There are some accounts that claim Orion Pictures executives wanted Anthony Hopkins to play Uncle Fester, instead of Christopher Lloyd in the finished product, but Hopkins declined and wanted to work on another Orion project. What was that project? Just something about a deranged psychiatrist and cannibal. This was before Orion had to bail on Addams and ship it to Paramount due to the studio's then-ongoing financial meltdown.
When the sequel Addams Family Values received a more positive reaction compared to the first film despite vastly under-performing at the box office, Paramount wanted to produce a third movie, thus making the series a trilogy. The third film was shelved when Raúl Juliá's health went into decline, and it eventually died with him since no one could match his spot-on portrayal of Gomez.
American Sniper originally had more details regarding the enemy sniper in the film, but it was scrapped due to budget concerns.
Battle Royale initially had planned for the role of Yoshitoki Kuninobu to be played by Kyo from Japanese visual-kei-cum-avant-garde-metal band DIR EN GREY, but the role ultimately went to Yukihiro Kotani after the band's management forbade Kyo from accepting the role.
Captain Planet was going to have a 1996 film adaptation titled Planet, revised as Planet or Dark Planet. There was also going to be a 2008 Captain Planet film produced by Warner Bros.
20 years after the show was canceled, the live-action film may be going back into production. The rights are being picked up by Paramount from Turner/Warner Bros., and their choice of producer? None other than noted environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio. Really.
Cecil B. DeMille's 1949 smash hit Samson and Delilah was originally meant to star Burt Lancaster as Samson, but he declined due to a bad back. DeMille then tried to get a young unknown bodybuilder named Steve Reeves picked up for the role of Samson and came very close to getting him, but both DeMille and the studio were afraid that Reeves was "too muscular" to be attractive to mainstream audiences and begged him to lose weight, assuring him that he would still look as muscular on film as he did in any of his bodybuilding photos due to the old "camera adds ten pounds" thinking (keep in mind that this was back when most people thought smoking was healthier than exercise). Reeves ultimately rebelled and Victor Mature was cast as Samson, whom DeMille grew to dislike because Mature was ultimately found not to be the tough guy he played in the movies. Roughly a decade later Reeves found fame in the B-movie circuit with his portrayal of Hercules in the Italian sword and sandal genre.
Stanley Kubrick's A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Kubrick actually wanted Spielberg to direct the film. Ironically, both directors envied each other's film styles. Kubrick tried to emulate Spielberg's style while working on AI (hence why certain elements in it seem unusual for a Kubrick film), only for Spielberg to emulate Kubrick's style when finishing the film after Kubrick's death. One wonders what the film would've been like if Kubrick hadn't tried to emulate Spielberg, or if Spielberg accepted Kubrick's offer to direct.
Sergio Leone was gearing up to direct a American-Soviet co-production about the Siege of Leningrad just before his death with Robert De Niro as the lead.
Beetlejuice was originally a very serious horror film titled The Maitlands with Beetlejuice himself as a shapeshifting reptilian winged monster who transformed into a small Middle Eastern man. That all changed once Tim Burton and Michael Keaton came along. It was still a horror film, but now it had elements of Black Comedy in it.
Before Dungeons & Dragons (2000), Gary Gygax attempted to pitch a Dungeons & Dragons movie. Lorraine Williams had also planned on creating a Dungeons & Dragons movie.
Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run was going to be a movie franchise based on the game series starring Dwayne Johnson. Thanks to Development Hell the movie died though a Video Game tie-in starring Johnson did not and was released without the movie.
Salvador Dalí was a big fan of the Marx Brothers, and was particularly fascinated with Harpo for his surrealist charms. After contacting the Bros., Dalí started making plans for a surrealist film starring them, with a big focus on Harpo, that would have taken place at a dinner party with enormous giraffe lanterns looming overhead (it obviously never got made). That doesn't just sound like a good and possibly insane film. That sounds like the greatest film ever made.
In A Hard Day's Night, Ringo's parading was originally supposed to have a lot more dialogue. But Ringo came in too drunk to remember lines. This was probably to the greater benefit of the film. Additionally, there was a scene with Paul and a young actress rehearsing her lines in a rather enthusiastic way. The special edition DVD has stills from the scene and an interview with the actress who played the actress.
Help! included a deleted scene with Frankie Howerd and Wendy Richard. Magical Mystery Tour was to include an accordionist scene, a scene with the one of the buskers (Happy Nat, the Rubber Man) racing around a swimming pool (a scene directed by John Lennon), a scene with the Beatles looking through a telescope, and one where they are passing candy to the bus riders. Also, Traffic and the Jimi Hendrix Experience were to have had their own musical sequences.
To elaborate on the Help! example, the scene had the Beatles going to "The Sam Ahab School of Transcendental Elocution", where they are given acting lessons by Sam Ahab (Frankie Howerd). Wendy Richard plays the only other student there, a woman called "Lady Macbeth". Her "transcendental" practices (which are apparently quite noisy) cause George to put in a pair of earplugs. Not long after, the cult plays their hypnotic music which puts everyone except for George (because of the earplugs) into a trance. The cult members try to chop off Ringo's hand to get the ring and George intervenes, which leads to the cult priest tossing an axe which is embedded in a mirror. The cult runs away as everyone starts to wake up and no one believes George. They see the axe in the mirror and John pulls it out, hands it to Lady Macbeth, and asks her "is this a chopper that you see before you?" This explains why the Beatles later know to plug their ears for the cult's music and why George later identifies the cult priest in the Indian restaurant as "the guy who tried to chop [Ringo's] hand off". Incidentally, there were several other deleted scenes for Help! - one in which it is shown that Ringo keeps a live cow in his closet for fresh milk, one which had the Beatles driving around in a quarry, and one which had the last Beatle impersonating Ringo while in a tree house.
Writer and director Dan Gordon conceived Surf Ninjas as a straight action adventure film in the vein of Indiana Jones, just with teenage protagonists. After he was fired over a disagreement about a casting choice, the project was rewritten into a goofy comedy. However, some of the darker elements (particularly concerning the villain) survived, causing serious Mood Whiplash.
Cases of What Actually Was referencing What Could Have Been:
Snake Eyes's epilogue has Nic Cage saying (not verbatim): "I keep having nightmares about that water-logged tunnel, where I drown." Cage was supposed to chase Gary Sinise through various obstacles, including a water-logged tunnel, before Sinise was run over by a large globe that had fallen off a building during a storm. Test audiences didn't like it, so the chase was cut down, the globe gets pushed off course by a wave, and Sinise kills himself.
While The Goonies recount their adventure to their parents, they mention an encounter with a giant squid that was cut from the finished film. The scene was shot, and it appears on the DVD release under "deleted scenes" (it has also occasionally been reinserted in some televised presentations). Data manages to fend it off with his walkman. Another deleted scene had Andi being given the Goonie Initiation, which ended with them realizing that they were in a pool filled with leeches. Data saves them by dropping a battery or something.
The original script of The Lost World: Jurassic Park did not feature the part where the T. rex is brought to San Diego. It instead ended with the characters being rescued from the island and featured Roland Tembo actually getting to use his high-caliber rifle to blow a raptor's head off, as well as a scene with pteranodons that was very similar to the one used in the end of the third movie.
The original script of the firstJurassic Park movie followed the plot of the book much more closely, but it was found to be far too long (the total length of the movie would've been close to three hours) so they made a shorter version.
The original script was also closer to the bleaker tone of the novel, and ended with John Hammond committing suicide. Which, even though he was actually a bad guy in that version of the story, wasn't exactly the note that Spielberg wanted to end the film on (he wanted it to have a less dark tone, due to having to direct it and Schindler's List back-to-back).
The rotunda climax was also in limbo for quite a long while. There were a few endings proposed, including Grant shoving a raptor into the jaws of the T-rex skeleton from a mobile crane, Grant crushing the raptors with the skeletons, etc. There was even one ending that included Hammand shooting the raptors himself.
Jurassic Park III was going to be about a group of teenagers trapped on the island (apparently scrapped for being like an episode of Friends — with dinosaurs!) The movie was going to have a climactic battle between the spinosaurus and either raptors or the army, but neither made it to the final film.
John Sayles' script for Jurassic Park 4 had been lingering in Development Hell since 2004. Judging by script reviews, it's not hard to see why. The film would start with a Pterosaur attack at a Little League game somewhere in the U.S., which is the latest in an ever-growing series of attacks across Central America and Mexico. The United Nations sends an unemployed soldier-of-fortune named Nick Harris (David Boreanaz was rumored to be interested in the character) to Isla Nublar to retrieve the dinosaur DNA samples stolen by Dennis Nedry. Nick is captured by a top-secret corporation after he retrieves and hides the samples, and he is brought to a medieval castle in Switzerland. And at that castle, he is tasked by the head of the corporation to train a group of genetically enhanced humanoid 'raptor soldiers. Producer Frank Marshall has confirmed, however, that will not be the story used in the fourth film.
