The flames are hot here in development hell, and there’s way too much cocaine. Way, way too much. So why wouldn’t we come back?
When we first examined 8 Promised Movies That Still Haven’t Been Made, it was an exploration of the complex world of filmmaking where the smallest issue can derail an entire project potentially worth millions. Nervous executives, scheduling conflicts, hangnails. Getting a movie made is a miracle, and even those that get hailed in the press as moving forward are sometimes abandoned.
Considering our national grand obsession with hypotheticals, here are 8 more movies we were told would happen that haven’t (including some that won’t).
8. The John August-penned Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam
Captain Marvel is the kind of hero that might seem campy, but the potential for a great modernized movie are strong. After all, the character embodies the childhood fantasy of being able to instantly turn into an adult and save the world. That’s magical. How many times growing up did you wish you were older? It’s Big by way of super powers.
Plus, John August (Go, Big Fish) wrote the script, and Dwayne “The Eyebrow” Johnson was slated to play Black Adam ‐ our hero’s nemesis. So what do you do with a seriously talented writer and a hot new action star? Nothing apparently. The whole thing, which also had Get Smart director Peter Segal interested, fell apart after a shuffling from New Line to Warners.
Fortunately, we have some insight into what happened, because August relays the movie’s death in glorious detail. Guess what. Batman is to blame.
7. Johnny Depp as Dali
Granted, even the news announcement of this project was ridiculous, it was still one of the last remaining movie stars with any power saying that he wanted to play one of modern arts most famous figures. Sure, there was no script, no production company and no director attached, but since when do we not take the whims of stars seriously?
It’s a fascinating situation of publicly-announced desire, and the threat of it happening is such a long shot, that it won’t be surprising if it actually gets made further down the line.
6. Peter Berg’s Dune Remake
If history tells us anything, another Dune movie will go through 7 more directors and another decade or two of flaccid development before someone insane enough pairs with someone even crazier to tackle it with a sizable budget and a lot of sand.
Berg has had his share of solid work on screens big and small, and in a short while, theaters Stateside will be filled with the horrible shrieks of people enduring the massively loud bore of Battleship. Even if that’s a clear example of his big budget abilities, it doesn’t matter because he left Dune a long time ago. He was replaced by Taken director Pierre Morel and got a writer with zero feature credits to his name.
Then, Morel left, and here we are. Duneless. Probably a good thing. Herbert is not an easy writer to adapt.
5. A Sequel to The Last Starfighter
How does one move forward after the last of something? Maybe we should ask the team behind the sequel to The Last Exorcism. Or we could ask GPA Entertainment, who was working on creating a follow-up to the 1984 movie where a video game enthusiast is asked by an alien force to save the universe by flying an awesome tactical spaceship.
According to the rumors, the hang up was in finding a post-production house to partner with, but perhaps this was one best left unmade as well.
4. Ben Affleck’s Replay
With an excellent trailer for Argo out, we’re seeing the growth of a surprising directing talent. Seriously. Who could have called this one?
There was a time after The Town that he was being offered everything in the bin, and one of the projects he seemed interested in was an adaptation of the Ken Grimwood novel “Replay.” It’s essentially a dramatic out-of-body movie where a middle-aged dude dies and finds himself 18 again, maintaining all the knowledge he got from his previous try at life. He does things differently, but happiness eludes him and so does the love of Andie MacDowell.
At any rate, even if Affleck didn’t want to get involved, Warners seemed really keen on the project. And now they’re not. A perfect representation of how the major studio system often works.
3. David Lynch’s One Saliva Bubble
The most thorough information on David Lynch’s as-still-abandoned One Saliva Bubble can be found in David Hughes’s “The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made.” And it is thorough.
What’s even better is that you can read the screenplay and get a raw sense of what mayhem at the Soothing Breezes Sanitarium might have been like. Is it too much to hop for this to finally get made somehow?
2. Dreamworks’ Ghost In The Shell Remake
Akira could very well be in this slot as it claws desperately away from the flames of development hell, but a remake of Ghost in the Shell is a bit more interesting. Blasphemy? Probably, but the idea of a Spielberg-produced version of Masamune Shirow’s manga seems a hell of a lot cooler than any of the proposed Akira pairings.
Plus, it was going to be in 3D! People Studios love 3D!
Spielberg bought the rights and then got into financial trouble (that’s around the time Dreamworks went shopping for new a new billion-dollar financing partner), but although he called it “one of [his] favorites series,” he’s been way busy with a lot of other movies. So, no movement, but who would star anyway? Maggie Q is probably the correct answer.
Now how about James Cameron’s Battle Angel…? Maybe in 2020. Unless he finds a way to set it on Pandora.
This film has a special place in Development Hell because it’s one of the few failed projects to actually launch a career. It’s non-production history is long and varied ‐ featuring appearances by Stuart Beattie, Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. It was live-action. It was animated. It was going to be everything, but it’s still not been made.
But in the rubble that never got created, the real winner is Neill Blomkamp. The man won the directing gig after making three short films for Halo 3 that capture the spirit of the game in movie form. Of course, the world would shortly see what the man was capable of with District 9, but it’s this aborted project that got him into the door that got him into the room that got him in league with Jackson. The rest is history. An unwritten one.