Monday, 4 February 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On... #39: Top 10 Films that Should Be Made But Probably Never Will...

I'm not above poaching a good idea, but I will give a wet sloppy hat-tip to List Universe for their own list of films that should be made, but probably never will.

10. The Battle of Lepanto: I could see this as 300 on the water. It's the true story, briefly mentioned in one of List Universe's items, of a naval battle between The Holy League, lead by the dashing and handsome 25 year old illegitimate royal Don Juan of Austria, and a much larger Ottoman navy led by the three top commanders in the Mediterranean. Sadly, Hollywood would be very unlikely to make a film that has Christians winning over a more powerful and very aggressive Islamic enemy, because it is an incredibly politically incorrect concept.

9. Neuromancer by William Gibson: A brilliant, ground breaking science fiction novel that's been in development hell for over 20 years. It's a blend of noir and science fiction looking at the seamy underbelly of a darkly possible future.

8. Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett: A dark, violent story of a nameless private investigator trying to solve a murder in the middle of a gang war where bodies keep piling up.

7. Constantine: No, not the mangled comic book adaptation starring Keanu Reeves, but the story of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Constantine brought Christianity, at the time a small Middle Eastern cult, to the Roman Empire, setting the stage for the birth of modern Europe. But there's a dichotomy of the man promoting a religion of peace and love, who lives a life of war, treachery and murder.

6. A Decent Giant Crocodile Movie: A few years ago I saw a documentary about the discovery of the bones of a 60+ ft long prehistoric crocodile. My first thought was Jurassic Park meets Jaws. But sadly, films featuring them are usually relegated to the "B" list or treated as a campy send-up of the genre instead of going for frights. Sad, I like crocodiles.

5. American Tabloid by James Ellroy: A big sprawling novel of gangsters, politicians, big money, and the dark underbelly of America in the 50s and 60s. Too big for a feature film, but would make an excellent miniseries, but would have to be broadcast by HBO for its edgy subject matter.

4. I, Claudius by Robert Graves: The biggest obstruction to a big screen or TV remake of the 1970s BBC TV series is the very distinct fact that you will most likely never get a cast as great as the original. The production values of the BBC version were minimal at best, but the cast carried the show through sheer talent. Something that you can't replace with just a big budget.

3. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov- Screenplay by Harlan Ellison: A great read, that had the potential to become a great movie. Sadly, studio politics left the story in development hell for 30 years, and it ended up becoming a Will Smith action movie that had little resemblance to the original stories.

2. Solomon Gursky Was Here by Mordecai Richler: This story of a family that finds success and disaster throughout Canadian history is just too big for a feature film, and too edgy for a TV miniseries.

1. The St. Nazaire Raid: During the darkest days of World War 2 elite British commandos initiate a near suicide attack on a massive and heavily defended Nazi shipyard to prevent them from seizing control of the Atlantic Ocean. No way a Hollywood studio will make a film with an all-British cast which would be necessary to keep faith with the epic true story.

Now this is where you the reader can participate.

What films would you like to see that will probably never get made?


  1. You read my mind. When I saw 300 I thought to myself Lepanto would make a great movie as you mention a great protgatonist in Don Juan, East Vs. West, Western tactics and technology defeating the Eastern horde (see VDH chapter on this battle in Culture and Carnage), and now we have the CGI technology to show off hundreds of galleys and the West secret weapon in the gallease (sp?). The Battle of Lepanto inspired some masterpieces in the arts. In a similiar vein, how about a movie of the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683 and the Polish cavalary coming to the rescue.

  2. Speaking of another politically incorrect event one of the most underappreciated victories for freedom was when Poland beat back the Soviets outside Warsaw in the early 1920s. The Poles were forced back after their incursion to support independent Ukraine and the Reds were outside Warsaw ready to knock the Poles out and march into Germany, Stalin was leading one of the Red armies. The Poles won a victory called The Miracle on the Vistuala and pushed the Soviets back. Stalin stabbed his comrades in the back by not following orders. There was a side story about how the Poles had trouble getting supplies from the West because commie-loving labor unions would not load the ships in Western ports. Another coolness factor was the battle involved the last large scale battle between calvary units in Western history. Of course Hollywood would never make this movie because deep inside they wished the Reds won and steamrolled across Europe.

  3. The Foundation Trilogy by Asimov

    Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen by H. Beam Piper
    Basically a reimagining of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arther's Court without King Arthur and with a better backstory This one would be relatively cheap to make as it would require very little in the way of fancy effects work. Maybe a little CGI to beef up the battle scenes but that'd be about it.

    Something based on Keith Laumer's BOLO series. Wouldn't have to be based on any one book, just take the concept and build an original screenplay around it.

    A good, faithful, adaptation of any of the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett.

  4. Ah Lepanto. When it was definitively proven that the Ottomans were not invincible. It was the beginning of a long, slow end for them. There haven't been very many pivotal battles in the history of the world, but that was one of them.

    And I share your dismay at what they did to I, Robot. Besides, Susan Calvin was definitely not a babe.

    I'm afraid I can't add to your list. I'm such a book geek I never find myself wishing someone would make the movie.

  5. A movie about the Six Day War. Amazing history, amazing stories, interesting. Israel winning.

    So there's no way it'll ever get made - can't make a movie where Israel is the good guy.

  6. They're making the Narnia films, but they don't dare TOUCH C.S. Lewis' other great classic series, the Ransom Trilogy. I don't think Hollywood can relate to OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET - and that's probably a good thing, because I don't think it would be possible for anyone, let along Hollywood circa 2008, to make a great and believeable film out of it. Life-on-Mars issues aside, they'd completely rape it.

  7. Any of the novels of Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters, but especially the Amelia Peabody series. What's not to like about a plucky lady Egyptologist at the turn of the century?

  8. Actually, Scott Ruding is remaking "I, Claudius" now as we speak w/ a German production house, Zelluloid. It's scheduled for release in 2010 (wasn't that a movie?). I would like to see "2061" made into a film, et al. At least David Fincher's (worked for him @ Propaganda Films-- evil)directing "Rendezvous With Rama" for Morgan Freeman's co.

  9. Sorry. I misspelled Scott Rudin's name above. It's Rudin.