In the Austin Powers series, the fight with Random Task in the first movie originally took place during the countdown of Project Vulcan, ending with a parody of OddJob's death scene from Goldfinger (where Austin threw a Big Gulp at Random Task's feet, and electrical currents travel through his wet sock and zapped him to death). In the second movie, the scene introducing Felicity Shagwell was different, and preceded by an Overly Long Gag where an assassin nods to someone, who in turn nods to someone else, and it goes on until the assassin finally gets nodded back and proceeds with his mission to kill Austin. Not to mention that Fat Bastard's dialogue was constantly censored. There was even going to be a scene featuring the Guru Pitka from The Love Guru.
There are a number of scenes that were deleted from the final film, for various reasons (i.e. keeping the film's PG rating, lack of humor, Executive Meddling and so on). Most of these scenes were shot and can be found on the DVD release. Some examples include:
An extended sequence exists where the cat physically examines Sally and Conrad before pulling out the Phunometer.
After the kids sign the Cat's contract, the Cat ends up running into the Waldens' dog, Nevins. The Cat suddenly panics and jumps into Conrad's arms, exclaiming "A monster! He's gonna murder-lize me!" only for the kids to calm him down and introduce him to the dog proper.
The Fish attempting to contact Joan while the Things are wrecking the house. Joan can be seen playing a Game Boy Advance (the same one Conrad played in the beginning of the film) while calling the Fish, not aware of who's calling.
After Nevins escapes and both the kids and the Cat go after him, the Cat begins to bounce around in the backyard, then stretches out his arm to close the door. The bit where the Cat closes the door was reversed and utilized in a TV spot.
The sequence where the kids and Cat search for Nevins (right before the piñata scene) is much longer, where the Cat and the kids would jump over multiple fences and go down a stream, with the Cat in the latter scenario sitting on a beach chair showing the same picture of Joan Walden that had aroused him earlier in the movie to the audience. The infamous "Dirty hoe!" remark by the Cat is not in this cut.
Instead of Larry going straight to Joan's office with an escaped Nevins, he finds his repossessed TV at a store and attempts to cut a deal with the store owner. He leaves Nevins behind by tying him up with a television set plug and throwing him in one of the sets. The kids and the Cat would rescue Nevins here. Additionally, the Cat would disguise himself as a floor mat when the store owner and Larry talk about the deal, and goes through numerous pains such as having a cigarette put on his fur and being stomped on by a group of children before choosing to bail when a man jumping on a pogo stick approaches.
An extended sequence at the dance club where Conrad and Sally stop for a moment to watch the Cat dance with Paris Hilton, before Larry comes in, finds the crew and pounces the Cat. Larry accidentally shoves into Hilton, who exclaims "Dude, you must chill!" There's also no talk about the Cat losing his hat at the club (which he never lost to begin with). Perhaps the most infamous part of this scene (and may very well be the reason why it was cut) is when Conrad looks behind him to see his mother's office.
Conrad: "I think that might be Mom's office."
Sally: *looks sarcastically at audience* "Ya think?!"
Initially, the Things were to distract Joan from reaching the house by creating a flood, instead of disguising as police officers in the final cut. Several ideas on how to create a flood were tossed around, such as blowing up a dam, putting a pill that creates floods in a water bottle, and more bizarrely, drinking hundreds, if not thousands, of water bottles before urinating it all out. All three scenarios were shot but scrapped before the film went to post-production.
After being sent out of the Walden household, Larry find Nevins the dog and is about to kick him, only to be attacked by a larger dog nearby and chased off, though not before said dog rips his pants off.
Sally makes amends with all her friends she alienated in the past at the business party for Joan's real estate office, offering them her cupcakes. Dumb Schweitzer appears again and puts a finger over a candle, yelling in a deadpan voice "Ow, hot." In the final film, the friends can be seen in the background during the party, suggesting that this scene almost made the cut.
Before the film was released, there was already talk of a sequel based off The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, published a year after the original book, in the works, confirmed by Mike Myers himself. However, the film's critical failure, dismal box office performance, and a mandate by the widow of Dr. Seuss that barred any future live-action films based off Dr. Seuss' works prevented the sequel from ever going forward. What it would have been like is forever a mystery as a script was never written.
The Wicker Man (1973) and The Wicker Tree were planned to be followed by Wrath of the Gods, making a Wicker Man trilogy.
The Wizard of Oz underwent about a dozen script drafts and four writers. Early on, the Cowardly Lion was in fact the cursed form of a handsome prince named Florizel (which is the name of the Prince in the Sleeping Beauty fairytale), who would battle the Witch in midair and kill her by cutting apart her broom while Dorothy watched from the sidelines. A female soda jerk was going to accompany Dorothy from Kansas at one point (again, ?!?). Elements from the books floated in and out of the script, and about three characters each served as Professor Marvel's and the Wicked Witch's sounding boards (eventually Professor Marvel talked to his horse and the Witch to the leader of the winged monkeys). One element, however, was in the very first draft and never changed: Kansas in sepia, Oz in Technicolor.
A number of MGM executives wanted Judy Garland to wear a blonde wig and "baby doll" makeup, when they weren't considering casting Shirley Temple as Dorothy. The makeup went long past the screen-test stage: it was used for the first several weeks of filming, under the direction of the film's original director, Richard Thorpe. When Buddy Ebsen had to leave the production due to illness (another What Could Have Been: Jed Clampett of The Beverly Hillbillies initially played the Tin Man), the producers took the opportunity to sack Thorpe and retool a number of aspects of the production, including Judy Garland's appearance and performance.
Ebsen was first cast as the Scarecrow and Ray Bolger as the Tin Man, then the roles were swapped.
One early script had Aunt Em as the abusive witch who wanted to kill Toto to punish Dorothy!
The best-known deleted idea is perhaps the least interesting out of all of these: Scarecrow's Jitterbug Dance. Strange in that, in the final version of the film, the Witch makes reference to "sending a little insect" to infect Dorothy's friends, which never happens due to the scene and ensuing song-and-dance number being cut. (In later stage versions, "The Jitterbug" was restored. The Witch sends the Jitterbug to wear out Dorothy and her friends — because when the Jitterbug gets you, you can't stop dancing — so it will be easier for the flying monkeys to kidnap them.)
A "What almost wasn't" was "Over The Rainbow", which was almost cut because the execs weren't sure about the heroine singing in a farmyard. Fortunately, good judgment prevailed and it stayed.
There was also an extra scene back in Kansas at the end of the film which got cut. In it, Hunk (the 'real-life' counterpart to the Scarecrow) was going away to agricultural college and Dorothy was promising to write to him. It basically indicated that the slight romantic vibe some viewers picked up between Dorothy and the Scarecrow had a factual basis.
Also, the Wicked Witch was going to be a glamourous Femme Fatale villainess not unlike the Queen in Disney's Snow White, but that idea was scrapped and she became a traditional "old hag" style witch, which caused Gale Sondergaard to quit the part, because she refused to wear the "ugly" makeup.
In a bizarre spin on Viewers Are Geniuses, the screenplay called for the final shot to be camera panning down to reveal Dorothy was still wearing the ruby slippers, but the studio believed that audiences were too sophisticated to find the Real After All twist believable.
The ruby slippers were initially silver shoes, like in the book, but ruby looked better in Technicolor. The De La Soul music video for their song "Oooh" (off their AOI: Mosaic Thump album) references this when the Dorothy expy is fitted with silver platform heels instead of ruby slippers. It's also a bit of Genius Bonus, as more people are familiar with Dorothy and the ruby slippers, but not the silver ones from the original book.
Besides "The Jitterbug" being completely cut, other songs were trimmed. "Lions and tigers and bears (oh my!)" was a song rather than just a chant. The lion's "If I Only Had The Nerve" was longer and the Scarecrow had a long dance sequence in "If I Only Had a Brain". The Scarecrow's sequence still exists and appeared in both 1984's That's Dancing and on the 1989 50th anniversary release (and later laserdisc and DVD releases) as a supplement. In general, the film's music underwent more changes because of a change in the musical director partway through production.
The script went through umpteen quite different revisions. The earliest revision around has the climax in which Batty rescues Deckard missing in favor of having the antagonist killed in a slight Rasputinian Death before Deckard saves himself, and then ends up killing Rachael after a scene resembling the theatrical ending.
