Five Great Cinema MightHaveBeens celebrates those movies that never were with five great films that never got made…

The Catcher in the Rye


The list of Hollywood big-hitters that have attempted to get their hands on J.D. Salinger’s revolutionary coming of age story is as long as your arm! To name a few; Steven Spielberg, Harvey Weinstein, Leonardo Di Caprio, Billy Wilder, Eliz Kazan, Jerry Lewis etc.etc. Yes, since the book was released in 1951, there has been a constant stream of adaptations and offers of purchase turned down by the notoriously reclusive author. It was even speculated in Hollywood that the only way Salinger would have approved a film script was if he himself was cast as Holden Caulfield; which would be highly unlikely to say the least! We can only speculate on the bidding wars that will happen when the rights are finally released.


Kubrick’s A.I.



One of our biggest film regrets is that Kubrick never got to usher his A.I. project onto the big screen. Kubrick began working on the project in the early 1970’s but put the project on hold until he felt film technology had advanced enough to do justice to his vision of the A.I. world and to the character of David – who he intended to be completely computer generated. In 1995, Kubrick handed over the reins of the film to Spielberg, and the film only got into production following his death in 1999. Spielberg stepped in and produced a film that, while visually impressive, had too much of the Spielberg schmaltz about it. We can only imagine what the film would have been if Kubrick had seen it through to the end.


A Confederacy of Dunces


John Kennedy Toole’s story is a tragic one; the author committed suicide in 1969 aged only 31 before this classic novel was even published. Since then of course, it has become a well-loved classic (Toole was even awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize) and several fans in the business have tried to get it to the big screen over the years; including a Harold Ramis version starring John Belushi and most recently a Steven Soderbergh adaptation with Will Ferrell as Ignatius J Reilly. Funnily enough though, the starring role has been given to several men who then had untimely deaths – Belushi, Chris Farley and John Candy. Is this a Dunces curse or could it be due to the “rotund” nature of the stars…who knows!



Blomkamp and Jackson’s Halo



If there’s one phrase that brings fear to the heart of movie fans it’s “computer game adaptation!” There was one notable exception of this though, when Peter Jackson became linked as executive producer of a Halo film, with protégée Neil Blomkamp as director. Several months into production though, the project broke down, with Blomkamp increasingly disinterested in the project and a central character which he felt did not work from a cinema perspective. There is an upside to all this of course; when the Halo project fell through, Jackson and Blomkamp found themselves with a little free time on their hands – the result of which was one of our favourites of last  year, District 9.



Kubrick’s Napoleon


A second appearance for Kubrick in our list; but this time for a project that was killed by the studios at the last minute. The Napoleon project really seemed like a labour of love for Kubrick – he spent two years researching for the film, amassing a huge collection of historical material as well as around 15,000 photographs from location scouting and an amazing 17,000 slides of Napoleonic imagery to be used as reference points. The film was due to go into production directly after the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey but both M.G.M. and United Artists got cold feet about the project, seeing the genre of historical epic as out of fashion and thus too risky.