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Telling Tales From Development Hell

by Ethan Alter February 28, 2012 6:01 am
Telling Tales From Development Hell

Everyone knows that Tom Selleck was going to be Indiana Jones before his Magnum P.I. commitment passed the fedora and bullwhip along to Harrison Ford instead. But were you also aware that an early draft of the screenplay for the film that would become Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull featured cameos by such characters as Sallah, Willie and Short Round? That's one of the many fun pieces of behind-the-scenes trivia you'll learn in David Hughes's, Tales From Development Hell, which explores the fortunes of some of the greatest movies never made. An updated version of his 2004 tome of the same name, this new edition, which hits stores today, reveals what happened to such high-profile, development hell stranded projects as Paul Verhoeven and Arnold Schwarzenegger's medieval epic, Crusade, Darren Aronofsky's gritty Batman reboot Year One and the multiple big-screen versions of Neil Gaiman's beloved Sandman comic. We won't spoil all of the secrets that this enjoyable, well-researched book has to offer, but here are a few choice tidbits sure to whet movie lovers' appetites.

Twelve Sci-Fi Movies We'd Like to Go Back in Time and Erase

Time travel movies always raise such interesting paradoxes. Would you kill Hitler as a baby? Would you attempt to profit from your knowledge of the future? Or would you prevent some of the worst movies ever made from coming to fruition? The science-fiction genre has long been a haven for the mediocre, even the awful, usually due to the belief that everything else is secondary to the sci-fi concept, and while the 1950s and '60s are famous for their goofy schlock as well as their timeless masterworks, there are plenty of high-profile targets from the past few decades that could disappear, and nobody would care. The day we get perfect our source code technology, we're going back and killing these in the script stage.

The Losers: The Cast’s Most ‘Losingest’ Roles

We all agree that The Losers has a pretty exciting cast. But, as with all actors, not every role they've had in their respective careers has been a winner. So just for poorly worded puns and giggles, I've run down the cast's "Losingest" roles to date, just so none of us ever forgets the offense that was Speed 2: Cruise Control while we're enjoying the film this weekend.

Repo Men: The Cast’s Roles That Should Be Repossessed

Even the best of actors makes a bad movie now and again, and though we haven't seen it yet, it seems this week's non-Repo Man remake Repo Men (think of it as Repo: The Genetic Opera, but without the opera -- and the Sarah Brightman stabbing her own eyes out) is another bad movie on a fine group of likable actors' resumes. So in the spirit of terrible decisions and repossession, here are the roles we'd like to scrub from each of the movie's core cast's resumes.

Dear Gerard Butler: You're Never Going to Be Statham Don't get me wrong; I think Gerard Butler is a talented enough guy. I also think he's handsome, funny on talk shows, generally inoffensive, and I found him to be one of the least annoying things about The Ugly Truth. So it's not like I don't think he should be a movie star, because, sure, why shouldn't he? It's just that I'm worried his career path is increasingly molding him to be a lesser Jason Statham in the end, and whether he's been trying to rival the Statham or this whole thing is just a coincidence, I still don't like it.

How to Lose DVD Sales and Alienate Studios

by Tippi Blevins January 6, 2009 11:16 am
How to Lose DVD Sales and Alienate Studios

Sometimes a director will torpedo ticket sales for his own movie because he feels it just didn't live up to its promise, as Matthieu Kassovitz did when his Babylon A.D. sucked like a Hoover. It's rarer that a director will discourage fans from seeing a movie because he feels it's really good. Rarer, and you might say, downright illogical. But there is sort of a method to Robert B. Weide's madness when he tells us we shouldn't buy the Region 1 DVD for his film How to Lose Friends & Alienate People. Weide believes in the movie, loves the movie, but the DVD just doesn't cut it.

Kevin James’ Mall Cop Should Be Arrested

by Tippi Blevins December 23, 2008 10:52 am
Kevin James’ Mall Cop Should Be Arrested

Paul Blart: Mall Cop has a lot working against it. For starters, it's comedian Kevin James' vanity project, which came about, as James told, because he wanted to do something like TV's ChiPs. Nothing wrong with vanity projects, necessarily. But unless you're, say, Robert Redford or Clint Eastwood, taking on a lot of jobs in your own movie might wave a few warning flags. In James' case, he's writing, producing and starring as the titular security guard. In the hands of an experienced craftsman, this is no problem. For anyone else, this kind of multi-tasking might be a sign to the moviegoing public that the star in question is too close to the project to know what's not working. And indeed, the film's attempt at viral marketing over the summer was so unfunny that it might prove to be a vaccine against the film.

Top Ten Movie Turkeys of 2008 (So Far)

by Tippi Blevins November 25, 2008 2:43 pm
Top Ten Movie Turkeys of 2008 (So Far)

Whether you'll be sitting down to a turkey dinner or a Tofurkey lunch this Thanksgiving, we invite you to reflect upon the following ten movies from 2008. They weren't necessarily the lowest-grossing pictures of the year, but they failed to live up to financial expecations, in a big way. These suckers plummeted to the earth, flightless and doomed, like those poor gobblers dropped from a helicopter in that famous episode of WKRP in Cincinnati. It's not hard to imagine some of the investors saying, much like dazed radio station manager Arthur Carlson, "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly." But they couldn't, and they can't, so they've landed here with a resounding thud.

Director Terry Gilliam Feeling Quixotic About Starting Over

Writer-director Terry Gilliam's movies have had such a reputation for being beset by unforeseen problems that The Onion spoofed the former Monty Python member's propensity for terrible luck. (This was even years before the untimely and tragic death of Heath Ledger, who died soon after shooting began for Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.) An attempt to make a sequel to Time Bandits never got off the ground because several of the original actors had died. Budget disputes put the kibosh on other projects. Two attempts to adapt Alan Moore's Watchmen never came to fruition. Way back in 2000, Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote was beset by a flood and an injury that sidelined star Jean Rochefort. But it looks like Gilliam's luck may be changing for the better.

Britain Celebrates Quantum of Solace by Making Roger Moore Uncomfortable

Since Brits (and suave American Double-O-Odie) get their fill of Bond this Friday, two weeks before America, The Guardian is running a special section on all things Bond. There are articles on stunts, villains and a very weird, almost homoerotic video featuring my doppelganger Cuba Gooding's Boat Trip co-star, Roger Moore. In honor of tonight's world premiere of Q of S in London, here are some of the highlights.



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