It bears mentioning that Robert Mitchum was the original choice to play Deckard, and when it became clear that he was not going to be involved, Dustin Hoffman became the frontrunner. A number of other actors were considered, including Nick Nolte and, possibly, Al Pacino.
In The Matrix, the humans in the Matrix were originally intended to have their brains used as parts of a computer network, rather than being used as living batteries. The concept was changed due to the Powers that Be underestimating the viewers' intelligence.
To be honest, the film makes a LOT more sense if you assume that was actually the case and the human resistance was just stupid/misinformed/wrong. Scientific impossibility of using humans as a power source when the energy that comes out can never be worth more than the energy going in as food, for a start.
Since the 2nd and 3rd films reveal that the Matrix and Zion are also virtual realities, the real-world machines may indeed use humans this way, especially since self-improving machines should've been much more developed than what was shown in the films.
That's just cake compared to some of the other changes. The Wachowskis originally envisioned that a prequel would follow the first film, and this probably would have been akin to The Animatrix. The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were originally conceived as one long movie (which explains a lot, frankly; the two films make a hell of a lot more sense if you watch them back to back and ignore such filler as the Zion Rave and Never-Ending Car Chase), and would have been the first film's one sequel. Lastly, Will Smith was considered for the role of Neo, Gary Oldman was thought of for Morpheus, and Sean Connery was meant to play the Architect.
Speaking of, Sean Connery has his own personal What Could Have Been: he said "no" to being in Matrix, but he also said "no" to starring in The Lord of the Rings. Realizing he should probably sign on to a fantastic film series while the gettin' was good, he vowed to star in whatever opportunity came up next — and wound up saying "okay" to the infamous The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen...
While a 1996 draft of the script was fairly close to the final film, there were several changes that border on Narm territory:
Trinity's "Dodge This" line was originally, "Dodge this, motherf***er!"
The climactic scene of Neo returning to life originally had him getting up, then giving the finger to Smith, who helplessly yells, "Nooooo!" as the elevator doors close.
Try finding a His Dark Materials fan who isn't the least bit curious as to what the Tom Stoppard scripted version would have been like...or the unedited version of the final script, which was much longer. Especially the original ending, which was unceremoniously lopped off and will likely never be seen. The best people get is what is cobbled together on YouTube.
John Hughes set the film up originally at Warner Bros., but when the film ended up going over budget, WB placed the movie into turnaround, suspending production until WB sold the film to 20th Century Fox, who wrapped things up smoothly from there.
According to Chris Columbus, and early promotion posters, the original music score was to be composed by Bruce Broughton, who ultimately got caught up with scoring The Rescuers Down Under, and was unavailable to score this film.
Columbus envisioned a scene in which the furnace came to life, gets up on all fours and chases Kevin to the stairs. The scene would have cost over a million dollars, so it was trimmed down to the furnace simply lighting up, and groaning Kevin's name.
Four words: Michael Jackson as Jareth in Labyrinth. At the very least, it would have been made the movie one of the most deeply uncomfortable Funny Aneurysm Moments around...Jim Henson — The Biography reveals that the original conception of Jareth was simply as another special-effects creation, rather than someone to be played by a live actor. When that changed, Simon MacCorkindale and Kevin Kline were initially considered for the part. Once the creators decided a popular musician should play Jareth and provide songs, Henson initially wanted Sting for the role. It was Henson's sons John and Brian who suggested he should consider David Bowie, arguing that he would have more lasting appeal. Labyrinth went through a lot more than this, though...
Originally the story was going to be set only in a fantasyland; this was changed to better distinguish it from Legend (1985). The "real world" setting was originally the Victorian era, but changed to The Present Day because this was seen as easier to market to audiences. And had credited screenwriter Terry Jones had his way, we wouldn't have had any idea what was at the center of the Labyrinth or seen the Goblin King (according to the 25th anniversary retrospective article in Empire) until Sarah got there.
In the earliest available draft of the script that Jones and Laura Phillips wrote, Sarah was babysitting Toby (then known as Freddie) when she opened the door to, and let in, a stranger against her parents' warning. He turned out to be Jareth, who kidnapped Toby For the Evulz and was gradually transforming him into a goblin as the story progressed. The divorce of Sarah's parents figured more heavily; the ring she gives the Wiseman as a donation in the finished film was originally a gift from her mother that she was reluctant to part with. The Wiseman and his Hat got a lot more to do, for that matter, wandering through the action and eventually inspiring Hoggle to rejoin the party after he betrayed Sarah.
The Bog of Eternal Stench wasn't in early drafts; Hoggle was instead threatened with a water-filled pit. The junkyard was a junk town complete with a bar where Hoggle went to drown his sorrows.
The novelization reveals that the unchosen door with a living knocker led to a Crapsaccharine World where nobody can stop laughing; Sarah barely escapes. And the Fireys originally offered to help Sarah find the castle, but they didn't know what one was...
Jareth was a very different character in early drafts. As mentioned above, he kidnapped the baby For the Evulz, not because Sarah wished it to be taken away. The white owl was a separate entity rather than his shapeshifted form, while the Junk Lady was a giant puppet he operated from within. His attraction to Sarah was outright lecherous (when she took the big jump in the Escher room she landed on a bed). She had to physically fight him off to rescue Toby, and finally said "I wouldn't want you if you were the last...goblin on Earth!" whereupon he shrank into one himself. And while the points in the story where he would have sung are the same in the early Jones/Phillips draft as they would be in the finished film, their ideas for what he would sing about are completely different from what his songwriter/actor came up with.
The script originally had Soundwave sneaking into Air Force One to hack the military network, once escaping he would mass shift into a Hummer to search for Sam — and Ravage would be tracking down the American soldiers in South America. Once Michael Bay was brought on board he stated emphatically "No Mass Shifting!" The roles were divided into two teams with Blackout (the helicopter) and Scorponok being the closest Soundwave/Ravage analog and Barricade/Frenzy took on the role hunting down Sam and Blackout/Scorponok terrorizing the soldiers in the Middle East. The writers felt the reduced individual time with more robots would not have done Soundwave justice, and they rather not have Soundwave at all than do him wrong.
A death scene for the character Fig was filmed and can even be seen in the trailer, and was included in the novelization, but was cut because Bay ended up liking the character and decided to leave his fate ambiguous if he wanted to bring him back for a sequel.
Before his Star-Making Role in Parks and Recreation, Aziz Ansari was up for a bit part as an Indian call center employee. He ended up passing on the role because he found the insistence that he had to use a hokey Indian accent (despite being from America) degrading.
In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, numerous rewrites, mostly due to the 2008-2009 writer's strike led to filming beginning with a script that wasn't totally finished, leading to several scenes not making it into the film such as: more explanation for Megatron and the Fallen's relationship and why Megatron is serving him: The Fallen would have promised to make Megatron a Prime for aiding him and killing Optimus, and Megatron, wishing to be stronger, would agree and would turn on the Fallen in the final battle when Optimus revealed to him that only an Autobot can be a Prime. There was also supposed to be a scene where one of the Fallen's minions, Ransack, who turned into both an old bi-plane and a T-model car, would have tracked and attacked Sam, Mikaela, Simmons, Leo, Bumblebee, Skids, Mudflap, and Jetfire in the desert, where he'd unintentionally offend Bumblebee by calling Jetfire a 'yellow-bellied traitor', Jetfire would of held Ransack off and defeated him by crushing him to death, thus explaining Jetfire's absence for a portion of the film and Ransack nearly made it into the final film, as a character model was made and this scene made it into the novelization, but it's unknown if it was ever filmed. Another scene would have had Leo figure out that Alice was a Decepticon in disguise by seeing an ad on TV for a new Alice in Wonderland attraction with an animatronic Alice that looks just like..., well, Alice. The film also would have had a cliffhanger, with Megatron rising up a protoform army, which was briefly seen earlier on when he entered the Decepticon ship and confronted Starscream. Most of these scenes were retained in the novelization and comic adaptation. Also, there were meant to be more Autobots such as Springer, Depth Charge, and Breakaway.
In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Sentinel Prime was originally going to be named Ultra Magnus. This was changed because they didn't want Magnus' name to be tarnished by betraying the Autobots. Alternatively, he just couldn't deal with that now. Also, Wheeljack/Que had a different death; being dragged underwater into the Chicago river by hidden Decepticons and Mirage/Dino also would have died, having his head torn off by Starscream. The ending would have also been changed to Megatron, after helping defeat Sentinel, would offer Optimus a truce, the terms being leaving the Autobots alone on earth while the Decepticons return to rule over Cybertron, and this was changed as Optimus wouldn't look too smart making a truce with Megatron, who literally just helped to kill the last person he made a truce with.
