5 Movies That Need to Come Out of Development Hell in 2015, And 5 That Need to Die There
We’re in the final countdown before the new year—OBLIGATORY MUSICAL INTERLUDE—
and I’m sure we’ll all excited to live in a year that isn’t twenty-fucking-fourteen anymore. The next twelve months are going to have their share of massivemegamoviehits coming to theaters—Star Wars, Age of Ultron, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2—but it’s not enough, I say. There are good movies that have been languishing in development hell for years, and I demand that 2015 brings us some progress on them. Liiiiiiiiiive.
That Good Omens Movie
If you haven’t read Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens, A) stop what you’re doing right the fuck now and go read Good Omens, and then B) come back and rend your hair with me about how the movie’s looking no more likely now than it did in 2002, when funding fell apart for a proposed Terry Gilliam adaptation. (Because he never has problems getting movies made). 2014 gave us a radio drama, but it’s not enough. I demand Idris Elba as Crowley, and I demand it now.
At the Mountains of Madness
This entire list could be comprised of movies that Guillermo del Toro wants to make—Justice League Dark, Hellboy 3, and Frankenstein, just off the top of my head—but pride of place goes to his H.P. Lovecraft adaptation, which has achieved legendary status in the annals of movies that are probably never going to happen. Universal shelved it in 2011 because they didn’t particularly want to spend $150 million on an R-rated movie; since then, Pacific Rim has gotten del Toro in good with Legendary Pictures, which has a partnership with Universal going, so del Toro thinks Legendary might do it if he can bump the rating down to PG-13 by replacing some of the Lovecraftian violence and gore with more creepy atmospheric stuff.
Alex Proyas’ Paradise Lost
Stay with me on this one. Dark City director Proyas for years was working on a big-budget adaptation of Milton’s Paradise Lost, but epic and Hollywood-ified. Heaven, hell, angels, Eden—the whole lot. If that makes your stomach turn a little, I’m with you. I saw Exodus. This movie could be a fucking train wreck. But it would still be the guy who directed The Crow telling Satan’s origin story, and God dammit, I at least want to see what that would look like. Oh, and Bradley Cooper was set to star before Legendary balked because, like At the Mountains of Madness, Proyas’ Paradise Lost would have been hella expensive. All you BCoop haters—him as Satan gives you headline pun fodder for days.
Vin Diesel’s Hannibal Trilogy
No, not this Hannibal.
For years, Vin Diesel’s wanted to bring the story of Carthaginian general Hannibal—possessed of a massive revenge boner for Rome, generally regarded as one of the greatest military commanders in the history of ever, marched elephants over the Alps to fuck with Rome’s shit, etc.—to the screen. The impression one gets is that literally everyone Diesel has come into contact with over the past ten years has had their brain picked about this project—Steven Spielberg, Frank Miller, Tony Scott, Quentin Tarantino, Denzel Washington. Probably the craft services team on Fast Five. Diesel wants to produce, a role he also undertook for the last few Fast and Furious movies, which obviously did pretty well, a fact he says makes Universal more likely to get on board.
Diesel’s filmograpy doesn’t exactly trend towards the historical epic, which is something that the story of Hannibal has to be (see: ELEPHANTS ACROSS THE ALPS), so him taking point on this is a little head-scratchy. But the historical epic genre has fallen on hard times lately (Monuments Men, Unbroken, Exodus), so maybe some new blood is what it needs. I just want to see this movie. And screw it. Vin’s the Iron Giant.
The Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle Biopic
To give you an idea of how long this movie about the life of silent film comedian Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, has been kicking around: John Belushi, John Candy, and Chris Farley were all at one point rumored to star. Arbuckle’s story is tragic enough that it’s shocking that someone hasn’t made this movie already: Flying high as one of the world’s most famous actors in the ’20s, he found himself at the center of Hollywood’s first major scandal when he was accused of the murder of actress Virginia Rappe. After three trials, he was found innocent—the jury for the third trial went so far as to say that “we feel that a great injustice has been done [Arbuckle].” But by that time he’d been railroaded out of Hollywood, his career prematurely ended by an industry that needed a scapegoat to appease politicians and journalists (including William Randolph Hearst, who made a mint drumming up public outrage against Arbuckle during the trials) who had begun to target the hard-partying ways of the film industry. For years, Arbuckle couldn’t work, though he was given writing directing gigs under the table by his good friend and one-time protege Buster Keaton.
HBO is working on a biopic based on The Day the Laughter Stopped, David Yallop’s book on the subject, but there’s been no progress since mid-2013, when it was announced that Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet would star. IMDB has it as being in pre-production. Wake me up when they cast my #1 hunka hunka silent film love Keaton.
Meanwhile, these would be some films that I’d be completely OK with sliding into obscurity.
That Adam Sandler Candyland Movie
Or “everything Adam Sandler.” How ‘bout that?
The Crow remake
I’m not the sort to scream “kill it with fire!” at any and all reboots, but after the one-two punch of Luke Evans in Dracula Untold and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, I’m less than enthused about his starring turn in this reboot. The fact that original director F. Javier Gutiérrez jumped ship similarly does not bode well.
Tim Burton, step back for a while.
Maybe it’s the residual blahs from the underwhelming apocalypse adaptation World War Z and the “technology bad!” mess that was Transcendence, but this movie version of novelist Daniel H. Wilson’s Robopocalypse—about, wait for it, a robot apocalypse—could quietly power down forever, and I would not care. At one point it had some big names attached—Anne Hathaway and Chris Hemsworth were set to star, and Spielberg was going to direct, but then he started work on The BFG instead. In theory, he’s still doing it. After The BFG. And “Untitled Cold War Spy Thriller.” And maybe Indiana Jones 5. And then a nap.
Let it go. Let it gooooooooo!