50 Great Unproduced Movie Scripts

The Muppet Man by Christopher Weekes

The High Concept: This screenplay (which topped the 2009 list), is a biopic of Muppets creator and all-round fuzzy felt genius Jim Henson. It's said to include surreal moments with some of his hand-operated creations, and could tie in nicely with Jason Segel's Muppet s movie.

Scene We'd Like To See: The script apparently begins with a hungover Kermit awaking after a drunken bender. Any scene showing the darker side of the Muppets could be amazing, like a Carnal Knowledge -style row between Kermit and his demanding other half Miss Piggy.

Dream Director: Michel Gondry could get some heartache in amidst the puppet antics.

Starring: Will Ferrell, the Muppets.

Motorcade by Billy Ray

The High Concept: Like all the best action movies, this has a winningly simple conceit (ideally any action movie should be able to be described as some twist on Die Hard ). The President's motorcade is attacked en route to Los Angeles, which leaves plenty of room for dramatic speeches amidst the action.

Scene We'd Like To See: The President delivers a reassuring address to his citizens… from the back of his under-fire motorcade.

Dream Director: Tony Scott

Starring: It'd have to be Denzel Washington, a man who you can believe could run the country and beat you up.

I Want to F*** Your Sister by Melissa Stack

The High Concept: A guy tries to protect his younger sister from the amorous attentions of randy young men, as he knows all too well from his own experience what those people are like.

Scene We'd Like To See: Our guy spills the beans on all of his indiscretions as a 'playa' in an attempt to convince his sis that a male has never done anything nice for a young lady simply out of the kindness of his heart.

Dream Director: Easy A 's Will Gluck could nail the tone.

Justin Timberlake and Dakota Fanning.

The Voices by Michael R. Perry

The High Concept: Schizophrenic factory worker Jerry accidentally murders a colleague, and in the aftermath of the event he starts to get advice from his pets: a foul-mouthed cat and dog who 'talk' to him.

Scene We'd Like To See:
After the shock of committing a murder, Jerry nervously chats away with his animals for a good five minutes before realising that they didn't used to be able to talk.

Dream Director: Chris Morris

Starring: Zach Galifianakis as nervy Jerry, veering from dead-eyed seriousness to completely unhinged. Have him voice the pets as well.

Samurai by Fernley Phillips

The High Concept: During the 150 Year War in Japan, a vengeance-seeking ronin, a ninja and an English boy team up to bring down an evil Lord. There's plenty of scope for epic scale in terms of action and location.

Scene We'd Like To See:
The taciturn ronin explains to his allies why he holds a grudge against the evil Lord (in addition to the fact that he's evil of course). His story unfolds visually as an animation in traditional Japanese style.

Dream Director: Nicolas Winding Refn would allow the action to unspool with minimal dialogue.

Starring: Unknowns who can convince in the fight sequences.

The Days Before by Chad St. John

The High Concept: A man uses a time-travel device to keep jumping backwards one day at a time in order to prevent a world-ending alien invasion. A nice potential blend of conspiracy thriller, epic alien action and human drama.

Scene We'd Like To See: In an attempt to win the trust of a woman who our hero knows will be vital to the plan, he buys a lottery ticket and promises she can have it if the Earth survives to witness Saturday's rollover draw.

Dream Director: After Source Code , we reckon Duncan Jones could handle this.

Starring: Reunite him with Moon man Sam Rockwell, and Source Code 's Michelle Monaghan.

Keiko by Elizabeth Wright Shapiro

The High Concept: After being adopted, and raised in Japan by Japanese parents, a white teenage girl heads to the US to discover her estranged birth father, who just happens to be comedian and erstwhile Wayne's World star Dana Carvey. The postmodern meta-laughs mean this could potentially be his JCVD .

Scene We'd Like To See: Carvey proves that he's got serious acting chops with a heartfelt monologue detailing the fate of Keiko's biological mother.

Dream Director: Sofia Coppola, putting a bit of a reverse spin on Lost in Translation .

Starring: Youth in Revolt 's Portia Doubleday, Dana Carvey, and a Mike Myers cameo.

The Phantom Limb by Kevin Koehler

The High Concept: A troubled PI investigates a gangster who's running a brothel catering for amputee fetishes, and the doctor who helps to make fantasy a reality for some of the perverse clientele. We can already hear the preparation of 'Ban This Sick Filth' banners...

Scene We'd Like To See: Expecting standard brothel practise, the PI gets something of a shock when he goes to meet the escort he has hired for 'research purposes'…

Dream Director: It'd have to be David Cronenberg. It's hard to imagine the script wasn't written without some inspiration from his ouevre.

Starring: Clive Owen

A Fistful Of Quarters: The Legend of Nolan Bushnell by Brian Hecker and Craig Sherman

The High Concept: As the title suggests, it's a biopic of Nolan Bushnell, the man behind Atari. As well as being an instrumental figure in the history of videogames, he also created American institution Chuck E. Cheese's. The script is said to focus on his 70s heyday.

Scene We'd Like To See:
Bushnell has a eureka moment whilst playing a bit of table tennis, before the groundbreaking Pong is created.

Dream Director: We reckon King of Kong doc director Seth Gordon could atone for Four Christmases with this.

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio's name was linked to the role when the script was first touted. It's difficult to imagine any role we wouldn't be happy to see Leo in…

Z for Zachariah by Nissar Modi

The High Concept: This screenplay is based on the the 1976 novel by Robert C. O'Brien (you may have read it during school English lessons). It tells the story of teenage girl Ann Burden (the novel takes the form of a diary) following a nuclear fallout, and the arrival of a mysterious man in a radiation suit.

Scene We'd Like To See:
Ann watches from the window of her base as she thinks she sees a mysterious figure in the far distance. She doesn't take her eyes off the man in the radiation suit, who slowly but surely makes his way down through the valley.

Dream Director:
Brad Bird brings a non-patronising approach to material intended for 'young people'.

Starring: True Grit newcomer Mattie Ross, and Paddy Considine as Loomis.

Matt Maytum
Editor, Total Film

I'm the Editor at Total Film magazine, overseeing the running of the mag, and generally obsessing over all things Nolan, Kubrick and Pixar. Over the past decade I've worked in various roles for TF online and in print, including at GamesRadar+, and you can often hear me nattering on the Inside Total Film podcast. Bucket-list-ticking career highlights have included reporting from the set of Tenet and Avengers: Infinity War, as well as covering Comic-Con, TIFF and the Sundance Film Festival.