For Transformers: Age of Extinction there were originally two more characters; a female Decepticon named Widow Maker who was either replaced by Stinger or would have been Lockdown's partner, killed by the Autobots during their escape and her death is why Lockdown is trying to flatout murder Optimus in the climax instead of capturing him. The other was a fifth Dinobot, a Velociraptor named Slash would would have broken up from Robot-mode into an entire pack of raptors. There was also supposed to be a scene explaining how Attinger gets to the final battle; shooting an innocent civilian in the head and taking his car as well as a bonding scene in the church the heroes hide out in, briefly seen in the TV trailers with Hound dancing to a song while Drift bobs his head as well.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol would've had a cameo by Peter Graves, the original actor to play Jim Phelps, the hero of the TV series, possibly out of goodwill that it would undo the damage the first film did to his reputation, but his untimely death on March 2010 put an end to those plans.
The first movie version of Watchmen, which was never made, looks like it would have been a much more typical humorous action heavy campy superhero flick. The fact that the project got stuck in Development Hell and was eventually dropped is probably proof of God's mercy.
In one script, the reason masked heroes are outlawed is when they fail to save the Statue of Liberty from being blown up by terrorists, and Ozymandias' plot was to open a time portal and kill Dr. Manhattan before he transformed, and it all would have ended with history being rewritten and the Watchmen ending up in a dumpster in OUR world.
Watchmen had a boatload of "What Could Have Been"s. Among them:
Early drafts of the film featured Legion as the Big Bad, rather than Parallax.
The movie was heavily altered in editing, with a number of elements removed or switched around. Flashbacks showing Hal Jordan's childhood with Carol Ferris and Hector Hammond were cut, as was another flashback that would have provided set-up for Hal's race track construct later in the film.
Parallax was originally going to be a surprise third act reveal, but the studio altered the story so that he was established as the main threat from the very beginning. This change incited Creator Backlash from director Martin Campbell.
A cameo featuring Nick Jones as John Stewart (the Green Lantern audiences knew from Justice League) was filmed, but ultimately cut.
Earlier drafts featured Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern, as a Retired Badass who would have served as the narrator and something of a mentor to Hal.
Guy Gardner was going to appear in a cameo.
The Green Lantern ring was going to search for other potential Green Lanterns first, stopping at the Daily Planet and landing on the desk of Clark Kent, before flying off again. The cameo was cut due to budgetary concerns.
One ending would have Hal kissing a dying Carol and reigniting the Green Lantern ring.
The film ends with an obvious Sequel Hook for a second installment with Sinestro as the Big Bad.
The movie was initially going to be the start of the DC Cinematic Universe, with Angela Bassett's Amanda Waller playing a Nick Fury-like role throughout the various films. This idea was scrapped due to the film's poor reception, and DC was forced to wait another two years to start their shared universe with Man of Steel.
Robert Smigel wrote a script for a comedic Green Lantern film that would have starred Jack Black as a Canon Foreigner GL named Jud Plato. According to Smigel, the Corps would've been portrayed in a serious, respectful manner, which he felt would serve to make Plato seem funnier by comparison. Highlights included Jud proving his fearlessness by eating a coyote on live TV, and catching criminals with a giant energy condom. But seeing as this news came out around the time of the "creative liberties" of Catwoman... Meanwhile, back in The '80s there was a similar attempt at a comedic Green Lantern which would have starred Eddie Murphy.
George Miller came close to making a Justice League of America film in 2007, with a cast consisting of Armie Hammer (who would later play The Lone Ranger) as Batman, D.J. Cotrona as Superman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, rapper Common as Green Lantern (John Stewart), and Adam Brody as The Flash (Barry Allen), with Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and a teenage Wally West appearing as well. The story had Maxwell Lord (played by Jay Baruchel), Talia al Ghul, and the OMACs as the villains, with a plot loosely inspired by Mark Waid's Tower of Babel, and Greg Rucka's The O.M.A.C. Project and Countdown to Infinite Crisis. The movie would have ended with Barry pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to defeat Lord, setting up Wally to become the new Flash in future installments. It got far enough along in production that sets were created and filming was ready to start. However, the project was put on hold before filming could commence following the 2007 writer's strike, the death of the costume designer, and an unfavorable change in Australia's tax code. Even after the strike ended and a new costumer designer was hired, most of the cast had moved on and Warner Bros. lost interest in the project following the success of The Dark Knight, leading to the film's cancellation.
A big-screen reboot of Wild Wild West had been mooted since 1992, with the abovementioned Shane Black screenplay providing the story, Mel Gibson set to play Jim West and Richard Donner attached to direct.
The original script of The Truman Show had Truman living in a fake New York City, continued the story after Truman got out of his studio, and was a lot more disturbing. Peter Weir had the story rewritten to make it believable that people would want to watch The Truman Show, and hence made Truman's life more idyllic and escapist.
Thomas and the Magic Railroad was to have featured a human villain named "P.T. Boomer". Originally, it was he who had taken Lady out for a spin and crashed her (not Diesel 10) which caused Burnett to feel guilt. Boomer's motivation against Burnett was because he had taken his love interest Tasha from under his nose, and the reason for his return to Shining Time was to seek out Lady and destroy her. He was removed from the plot as test audiences apparently found him "too scary", leaving the filmakers to plaster over whatever they could. So late was his removal that he was still seen in the trailer yelling "I'll get you, you blue puffball!" and the only scene of him in the proper movie is a motorcyclist asking directions (and his line redubbed by another actor).
Rowan Atkinson's character in Love Actually was originally meant to be an angel, thereby explaining his eerie familiarity with characters who had never met him before. In his final scene he was meant to disappear while walking away from Liam Neeson in the airport. The whole idea was eventually scrapped and left us with a funny, if somewhat random, performance from Atkinson.
In the 1970s John Boorman was contracted by United Artists to direct an adaptation that would have collapsed the entire story into a single film. Among the many, many changes: Gimli would have been put in a hole and beaten in order to retrieve the password to Moria from his ancestral memory. Frodo and Galadriel would have had sexual intercourse (Celeborn didn't exist in Boorman's version of the story). Arwen would have become a teenaged spiritual guide with her role as Aragorn's love interest transferred to Éowyn. There would have been a scene where, after eating some strange mushrooms, the hobbits started having hallucinations. Frodo would have been fully naked twice (once during his healing in Rivendell, once during his torture in Cirith Ungol). Aragorn's healing of Éowyn would have taken place on the battlefield and given sexual overtones. Basically, it would have made everyone who cares about books cry. The project ultimately proved too expensive to finance at that time. Boorman later made the Arthurian epic Excalibur where he used special effects techniques, locations, and... let's say plot embellishments intended for the Tolkien project, more information of which can be found here.
Boorman didn't stop there; he attempted to get Rings up and running again in the mid-90s, this time at Tri-Star Pictures, but that all fell apart due to merchandising-rights conflicts.
The Peter Jackson-directed series
Orlando Bloom originally auditioned for the role of Faramir and almost got it until the powers that be decided he would make a much better Legolas.
Stuart Townsend was originally cast as Aragorn but was fired before filming began. The role was given to Viggo Mortensen instead.
Executive Meddling at one point suggested that the entire trilogy be condensed into one film, which would involve cutting the town of Bree and the Battle of Helm's Deep, "losing or using" Saruman, merging Rohan and Gondor by having Éowyn be Boromir's sister, shortening Rivendell and Moria, and having the Ents prevent the Uruk-hai from kidnapping Merry and Pippin. Thankfully, Jackson saw that would be "cutting out half the good stuff" and didn't do it.
Originally there was supposed to be another scene of Sam deciding to go back, he would have a vision of Frodo becoming like Gollum. This scene was filmed and Elijah Wood wore Gollum-esque makeup but didn't make it into any version of Return of the King.
During the battle of Helm's Deep a few orcs were going to get through, only to caught and defeated by Éowyn who was helping a pregnant woman give birth.
Arwen was originally going to join Aragorn for the war and can even be briefly seen in a few shots.
There is talk that LOTR was considered as a movie project for The Beatles at one point - Paul as Frodo, Ringo as Sam, George as Gandalf, and John as Gollum - and directed by Stanley Kubrick. Word is that Tolkien rejected it flat out.
Speaking of The Time Traveler's Wife, the film was originally going to star Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, who bought the filming rights to Niffenegger's novel before it was released to the public. However, the Real Life dissolution of their marriage (and subsequent legal settlement) scrapped the plan.
