Wayne left Gotham for a few years and came back to the even more corrupted city. As the story begins we see Bruce as some kind of bum and homeless, he’s still upset about loss of his parents. This version is very low tech compare to Batman Begins, but very gritty and violent. There’s no Alfred in this version, only a mechanic whom Bruce works for and he refers to him as Big Al. Also, the main villain is the police commissioner Loeb, so no Joker, Two-Face or Scarecrow yet.

Year One is more of a detective story; the plot is really about Bruce Wayne becoming Batman while trying to accept the deaths of his parents. He does a lot detective work, trying to take down thugs, pimps and gangsters. The script also focuses Jim Gordon, in this version he is trying to take down the dirty police force by himself but as the story progresses, he gets help from Batman. As I mentioned earlier, this script is quite violent so had they made the movie, it would’ve gotten a hard R rating. Oh yeah, Miller did introduce Selina Kyle a.k.a Catwoman but she starts out as hooker who meets Bruce near the beginning of the story. He also hints a bit about bringing in The Joker, similar to what Nolan did at the end of Batman Begins.

Well, after Aronofsky and Miller finished the script, they handed it into the studio. Not surprisingly, they rejected the idea, instead they asked Aronofsky to tone down the violence and make it a more conventional storyline, such as bringing back Alfred and not make Catwoman a prostitute. Aronofsky refused and left the project.

In late 2002 early 2003, the studio hired Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, The Perfect Storm) to direct Batman vs. Superman since they couldn’t get either one of the superhero films off the ground separately. The script was green-lit and they begun the casting process. Christian Bale was actually close to becoming the new Man of Steel, not The Dark Knight. If I remember correctly, they wanted some unknown for Batman/Bruce Wayne role. So while Petersen was searching for the new Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent, the studio suddenly decided to shut down production. As a consolation, the studio offered Petersen a chance to direct Troy and of course he accepted.

Now, I don’t know why the studio decided to abruptly canceled Batman vs. Superman, but my guess is that by that time, Nolan had pitched his version of Batman to them and they loved it. As we all know, Nolan is now the ‘savior’ of the Batman franchise. Let’s hope the third Bat flick is as good as the first two. Rumor has it, the third film might be called The Caped Crusader. I like it, but Nolan might end up naming it The Dark Knight Returns. He’s also in charge of rebooting Superman franchise, again.