Every director working in Hollywood has failed projects. Regardless of their talent or clout in the industry, some films just never get made. We all know the most famous ones: Tim Burton’s Death of Superman, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune, Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon, The Lord of the Rings starring The Beatles, Kill Bill 3 and almost every single project Guillermo Del Toro or Orson Welles ever said wanted to do. Seriously, this entire list could be comprised entirely of Del Toro and Welles failed passion projects.
With the news that Tim Miller is directing the stuck-in-development-hell-forever adaptation of Neuromancer, let’s take a look at 10 lesser known dead projects that might some day happen.
5. Shadow Of The Sun
Stanley Kubrik had a number of unrealized projects, there was: Napoleon, Aryan Papers, Lunatic at Large, Perfume, Pinocchio and a bunch of WW2 ideas he was thinking about adapting but It’s Shadow of the Sun that caught my eye. Based on a radio play of the same name, Shadow of the Sun is about a virus that’s introduced to earth through a meteorite landing. It was described as a cross between War of the Worlds and Mars Attacks! Not much else is known about it but the idea of Kubrick doing a Sci-Fi horror film is extremely appealing to me.
There isn’t much information about the numerous times people have tried to adapt this story but there was the HBO planned television show, then Eric Kripke, creator of Supernatural, tried to turn it into a show and lastly Joseph Gordon-Levitt was attached to direct and star. Of all the projects, it was Levitt’s take that garnered praise from Gaiman, sighting “He’s smart, honest and had a unique vision.”
Sandman has been referred to as many as unfilmable but the tales of Morpheus and the other endless are incredibly fascinating and I believe there’s someone out there that has, not only the ability to adapt it, but a studio that’ll green light his idea.
I put my money on Bryan Fuller. Mastermind behind Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me, Mockingbird Lane, Pushing Daisies, Hannibal and American Gods. That man has the craziest ideas but because he’s a genius he makes the impossible possible. I believe he would knock Sandman out of the park.
3. Fortunately, The Milk
I swear the back-to-back Neil Gaiman adaptations were a complete coincidence. Fortunately, The Milk tells the story of a father leaving to go buy milk for his children and asked why he took so long, tells a wildly fantastical story involving a spaceship of green aliens, vampires, space bike riding dinosaurs, and a time traveling, hot air balloon traveling stegosaurus named Professor Steg.
It’s a silly yarn reminiscent of the Daniel Wallace novel Big Fish but without the realistic tone. One would assume such a tale could only be adapted in animated form but Edgar Wright wanted to do it live action and considering he made Scott Pilgrim vs The World an almost shot for shot adaptation, I believe he could’ve pulled it off.
In 2015, it was announced that he was teaming up with Johnny Depp to make the film but there hasn’t been word of it since. There’s no information on whether he dropped it to focus solely on Baby Driver, or if he’s been working on it in secret but it seems as though it’s dead.
Wright was also attached to Grasshopper Jungle, which is a post apocalyptic tale involving 6-foot tall Praying Mantises. But since he’s done with Baby Driver, that could still potentially happen.
2. Heavy Metal
Heavy Metal (or Métal Hurlant if you’re in France) is a Science Fiction and fantasy comics magazine, that feature stories drawn by someone of the worlds greatest artists. It was highly influential among the underground comix scene.
In 1981, an animated movie was released based on the magazine. It was an anthology tale that had everything: graphic violence, nudity, drugs, rock and roll, and of course-sex.
I saw it at a “I’m waaaay too young to be seeing this” age and it blew me away. I had obviously never seen anything like it before and it melted my brain.
What is also brain melting is the fact that David Fincher has been trying to make a live action version of this for years. The closest he’s come was in 2008 when he had Guillermo Del Toro, Zach Snyder, Gore Verbinski and James Cameron attached. I literally can’t imagine how amazing that film would’ve been.
1. Killer Crow
The king of the unmade film. For every film Tarantino makes, there’s at least 5 he doesn’t. Here’s a list of every film he’s talked about over the years:
John Brown Biopic, Kill Bill 3, A 1930’s era gangster picture, The “Berlin Game” trilogy, Double V Vega (or The Vega Brothers), 40 Lashes Less One, Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill! Remake, Luke Cage, Silver Surfer, Untitled Godzilla film, Casino Royale, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Modesty Blaise, Untitled Sci-fi film like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Untitled Disaster film, A reboot of Friday the 13th, A Howard Hawks type Screwball comedy, Untitled Australian film and a Less Than Zero remake.
My fingers are bleeding.
The one I left off the list is the one I’m still the most excited about: Killer Crow. According to Eli Roth “Tarantino has an entire
universe planned out for ‘Inglourious Basterds,’… He even has two
sequels planned. He’s not necessarily going to make these movies. But he
has at least four or five stories centering on these characters that
span through the fifties and sixties. He knows exactly where these
characters are going.”
According to internet rumors, Killer Crow was to be a prequel involving Aldo and Danny caught behind enemy lines trying to escape to Switzerland with a troop of black soldiers.
I absolutely adore Inglourious Basterds but I still want my “Men on a Mission” movie I was promised from the plot synopsis that was on IMDB for a good 5 years before the film came out. I know everyone wants Kill Bill 3 but i’ll take a good ol’ fashioned WW2 action film by Quentin over it any day of the week.