Speaking of Sweeney Todd, there's the matter of all the material from the stage musical that was cut from the film. Most notably, "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" was to be sung by a chorus of ghosts, which included Christopher Lee. This also explains the two-second cameo by Anthony Head following the shaving contest.
And speaking of The Phantom of the Opera (2004), Hugh Jackman was apparently on the short list for the title role, but had other commitments at the time of filming. (While this wouldn't have solved all the film's problems, "Music of the Night" at least would have been awesome.) A much earlier Phantom film (late '90s) might have toplined Antonio Banderas, perhaps with Kate Winslet as Christine. And even earlier, if Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sarah Brightman (the original stage Christine) hadn't divorced when they had, she would have played the role in the film, alongside original Phantom Michael Crawford.
The original concept of the Terminator Twosome was that the T-1000 was going to have the Shapeshifter Default Form of Kyle Reese and played by Michael Biehn, making for an even more interesting switch up of the first movie. They decided that it would be too confusing and it would involve an additional emotional subplot with Sarah recognizing his features. Instead they opted for the similarly built Robert Patrick to get the big guy (Arnold) and small guy fighting each other image.
Billy Idol was also picked to be the T-1000, but that plan was dropped when he broke his leg in a motorcycle accident.
Another early idea involved the Terminator and the T-1000 both being played by Arnold. This too would have been confusing, and was dropped.
WASP singer Blackie Lawless was also considered for the role of the T-1000.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines: A cut scene would have given an origin for the T-800's apparent Austrian accent. A prototype would be demonstrated with a southern accent, then an Austrian scientist would say, "I can fix it."
The initially planned ending for Terminator Salvation was for John to die and Marcus to assume his appearance - then go evil and kill everyone. It was changed partly because some details were leaked and partly because it was too bleak.
George A. Romero penned a screenplay that can still be found on the Internet. In general, aside from making Chris Redfield into both a Magical Native American and Jill's lover instead of being a S.T.A.R.S. member, the robotic Hunters, Jill being the team captain rather than Wesker, Barry becoming a Scary Black Man who gets killed off,, the movie hangs together much better than the game it's based on.
"Manos" The Hands of Fate was supposed to have a sequel, which is why Torgo escapes from the house toward the end. However, its incredibly poor quality prevented that from happening.
And Torgo's actor committing suicide...
Michael Jacksonreally wanted to get into acting after he became a megastar, but those ambitions never amounted to much. Among the could-have-beens:
Playing Peter Pan. Jackson was considered as Peter for Steven Spielberg's Hook, but didn't care for the film's premise of an older Peter Pan rediscovering his childhood.
When Paramount briefly considered producing The Crow, they intended it to be a Jackson vehicle and a musical. Upon being contacted about such an adaptation creator, writer, and illustrator of the comics, James O'Barr apparently laughed his ass off at the idea, thinking they were joking, only to be stunned when told they were serious.
According to the book Michael Jackson Unauthorized, he had a conversation with Spielberg about playing the title character in the movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera (at the time, Spielberg's name was being thrown around as a potential director for it). Lloyd Webber has confirmed that Jackson wanted that role badly and kept bringing it up with him, but he was never seriously considered for it.
In 1993, according to Entertainment Weekly, the first round of child molestation allegations killed a Jack and the Beanstalk adaptation and an original superhero movie, MidKnight.
There was also talk earlier in '93 of mounting a remake of 7 Faces of Dr. Lao with him as the title character. In the book Michael Jackson Inc. colleague/producer Rusty Lemorande discusses an unnamed film that made it to the pre-production/conceptual art stage and sounds suspiciously like this one — the model sets included a circus train and an inner-city block (suggesting a Setting Update), and there were character designs for a variety of creatures Jackson would have played.
Michael Jackson Inc. also briefly discusses Jackson's attempts to buy the struggling Marvel Comics in the mid-1990s, with the intent of adapting its flagship titles into movies he could star in. Had this panned out, he might have played such roles as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Charles Xavier.
Plans were announced for at least two film projects that never came to fruition at the Turn of the Millennium: The Nightmare of Edgar Allan Poe and Wolfed, a werewolf movie based on Alexandre Dumas' The Wolf King. He would have played the lead roles in both. As the Edgar Allan Poe film was going to be written by a Smallville writer and directed by the guy who made Fear Dot Com, Cracked.com declared it the "worst movie Hollywood never made".
According to the book The Man Behind the Mask, Jackson was willing to appear in Men in Black II for free... if Will Smith was dropped from the film so he could play the protagonist. He wound up in a cameo instead. The scene in question is a little awkward.
According to brother Jermaine's book You Are Not Alone, Jackson was all set to campaign for the role of Willy Wonka in the second Charlie and the Chocolate Factory adaptation...then he was accused of child molestation for a second time, and that became impossible. Colleague/producer Marc Schaffel (in the biography Untouchable) goes further with this, claiming that Michael wrote a whole soundtrack for the movie and submitted it to Warner Bros. in 2000, figuring that they would give him the lead on the basis of it. But though executives loved it, they were not comfortable casting him as Willy Wonka, and offered to find another role in the film for him in exchange for the soundtrack. Michael was too dead set on the lead role to allow this, so it fell through.
Untouchable also mentions that he was working on a King Tut project for years.
He was planning to co-direct, with Bryan Michael Stoller, a film adaptation of Jennings Michael Burch's They Cage the Animals at Night, a memoir of child abandonment and abuse in the orphanage/foster care system.
Jermaine has also claimed that Michael was supposed to be one of the founders of Dreamworks, alongside Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen, and points to the resemblance of the Dreamworks logo to that of Michael's Neverland Valley Ranch — which was established as such in the late 1980s — as proof. (Both feature a boy sitting on a crescent moon.) For unknown reasons, Michael was left out when the plans were finalized. No one else has made similar claims about this, though, so take this with a grain of salt...
In Dan Aykroyd's original treatment for Ghostbusters (1984), the film took place in the future, ghostbusting was commonplace, and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man would have appeared in the first twenty minutes. Ivan Reitman on the commentary for the film said that it would have cost 300 million dollars to make. To put this in perspective, Ghostbusters was made for about 30 million. In 1984 dollars.
Also, Dan was to have been joined by John Belushi (who died during writing, and later inspired Slimer) and Chevy Chase.
And Eddie Murphy would have played Winston. Winston's backstory was also more fleshed out in the original script, with him being a former Marine and a Ph.D. with multiple degrees. His role was heavily rewritten to give a bigger part to Bill Murray, which resulted in Winston's role getting significantly trimmed down and his introduction being moved to the middle of the film. Ernie Hudson has said he still wishes he had gotten to play the original Winston instead of the role he ended up with.
Additionally, John Candy was the original choice for Louis Tully, who was conceived as an uptight businessman. According to the DVD commentary, however, Candy had horrible ideas for the character. He wanted to play him as an over-the-top German stereotype with dogs. Ivan Reitman thought that the movie already had enough dogs, and everyone involved agreed that Candy just didn't get the character. They also agree that their subsequent choice of Rick Moranis and his choice to play Tully as a meek accountant (which he felt more comfortable playing) is much funnier than any of Candy's ideas were.
In addition, the ghostbusters would travel through time with SWAT gear and wands in order to battle ghosts.
Aykroyd's idea for a third movie was a script called Ghostbusters 3: Hellbent, in which the beloved quartet end up in an alternate hell dimension version of New York, called "Manhellton," where Central Park is filled with green demons and surrounded by thousand-foot-high apartment buildings. The Ghostbusters' nemesis was to be named "Lou Siffler," as in Lucifer — a "Donald Trump-like mogul" who was literally the devil. Plus, Aykroyd decided it would have to be computer-animated, because it would be "cheaper to produce".
Give My Regards to Broad Street: Originally, the segment of the film after "Eleanor Rigby" proper and set in Victorian times (more or less) was to be set to normal classical music or be about six minutes shorter or both. Paul McCartney insisted on too many ideas for it to be short, and it's just as well: that segment does have a plot, and it contains a nice mixture of foreshadowing and Red Herrings which does add some badly-needed suspense and depth to what comes later. And Paul also figured that he could write his own classical. (The piece is titled "Eleanor's Dream," part from context and part from it leaning heavily on variations of the "Eleanor Rigby" theme.)
Darkness Falls, in which the vengeful ghost of a murdered lady acts as a tooth fairy who kills you if you look at her, started production as a more psychological thriller simply called "The Tooth Fairy," without the murdered lady, and the actual Tooth Fairy (who has a side job as the Angel of Death) being the monster. The shift in focus came so late that an action figure based on the original Tooth Fairy design was released (and can be seen here, in all its lost glory.
