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10 Highly Anticipated Movies that Were Never Made

Movies that Never Got Made

Movies capture the mind in ways that many other media fail to do. Especially when a movie is interesting, it can be a real shame to miss the opportunity of viewing it. Since we fail to live in an idealistic society, there are several key events and factors that determine which movies are made and which are shelved. Some highly anticipated movies have been rejected eventually which has made audiences very sad. Sometimes, it can be very difficult to part with the idea of not making some movies especially when the premise is wonderful. Here are ten of the most interesting movies which we would have loved, but sadly, never got made.

1. Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune

This adaptation of the Frank Herbert masterpiece, Dune, was a highly anticipated movie and would have been quite a spectacle with big names like Orson Wells, surrealist Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger, and Pink Floyd being involved with this project.

Alejandro Jodorowsky
Alejandro Jodorowsky (Image to the left), Dune. Image credits: Lionel Allogre via Wikimedia, Courtesy of Ace Books/Matt Griffin via Hollywoodreporter

The novel Dune written by Frank Herbert is considered a masterpiece in the world of science fiction literature. But even before it was adapted to the screens of Hollywood twice, (first by David Lynch in the 80s and then recently by Denis Villeneuve) it was supposed to be made by one of the most interesting directors of film ever.

Quite popular in the midnight and “trippy” movie circuits for his sensational art pieces like El Topo and the Holy Mountain, Alejandro Jodorowsky had quite a reputation for coming up with something very interesting to watch, no matter what his material was.

So, when he was entrusted with Dune, he was very excited and several prolific artists, musicians, and actors were entrusted with the task of making this dream come true. From Orson Welles to surrealist artist Salvador Dali and Mick Jagger, a lot of big-named celebrities were set to appear in this movie.

Even the music sensation Pink Floyd was on the list for potentially providing music for this film. However eventually, the movie couldn’t be made as Jodorowsky refused to back down from his established vision of what this movie should be like.

He wanted it to be a 12-14 hour movie while the studio executives clearly disagreed. Interestingly, this movie’s illustrated screenplay and a lot of pre-production artwork would have a significant effect on the Hollywood movies made after it. The story of this debacle is quite faithfully told in a documentary called Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013) (source)

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2. Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon

Stanley Kubrick was all set to make his masterpiece on Napoleon Bonaparte’s life right after his success in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Iconic actress Audrey Hepburn was considered to play the part of Josephine, Napoleon’s wife. However, despite decades of research by Kubrick, it finally got shelved.

Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick (Image to the left), 2001: A Space Odyssey. Image credits: Look magazine collection via Wikimedia, Circa 2014 via Shutterstock

Everybody was surprised and filled with awe when Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey hit theaters. At that time it was a marvel of storytelling, and the visual effects were top-notch and unbelievably wonderful. After the success of this movie, Kubrick’s next venture was to shoot a “period piece” about someone who had changed the course of history significantly. This is when Napoleon Bonaparte’s name came to his mind.

He sent some of his close collaborators to Europe, and he himself was knee-deep in research for making what he assumed would be the best “Napoleon” movie ever made. He had some very strong visions for the movie, including recruiting David Hemmings for the role of Napoleon and Audrey Hepburn for the role of his wife, Josephine. Furthermore, he thought of building elaborate war sequences with about 50,000 extras to act as soldiers for the Battle of Waterloo.

However, the MGM studio backed out of this project, and another Napoleon-based movie, Waterloo, came out in 1970. This slowed down his interest in making this movie, and it was eventually shelved. Interestingly, several of the movies he made later would benefit from his research for this movie, including Barry Lyndon (1975) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999). (source)

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3. Tim Burton’s Superman Lives

There have been several renditions of Superman on screen, but this version would be a very interesting one considering the quirks accompanying Tim Burton’s movies. Nicolas Cage was set to play Superman, and it was supposedly fueled by the great reception of the iconic comic book, “The Death of Superman.” 

