Top 5 Hopeless Film Projects

Written by Jesse Gelinas August 08, 2012

No one escapes from Development Hell…


5. “Halo”

Call me “mainstream” if you want, this movie would rule. With a powerhouse like Peter “The Lord of the Rings” Jackson producing and Alex Garland (who penned the awesome “28 Days Later”) writing the script, this movie could have been the video game movie to end all video game movies. With such a well-executed, albeit, familiar storyline, and an intriguing hero, the “Halo” franchise is the kind of game that’s begging to be adapted. Directors have ranged from Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”) to Neil Blomkamp (“District 9”). Quality names like this attest to Garland’s quality script, and yet this movie has been in development hell for half a decade while Microsoft hangs on to the rights for dear life, and we get stuck with constant full-on eye-rape from Michael Bay.

4. Darren Aronofksy’s “Batman”

So many people rag on this guy’s idea for a ‘Batman: Year One’ screen adaptation, but not me. If Nolan can take such creative licenses, then why not Aronofsky? I guess it’s not like his penchant for the strange and surreal has ever paid off or anything (“Requiem for a Dream”, “Black Swan”, etc). Aronofsky’s “Batman” (penned by Frank Miller himself) would see Bruce Wayne as a homeless youth taken in by Alfred, before becoming a ruthless vigilante, roaming the streets with a hockey mask and brass knuckles beating criminals nearly to death. It was dark and gritty before “The Dark Knight” stole those two terms, and it put a spin on Batman that hadn’t been seen before. Now, unfortunately (depending on how you look at it), his script was passed over for being too dark, and the reins were passed over to Christopher Nolan. Oddly enough, there is a party of support from diehard fans for Aronofsky to take over the next reboot.

3. “Preacher”

This is a bit of a personal one for me. Garth Ennis’s 75 issue series is one of the greats. In graphic novel form it may not be as widely read as “Watchmen” or any of the Batman classics, but it is top notch weirdness. Deep strange. It’s surreal, outlandish, vulgar, and absolutely brilliant. Long story short, Jesse Custer finds himself possessed by an entity with powers rivalling the Almighty’s, and sets himself on a quest for vengeance against his abandoning Creator with the help of his assassin girlfriend, Tulip, and best friend, the hard-drinking, bar fighting, Irish vampire, Cassidy. All the while being chased by the Saint of Killers, essentially the Angel of Death in the form of Clint Eastwood on steroids. Sam Mendes has tried and failed to bring this comic to life. While the story lends itself better to say, an HBO miniseries, hope for any kind of adaptation is slim to nil.

2. “Gladiator 2”

After the success of Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator”, he and star Russell Crowe toyed with the idea of a sequel. The toying became real consideration, and finally full-out pursuit. The only problem was the gargantuan obstacle in a “Gladiator” sequel: **SPOILER ALERT**… Maximus died in the first one. Crowe’s solution was elegant. They needed a writer who could overcome the hero’s death for a sequel. Crowe introduced Scott to fellow Aussie and musical genius, Nick Cave. Cave’s script would follow our favourite exiled Roman general beyond his death in the arena, into the afterlife, to the home of the Roman gods, back to Earth on a quest for inter-dimensional vengeance against a rogue deity, and then throughout the ages as an immortal, eternal warrior of the world. This. Sounds. EPIC! Crowe was ecstatic. Scott was pumped. The studios were unenthused. As a stand-alone film it sounded great, but as a direct follow-up to the historically grounded original, it just didn’t fly. The shame is that Cave wasn’t even given the option of tweaking his script for non-sequel purposes. The script still makes the rounds online amongst fans, but sadly, will never see the light of day.

1. H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness”

H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction has influenced every major horror writer of the last 70 years. His incredibly dense mythos built around the unbelievably terrifying Cthulhu has frightened readers since his death in 1937 with its cosmic scale and unfathomable madness-inducing creatures. One of his more epic opuses, “At the Mountains of Madness” follows a research team exploring Antarctica, only to find the remains of an ancient civilization of extraterrestrial beings of such power and intellect that they single-handedly created the monstrous race that eventually destroyed them. The real terror begins when we explore the concept of “that is not dead which can eternal lie.” Those words give me chills whenever I read them. Guillermo del Toro has tried to get this movie made for years, and has recently abandoned the idea with the release of Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus”, which he is quoted as calling “way too similar”.


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About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

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