They was originally conceived as being about evil cybernetic creatures that stole people's organs to replace their own, that could make everyone forget their victims had ever existed. The actual script wound up replacing the cyborgs with supernatural night-terrors whose victims would be dismissed as crazy if they sought help.
Paul Rudnick wrote the original draft of the screenplay of Sister Act with Bette Midler in mind for the lead. When she turned it down, Rudnick left the project, and it was re-tooled for Whoopi.
She was supposed to star in three MGM musicals that were made without her: The Barkleys of Broadway (which was supposed to follow up on the success of Garland and Fred Astaire in Easter Parade but instead reunited Astaire with his old partner Ginger Rogers), Annie Get Your Gun (which Garland was partially filmed in before being replaced by Betty Hutton) and Show Boat (where Ava Gardner played the part written for Garland).
Judy was also, much later, slated to play Helen Lawson in the extremelynotorious film version of Jacqueline Susann's novel The Valley Of The Dolls, but proved so unreliable by that point she never got past the screen test stage.
And then there's Project 880, the early "scriptment" for a little movie called Avatar. Generally speaking, it hits the same basic plot points, but is also much longer and much more detailed, explaining many things that ended up being plot holes in the final film and lacking the Mighty Whitey aspect altogether. There are also many interesting lost subplots. Perhaps they could be sequel fodder...
Peter Sellers' death in 1980 affected or scuppered several projects:
He was to topline a remake of Preston Sturges' Unfaithfully Yours and an original comedy called Lovesick; both projects were eventually filmed as Dudley Moore vehicles.
Grossing Out was a satire about arms dealers to be scripted by Terry Southern (who wrote the source novel for The Magic Christian and co-wrote the Doctor Strangelove screenplay) and directed by Hal Ashby (who had directed Sellers in Being There).
Most famously Romance of the Pink Panther was a Grand Finale for the franchise that Sellers was co-writing prior to his death and for which Blake Edwards was well paid not to be involved in (directors that were attached: Sidney Poitier, then Clive Donner). The plot would have had Clouseau fall in love with a beautiful woman (Pamela Stephenson) without realizing that she's "The Frog", the jewel thief he's trying to capture. United Artists tried to revive this project as a Dudley Moore vehicle (again!), but Moore would not play Clouseau unless Edwards was involved. Edwards didn't want to shoot that script, Moore moved on, and we got the Clip Show of Trail of... and Replacement Scrappy of Curse of... instead.
Before Phil Hartman's death, there were plans for him to appear as his The Simpsons character Troy McClure in a live action film. According to Matt Groening the idea never "got further than enthusiasm", but "would have been really fun".
The plans for The Simpsons Movie are numerous: one script more focused on Bart and Lisa and co-starred Simon Pegg, another had the Simpsons being filmed as part of a reality TV show, with Will Ferrell as the show's producer, and two Simpsons episodes were originally thought up as feature-length scripts for the movie: "Kamp Krusty,"note season four episode where Bart and Lisa go to Kamp Krusty, and end up overthrowing it after the camp turns out to be a prison and "Bonfire of the Manatees"note season 17 episode where Marge leaves Homer after finding out that he's using the house to let the Mafia film a porno in it, and Marge falls for a marine biologist voiced by Alec Baldwin.
River Phoenix was on the cusp of being a breakout star when he died, resulting in him being replaced for roles he had been slated for:
The lead role in a Neil Jordan/John Boorman movie Broken Dreams. The movie remains on hold.
When River died, he was starring in Dark Blood. The film was left unfinished for almost twenty years, before the film was recut and due for release in 2012.
Ever wondered why Flash Gordon and Ming The Merciless are included in the closing credits of A Christmas Story? It's because the script originally had a scene where Ralphie fantasizes about helping out Flash Gordon with a BB gun. It was filmed but got cut at the last minute.
The Magnificent Ambersons, directed by Orson Welles. Perhaps the most tragic example of this trope in cinema history, the film was re-edited by the studio while he was out of the country. They then dumped the footage they removed into the ocean, as they did with many other things things they considered disposable.
Rumor exists that an original cut was flown to Welles in Brazil and could still survive...
While we're talking about Welles, he also planned, but never made, a version of Heart of Darkness
Parodied in the long-running "rumor" of a partly completed film by Orson Welles called... Batman.
John Carpenter intended the Halloween series to be an anthology franchise, each telling a completely unrelated horror story. Unfortunately, Executive Meddling forced the second film to be a direct sequel to the first, and so when he tried to re-implement the idea with the third film, which turned out poorly thanks to the film's negative reception due to critics and audiences finding the story nonsensical, full of plot holes, and too strange, not helped by a massive fan rebellion over how it had nothing to do with the previous two films. This meant the later sequels also focused on Myers leaving film three as an absurd aberration dropped in the middle of the story.
Carpenter and producer Debra Hill have stated several times that Christopher Lee was their first choice for the role of Dr. Loomis. He turned down the role. He now calls it the biggest mistake of his career.
Apparently, the part of Loomis was also offered to Lee's best friend and frequent co-star, Peter Cushing. His agent evidently hated the idea. It is unknown if Cushing ever actually read the script.
Hellraiser vs Halloween: Cliver Barker and John Carpenter had both discussed a Halloween/Hellraiser crossover, but the project seems to have been cancelled.
Ben Stiller originally wrote Tropic Thunder intending to play Tugg Speedman's agent Rick Peck himself, with Keanu Reeves as Speedman. Then, Owen Wilson was going to play Peck, but after his attempted suicide he was replaced by Matthew McConaughey. Also, Mos Def turned down the role of Alpa Chino.
It was originally intended to be a Western, according to Word of God. The starting notion was for it to be about a cowboy who gets pulled into a weird supernatural underground on a trek to find his stolen horse. You can clearly see Kurt Russell (by his own admission too) still blatantly channeling John Wayne.
Hitman was screwed up in the last moment by Executive Meddling. The near-final script, floating in the Internet, has no mention of where did Number 47 come from, no mention of the infamous train swordfight scene, more backstory for Nika and the Big Bad, 47 is chased by Spetsnaz instead of the Agency, a shootout between 47 and Spetsnaz commandos on a moving train (and they're rappelling from helicopters, no less!), Agent Markov being The Man Behind the Man and Mike Whittier foiling his plan by giving the recording from the bug he planted on him to a Russian general.
Guillermo del Toro's At the Mountains of Madness. If ever there was an idea that lent itself to 3D, it would have been del Toro doing Lovecraft... Mountains of Madness would have been co-directed by James Cameron but execs didn't want to risk tine and money on what would certainly have been the biggest movie of the year that had no romantic hook and ended with indestructible Cosmic Horrors destroying the world.
200 Motels, Frank Zappa's intended fantasy about the things that can make a band go crazy during a tour, had a series of troubles during the production, finishing with only a third of the script filmed. A new plot was made in the editing room with the material gathered, and was released in 1971.
Also by Zappa, was 1969 project Uncle Meat, which was aborted in an even earlier stage of production. A direct-to-video release in 1987 gathered the little that was filmed, including behind the scenes and footage of live concerts with spoken and musical material that were to be worked upon in the film. Although the movie project remained in obscurity, the soundtrack was released in 1969 and is regarded by fans as a high point in Zappa's career.
Vileness Fats, an abandoned project of avant-garde multimedia band The Residents, had only two-thirds of an unfinished script filmed. Two condensed versions were released, in 1984 and 2001. The story dealt with the war between the village of Vileness Fats and the Atomic Shopping Carts.
A feature film featuring the Sex Pistols called Who Killed Bambi? started production in 1978. The director was Russ Meyer and one of the writers was Roger Ebert. After only a few days of filming had been done the studio pulled the plug.
Extensive changes were made from the early scripts of Hellraiser: Bloodline. A notable one being that Angelique was supposed to be served by a troupe of demon clowns, leading to a sort of Order Versus Chaos dynamic between her and the Cenobites. The movie kept one scene from this, in which Cenobite Angelique admires her human form in a mirror. Other changes include the fates of characters, and an added backstory for the Twin Cenobite, who's origin was left unknown in the original script. By and large, the script was far more well received by the fans then the movie itself.
Even Snopes can't confirm if it's true or not, but supposedly the original version of Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 was Smokey IS the Bandit, and had Jackie Gleason playing both Buford T. Justice and a Bandit-equivalent (with Burt Reynolds just providing a cameo). This proved so confusing for test audiences that the film was reshot with Jerry Reed in the latter role.
