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50 Amazing Unmade Movies


The Unmade Movie: Paul Verhoeven hoped to reunite with his Total Recall star Arnold Schwarzenegger on a typical bloody, satirical view of religious war in the Middle Ages. Sets were actually built before the collapse of production company Carolco torpedoed the project.

If They Made It Now: Arnie's too old, Verhoeven hasn't had an American hit since 2000's Hollow Man and really, Kingdom Of Heaven has stolen the idea's thunder. Still, Vin Diesel or Dwayne Johnson would be ideal Arnie-surrogates when they stop being fast and furious.

A Day At The U.N.

The Unmade Movie: No less a talent than Billy Wilder was set to collaborate on the Marx Brothers' mooted comeback - set within the United Nations -at the beginning of the 1960s. The death of Chico Marx put an end to the brothers' dreams.

If They Made It Now: Sacrilege to even think it, of course, but how about Robert Downey Jr as Groucho, John C. Reilly as Chico and Will Ferrell as Harpo?


The Unmade Movie: The lauded video game cycle about super-soldiers battling alien foes The Covenant and The Flood was touted in the mid-Noughties as the film to finally crack the game-to-movie adaptation curse. Alex Garland drafted the screenplay for executive producer Peter Jackson, who plucked protégé Neill Blomkamp from obscurity to direct. Arguments over money derailed the plan and Jackson and Blomkamp made District 9 instead.

If They Made It Now: Blomkamp still reckons there's a chance of him taking the reins, but since elements of Halo found their way into Elysium , it might be better for him to let go.

The Corrections

The Unmade Movie: Jonathan Franzen's 2001 novel about a dysfunctional family was the hot project in the years after its release. David Hare drafted a screenplay, which Stephen Daldry and Robert Zemeckis circled at various stages. And then…

If They Made It Now: In a sign of the times, producer Scott Rudin pitched the project to HBO as a TV series. Noah Baumbach directed the 2012 pilot with Ewan McGregor, Dianne Wiest and Chris Cooper amongst the cast. However, HBO didn't take up the option to green-light a full series.

The Day The Clown Cried

The Unmade Movie: Jerry Lewis entered the 1970s with an idea that would seal his reputation as an auteur - a drama about a Jewish clown forced to lead children into the gas chambers at Auschwitz. What happens next has entered into 'unmade movie' legend: the funding dried up, and Lewis grabbed the existing footage where he still holds it under lock and key.

If They Made It Now: Lewis is too fiercely protective of his film for the footage to be released, and given the controversial subject matter it's doubtful anybody would want to remake it. The next best thing probably already exists in Roberto Benigni's Holocaust drama Life Is Beautiful , although Lewis denies the two films are alike.

A Confederacy Of Dunces

The Unmade Movie: John Kennedy Toole's comic novel, considered one of the finest in American literature, was nearly brought to the screen in 2005, with Steven Soderbergh producing, David Gordon Green directing and Will Ferrell slated to star as slobbish Ignatius Reilly. But the story's New Orleans setting is central, and Hurricane Katrina effectively ended their plans.

If They Made It Now: Now that Soderbergh has retired, the project has lost its biggest cheerleader, although there have been rumours that The Muppets director James Bobin hopes to revive the adaptation with Zach Galifianakis in the lead.

Mary Rose

The Unmade Movie: Alfred Hitchcock nurtured hopes of filming J.M. Barrie's play, about a woman with a mysterious habit of disappearing for weeks or decades without aging, for years but when he tried in the 1960s Universal vetoed it for not being commercial enough. Hitchcock later joked it was written into his contract he could make anything as long it wasn't Mary Rose .

If They Made It Now: The play is probably too weird to be a mainstream hit, but with its Scottish setting, female protagonist and unusual story, it'd be a perfect art-house project for Lynne Ramsay.

Spider-man 4

The Unmade Movie: As late as the end of 2009, a fourth Sam Raimi / Tobey Maguire Spider-man movie was on the cards, possibly seeing the transformation of Dylan Baker's Dr Curt Connors into the Lizard. Alas, with a Summer 2011 release date looming and no workable script, Raimi pulled out.

If They Made It Now: They did make it, sort of. Just not with Raimi, Maguire and Baker, and as the first part of a 'rebooted' franchise rather than the continuation of the trilogy.

Rendezvous With Rama

The Unmade Movie: Arthur C. Clarke's sci-fi novel about a first encounter with an alien ship is a favourite of Morgan Freeman, who began efforts to adapt it in the early 2000s. Despite David Fincher being attached as director, nothing further has yet come of the project.

If They Made It Now: "We are going to make that movie," Freeman declared in 2012, but admitted he hadn't found the right script yet. With Fincher tied up directing Gone Girl , though, it might be a while.

The Restraint Of Beasts

The Unmade Movie: My Summer Of Love director Pawe Pawlikowski had started filming his take on Magnus Mills' black comedy about a gang of construction workers - starring Rhys Ifans, Ben Whishaw and Eddie Marsan - when production was halted so the director could tend to his dying wife.

If They Made It Now: It's too long now to finish the project with the original cast, and out of respect it's doubtful they would want to. If a new version is ever considered, though, the material is perfect for Ben Wheatley and his repertory company - how about Michael Smiley, Richard Glover and Steve Oram for the leads?