Legendary filmmakers are great in part because they know how to pick good projects. Sometimes, though, the projects that they don’t make are even more intriguing than the ones we get to see. In Hollywood’s long history, a number of great directors have announced projects, only to abandon them at some point.
This happens all the time in Hollywood, but most of the movies that don’t get made don’t get remembered as legendary “what ifs.” The movies on this list, though, could have been all-time greats if they’d been produced.
Christopher Nolan’s Howard Hughes biopic
Nolan’s thunder got stolen when Martin Scorsese made The Aviator, but he was planning to make a Howard Hughes biopic in the aftermath of Insomnia. In speaking with The Daily Beast in 2007, Nolan even claimed it was the best thing he’d ever written.
Once Scorsese’s project got ahead of Nolan’s in the production schedule, Nolan ultimately abandoned the script and moved on to Batman Begins. Now, almost 20 years later, it seems like Nolan could still revisit this project, with plenty of distance from The Aviator.
Darren Aronofsky’s Batman: Year One
Plenty of directors have almost made a Batman movie at some point in their careers, but none of the unmade movies are more thought-provoking than Darren Aronofsky’s abandoned adaptation of Batman: Year One.
The movie was announced all the way back in 2000 when Aronofsky was coming off of Requiem for a Dream, but it never made it off the ground. Warner Bros. was intent on a reboot of the Dark Knight, though, so after Aronofsky left the project, it was eventually handed to none other than Christopher Nolan.
Quentin Tarantino’s Double V Vega
Quentin Tarantino has abandoned a number of projects over the course of his career, but perhaps none were more enticing than Double V Vega, which was meant to be a direct prequel to Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. The movie would have brought together John Travolta’s Vincent Vega and Michael Madsen’s Vic Vega, but Tarantino never got much further than his initial premise.
“It would’ve taken place in Amsterdam, during the time Vincent was in Amsterdam,” the director explained during an interview with Cinema Blend. “He was running some club for Marsellus Wallace in Amsterdam, he was there for a couple years. In some point during his two years spent running that club, Vic shows up to visit him and it would’ve been their weekend.”
David Fincher’s Eliot Ness Movie
It’s rare to find a director and subject so well-suited for one another, but David Fincher and Eliot Ness feel like a match made in detective heaven. Ness would have been an adaptation of the graphic novel Torso, and it would have starred Matt Damon as the famed investigator as he hunts down a serial killer in Cleveland.
The movie was initially meant to be Fincher’s follow-up to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but development took too long and Fincher wound up making The Social Network instead.
George Miller’s Justice League movie
Mad Max: Fury Road proved that George Miller is a visionary action director with almost no rivals. While Miller may not be done with the Mad Maxuniverse, plenty of people aren ow retroactively upset that his Justice League movie never came together.
Miller had already cast Armie Hammer as Batman and Adam Brody as The Flash, but the 2008 writers’ strike kept the movie from moving forward. Now that we know it’ll never happen, all we can do is speculate about how great it might have been.
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