The Sandman, as directed and written by Roger Avary with aid from the guys who went on to write Pirates of the Caribbean. The original script blended Preludes and Nocturnes and A Doll's House with the meeting of the Endless that opens Season of Mists, so you have Morpheus trying to reclaim the symbols of his office while trying to stop The Corinthian from using Rose Walker to take over the Dreaming. Then Jon Peters (yup, that guy again) got his hands on the script, and tried to insert, among other things: Morpheus in tights; Morpheus talking even more pretentiously than he already does; Morpheus engaging The Corinthian in hand-to-hand combat; and that damned mechanical spider. Gaiman took one look at the script after Peters was done with it, declared it a work on unparalleled crap, and the film has rested in Development Hell ever since.
The feature film version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?? was projected to star James Mason as George and Bette Davis as Martha, which would have made the famous "What a dump!" scene that much more deliciously ironic* Bette Davis spoke the line herself in the 1949 movie Beyond the Forest. The then-very-hot couple of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor professed interest in the project and the original casting was scrapped.
Also, in 1957, Richard Matheson himself wrote an adaptation of the novel under the title The Night Creatures for Hammer Films. The project died when both the BBFC and the MPAA told Hammer that a film based on Matheson's script would never be passed. The script was sold, and eventually became the Vincent Price film The Last Man on Earth. The title was later applied to the U.S, release of Captain Clegg.
Gremlins was initially envisioned as a much darker and more violent film, with the Gremlins actually EATING people alive, and no good mogwai like Gizmo. The first draft (which Joe Dante never even read) had the main characters as prepubescent children, Steven Spielberg had that changed because he found that to be too similar to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. You can read the second draft Here.
Stan Winston got offered the opportunity to do the visual effects for ET, but declined. He would regret doing so.
This article explains what Paramount Pictures had in mind for Twilight the movie, since they originally picked up the rights to it. Their script versions changed Bella from a clumsy damsel to an Action Girl track star who became a vampire in the first movie rather than the final movie. In some versions, her dad also died. The studio also wanted to focus more on action elements to pull in a male audience. (In their words, the book was just becoming popular at the time, and they didn't think it had the fan base to sell the love story alone). So they added a Korean FBI agent who hunted vampires and SWAT officers and vampires fighting each other in the woods. Stephanie Meyer was understandably not pleased. Paramount lost interest and Summit Entertainment picked it up and made a more faithful-to-the-book adaptation. One can't help but wonder why Paramount didn't just make their own vampire movie instead of bothering to get the rights to Twilight with the intention of changing everything
Chris Columbus almost directed the first Twilight film. This would have resulted in the Harry Potter and Twilight movie franchises both being started by the same man.
Samuel L. Jackson auditioned for the role of Mr. Orange's contact in Reservoir Dogs. There was also a point during the preproduction for Pulp Fiction when he was nearly replaced in the part of Jules by Phil Calderon (who went on to play Paul the bartender). Jackson got wind of the possibility, went back and re-auditioned, cementing himself as Jules.
Originally, Jaws 3D was supposed to be a parody, done by National Lampoon, called Jaws 3: People 0, with a shark killing off all people linked to Jaws, starting with Peter Benchley in a swimming pool. Steven Spielberg himself squashed the production by threatening to never work with Universal again if they went through with production.
When Grease became a huge hit, there were plans for at least three sequels and a TV series. However, when Grease 2bombed, these plans were scrapped.
Years before the existing Grease film came to be, Ralph Bakshi and Steve Krantz had acquired the rights and had wanted to do an animated version of the musical. After their partnership fell through, the film rights were passed to Allan Carr.
Porn star Harry Reems (of Deep Throat fame) secured the role of Coach Calhoun (a role he'd played in the stage version). The producers, worried Reems' infamy would hurt the box office, replaced him with Sid Caesar.
In the DVD special features for Freddy vs. Jason, it's mentioned that the writers had, not too seriously, considered ending the film with a scene of both of its superstar killers in Hell, charging at each other in a rage ... only to be ensnared in chains, and confronted by Pinhead from the Hellraiser films, saying: "Gentlemen, is there a problem?" This one never even got past the level of a production-crew joke, as New Line never had the rights to Hellraiser or its characters, but still rates a mention as a What Could Have Been.
Special effects artist Rob Bottin was going to direct the film in 1997 in what would have been his directorial debut, and had tested his version of Freddy Krueger's makeup on Robert Englund.
This website has a huge amount of unmade Kaiju films on it. Some of them we'd rather stay unmade, like Crackodile, but others like King Kong Vs. Frankenstein and Ray Harryhausen's unmade film Force of the Trojans makes one nostalgic for the greatness that never was.
The Lawnmower Man: The association with Stephen King's short story was added to a script titled Cyber God. Had it remained its own movie, it may have had a different response than being known as a bad adaptation of a short story.
There was the infamous Stanley Kubrick Napoleon movie, which was scrapped because a big budget film about the battle of Waterloo starring Rod Steiger as Napoleon had tanked at the box office, which caused studios to back off financing Kubrick's Napoleon epic. He made A Clockwork Orange instead, and most of the ideas he had for filming Napoleon were also recycled when Kubrick shot Barry Lyndon.
Francis Ford Coppola could-have-beens: Megalopolis, about an architect who tries to bring about Utopia in New York, supposedly after some great disaster, was one. Another would have been a Pinocchio adaptation.
David Lynch has had a few projects that turned out like this, including his followup to Eraserhead, "Ronnie Rocket, and the film One Saliva Bubble.
Anybody curious about what would have happened if Ayn Rand's unmade film Red Pawn about a woman trying to free a prisoner from Soviet Russia were ever made?
The original protagonist in the screenplay for Gregg Bishop's Dance of the Dead was not Jimmy, but a troubled girl named Lucy who was going to move into town at the beginning of the film, and the zombie epidemic was going to be one more example of trouble that followed her. On the first day of shooting, the girl meant to play Lucy walked onto the set and told the filmmakers she didn't want to do it anymore, forcing them to completely write her out of the story completely. As explained on the DVD commentary, they didn't know it at the time, but this was a blessing in disguise, because once they started shooting the film as we currently have it, they realized the character of Lucy completely sucked.
Old School was originally written to be a comedic parody of Fight Club. However, the studio decided that film wasn't well known enough (at the time the script was written, the film was only known as a box office flop) and instead became more of a film in the vein of Animal House and the director's previous film Road Trip. However, some pieces of the original script remain in the final film (such as Luke Wilson's character never having to pay for anything at the local diner).
There are several horror movies that never were on this list, some of which have been mentioned here, but amongst those that haven't:
A sequel to the bizarre horror film Society, supposedly giving greater detail on the society of old-money, blue-blood shape-shifting monsters
Kalidescope, an Alfred Hitchcock film about a serial killer that was supposed to be made with all new filmmaking techniques
House of Reanimator, a sequel to the Re-Animator series that has a plot involving Herbert West re-animating the effing Vice President of the USA!
The Steven Spielberg film Night Skies, a film about alien scientists tormenting a farmer's family and mutilating their livestock, which evolved into E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial when Spielberg wanted to do something less dark (the dark elements gelled into Poltergeist), and latched onto a subplot about a friendly one of the aliens befriending the family's child to build a movie around. Supposedly Rick Baker made a really cool special effects model for one of the aliens, but there appears to be no pictures of it around.
Howard Stern was going to originally make a Fartman movie, which supposedly had a pretty good script, but the deal fell apart over the fact that Stern didn't want to relinquish the merchandising rights.
This topic has an excellent overview of some great SF films never made. Notable ones include:
Screaming Room Only, a film about a psychic, tormented teenager who psychically manifests various monsters against his tormentors.
A cracked-out horror film called Bloody Twilight starring John Carradine and Lon Chaney, Jr. as themselves (Although in this film Carradine is literally a real vampire, and Chaney a real werewolf), hypnotizing hippies to kill directors they felt had wronged them.
A Macekre of Godzilla's Counterattack called The Volcano Monsters with all new footage for the human actors and the story partially set in Chinatown to explain all the Asian architecture. Godzilla and Angirus would have been turned into an ordinary T-Rex and Anklyosaur.
A movie to be produced in the 70s by Charlie Chaplin shortly before his death called The Freak about a woman in South America with wings.
Choice Cuts, a film about a guy cut up to provide parts for Vietnam Veterans who's head was preserved by a mad scientist. Due to a tumor he can control these parts from a distance and inducing their holders to kill. At some point in the movie the guys' girlfriend would have found his head and taken it to recover all his parts.
A similar film titled Body Parts based on the same source material (the Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac novel Et mon tout est un homme) was released in 1991.