Tim Burton
Tim Burton (Image to the left), Superman. Image credits: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia, Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding/ DC comics via Wikimedia

Tim Burton directing a movie on Superman would have been very interesting to watch given how he was just recently done with his Batman movie when he was hired for this project. After Christopher Reeve’s four movies where he played the iconic character, the studio was in need of a quick reboot. Also, the fact that comic book, “The Death of Superman,” had just released made it interesting to revive this superhero.

Starting with Kevin Smith writing a script for this movie, the project changed hands several times before Burton was brought in to direct. Finally, Nicolas Cage was roped in to play Superman and the story was supposed to include Brainiac, Lex Luthor, and Doomsday as villains.

It is said that Brainiac and Lex Luthor would merge into a single character, set Doomsday on Metropolis, and end up killing Superman. However, he would be resurrected, and the AI friend of Superman, K, would help him regain energy and finally defeat all the villains by the end of the movie.

Christopher Walken was in talks to play Brainiac, and Lois Lane would be played by either Courtney Cox or Sandra Bullock. The movie, however, was never made due to several reasons. In 2015, a documentary was made about this movie’s failure called “The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?” (source)

4. Alfred Hitchcock’s Kaleidoscope

One of the movies set to be directed by the legend himself, Kaleidoscope was Alfred Hitchcock’s project about a necrophiliac serial killer running loose in New York. This movie would probably be considered one of the most violent movies of that time if it were made.

Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock figurine at Madame Taussads wax museum (Image to the left), Kaleidoscope. Image credits: Shutterstock,  Maggie Monteith via Imdb

Alfred Hitchcock has been considered by many as one of the greatest directors who ever lived. After the success of his movie Psycho, his name was even more widespread, spreading his fame beyond international waters. After some movies he made that performed rather poorly, he was considering making a low-budget movie about a serial killer from New York.

However, his intention was to base the killer on British serial killers, notably Neville Heath. He intended to reunite with Benn Levy whom he had not worked with for about 30 years. It was planned to be a movie about a bodybuilder who would lure women to him but would eventually kill them near water.

Finally, a woman from the police, working undercover, would pose as a civilian and nab him. However, he seemed quite dissatisfied with how the third act was turning out, calling it a very cliche ending. Also, some directors from the “French New Wave” like Francois Truffaut called it a very violent movie.

Eventually, Universal Studios pulled out of the project and it was never made. Some of the footage shot without sound, for this movie, has been lauded by many critics, and people have wished that this movie should have been made. (source)

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5. Sylvester Stallone’s Edgar Allan Poe Movie

Sylvester Stallone has been very vocal about this dream project of his since the time he made it into Hollywood. His career as a writer was greatly inspired by Poe’s works, and it was reported that in the late 2000s, Stallone had requested Robert Downey Jr. to play the part of Poe in his movie. 

Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone Cannes (Image to the left), Edgar Allan Poe. Image credits: George’s Biard via Wikimedia, Shutterstock

Before winning several hearts through his training montages and indomitable spirit as Rocky Balboa, Sylvester Stallone was very keen on his writing career.

It was due to his adamant interest in both providing the script and playing the titular character that Sylvester Stallone became such a household name. While he went on to star in several Hollywood action flicks and was quite renowned for that, he still didn’t give up on his origins as a writer.

The fact that his early writing career was deeply inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s works was all the more reason to preserve his interest in making a movie about him. While the plan to make it has been as old as Stallone’s iconic career itself, he recently dropped a video on Instagram about how important this project is to him.

He once thought he himself would play the role of Poe, but eventually tried persuading actors like Robert Downey Jr. to play Poe. This movie would have been very interesting to see, especially because it is very unlike our perception of the action star Sylvester Stallone to direct and act in a movie about Edgar Allan Poe. (source)

Also read: 10 Movies That Caused Controversy Before Release

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