Apparently the short that this trailer is for, about a man with an ice cream cone for a head on the run from the mob, apparently was going to be made into a movie, called Swirlee. It was supposed to be fairly serious, described as "Dick Tracy and Edward Scissorhands meets Mean Streets". But, unfortunately, the execs didn't get it and wanted to make it a kids movie. And thus it stayed unmade.
Charles Band has a huge amount of these. Most notably, there was proposed an epic three-part Puppet Master trilogy where the puppets would fight the Mummy, Dracula, and Frankenstein's monster.
Christopher Nolan initially thought of Inception as a horror film, before deciding to turn it into a heist movie. The shade haunting Cobb throughout the film was originally going to be his business parter, but Nolan changed it to his wife since he felt that created a stronger emotional connection between the two. He also saw it as a small, low budget affair but we all know how well that turned out.
Writer and director Steven E. de Souza originally planned to have a smaller, more manageable cast that would've only used seven characters from the game. The representatives from Capcom initially agreed to this, but later changed their minds and forced him to include eight other fighters from the game.
Capcom wanted Japanese actor Kenya Sawada to play Ryu, but the director wanted someone with comedic chops and a better grasp of the English language. The character of Captain Sawada was written into the movie specifically for Kenya as a compromise.
Many of the fight scenes had to be edited to remove blood and gore after the MPAA complained. This included a death scene for Vega, who was supposed to die after being impaled on his own claws.
The 1984 comedy Best Defense with Dudley Moore and Eddie Murphy originally only starred Moore. When it tested poorly, they filmed extra scenes featuring Murphy (he doesn't interact with any of the other characters — his scenes are set two years later) and inserted them in, hoping it would attract people to the film. Unfortunately, the movie was blasted by critics and was a flop with audiences.
Amongst the most famous is Peter Jackson's aborted HALO film. Neill Blomkamp was to direct it, and when it fell through, Jackson gave Blomkamp $30 million to go make a feature version of his short film "Alive in Joburg". The result was District 9, making it a case where What Could Have Been still resulted in something awesome.
Before the usage of CGI and the armored suits, it was planned to be done in the style of the main series, something that would be done in Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie.
The helmets were originally molded without the visors and faceplates, allowing them to show off emotions. This quickly got scuttled when they realized they were not supposed to do that sort of thing, and that footage shot without the visors looked awful.
The Oozemen were originally just rats, but the costumes were so horrible, they got scuttled as well. The rat costumes turned up in the TV series, as part of a small number of episodes filmed in Australia (the movie's filming location) when filming on the movie overran and started eating into the series' shooting schedule.
Originally, when Ivan Ooze zapped the Tengu Warriors, they were supposed to turn into the Tengu Queen, who'd return to Phaedos and attack the Rangers again. This didn't happen, but the character of the Tengu Queen was used for the Game Boy game.
Cathrine Sutherland, who'd go on to play Kathrine "Kat" Hillard in the series proper, auditioned for the part of Dulcea.
There was a scene filmed where the Rangers, after getting their Ninjetti powers, train to get used to them before going off to get the Great Power. This scene was dropped after the shuffling around of who was playing Dulcea.
When the Rangers get to the temple of the Great Power and enter it, they were supposed to use the crests on their ninja uniforms to reflect back the light and activate the powers, with a brief moment of Kimberly using her crest to check herself over. This was replaced with the battle against the stone gatekeepers.
Zordon's revival was supposed to be before the final fight with Ivan, but was swapped around in the final version. The Sega Genesis game version keeps the original order.
This 1996 trailer for Blue Planet (Not to be confused with the BBC documentary series THE Blue Planet), a planned animated movie by then Rainbow Studios (now THQ), with a console game tie-in. The studio was unable to put together the funding; and the existing animation sequences were incorporated into the game, which was released as Deadly Tide. For a while after the film project was dropped, a number of fans created a (now defunct) website called savetheblueplanet.com to try and drum up enough support to get the film made. The trailer developed a large fanbase, mainly for its opening sequence Take That! at Disney/Pixar films Toy Story and A Bug's Life, and use of Rob Zombie's "More Human Than Human" as the soundtrack.
Alejandro Jodorowsky and Marilyn Manson were planning to team up on a sequel to El Topo called Abelcain, which was supposed to be ready for a 2005 release. However, budget problems and a lawsuit with El Topo's American distributor Allan Klein over royalties and sequel rights caused the project to get delayed and later canceled. The lawsuit was eventually settled and El Topo got a DVD release in 2007.
In Men in Black, the Arquillians subplot was originally going to involve the Baltians, a rival alien race that was going to return a galaxy to the Arquillians as a sign of peace. Scenes from this version of the film can be seen in the "Metamorphosis of MiB" featurette on the DVD.
Originally, Robin Hood (2010) was supposed to have been a film called Nottingham, which have had the Sheriff of Nottingham as the main protagonist instead of Robin Hood. The plot would have essentially been the Sheriff investigating a series of murders in Nottingham, with Robin Hood as the main culprit. Robin Hood himself would be a Jerkass, but ultimately innocent and being framed, and the film's climax would have been the city being sieged by the armies of both Prince John and King Richard as the Sheriff desperately tried to find the identity of the killer. And the Sheriff would have done this using actual 12th century crime investigation techniques. However, when Ridley Scott was signed on as director he played with making Robin and the Sheriff the same person, then changed the story completely into a origin story involving a French invasion and the Magna Carta.
At one point, Alan Rickman was being considered for the lead role in Four Weddings and a Funeral. The writer, Richard Curtis, fought for him, but in the end it was decided he was too old for the part.
Jeanne Tripplehorn was originally cast as Carrie, but had to back out for personal reasons. Melanie Griffith and Brooke Shields were both offered the part, but turned it down.
Advise and Consent almost had Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. cast as a senator from Georgia.
Peter Jackson was asked to write a script for what would have been the sixth A Nightmare on Elm Street film: Playing off the franchise's perceived Sequelitis, his idea would have started out with a weakened Freddy Krueger who no one takes seriously anymore, to the point where teens made a game of deliberately going to the dream world to beat him up. Once Freddy does start gaining power again, the main plot is kicked off by a boy having to enter the dream world to rescue his father. This script was never used and we got Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare instead... But the general concept of Freddy needing to regain strength because no one believed in him anymore was a plot point in Freddy vs. Jason.
Wes Craven had proposed the concept of Freddy invading the real world and coming after people who were working on a Nightmare On Elm Street sequel back when they were starting to develop the third movie: Much later he used the same basic idea for Wes Craven's New Nightmare.
Speaking about Wes Craven's New Nightmare, Wes Craven wanted Johnny Depp to make a cameo but didn't ask him since he was working on Ed Wood at the time. After the film was released, Craven bumped into Depp and told him about it. Depp said he would have done it if Craven had asked.
In 2008, French filmmakers Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo pitched their vision for a Nightmare On Elm Street reboot. According to the team, their idea "was to really use the fact that Krueger is a child molester," and to have the new gang getting terrorized by Freddy be a group of actual children straight out of an '80s Spielberg movie, like a "twisted version" of The Goonies.
Robert Altman had a few movies that never got made due to other circumstances. The first was Wild Card, which was a baseball comedy with Bill Murray as a pitcher trying to lead his team into the then-new Wild Card spot in the MLB Playoffs. The project got scrapped days before filming was to start due to a president change at MGM and the new president feeling the film was too expensive. The second was a film called Paint, which was a comedy about an art heist and the suspects in the robbery. This was set to start filming in early 2004 but Altman contracted cancer (which he eventually passed away from in 2006) and the film had to be canceled.
Saw. There were originally supposed to be eight films. Thankfully, because of Saw VI's lackluster box office draw and Executive Meddling, what would have been films VII and VIII were combined into Saw 3D.
Early attempts to adapt V for Vendetta to film were a lot more... surreal than what was eventually produced, and included such things as the various government agencies (the Eye, the Finger, etc) being based out of buildings shaped like the organs they were named after, Britain reduced to 1880s-level technology, and the fingermen being mutated, satyr-like creatures.
In the late '90s, Max Fleischer's son Richard "Dick" Fleischer worked on a full-length Betty Boop movie. A prequel following Betty's rise to fame in the Golden Age of Hollywood, it would have had legendary Broadway star Bernadette Peters voicing Betty, and it would have introduced Betty's estranged father Benny Boop into official canon. It was eventually cancelled due to a change in management at MGM, but some of the music and storyboards can be seen here.
According to some accounts, following the success of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Frank Capra planned a sequel, in which Mr. Deeds would find himself involved in politics. However, Gary Cooper wasn't available to reprise the role, so Mr. Deeds became Mr. Smith.
After their great success in Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke were to be reunited in a film version of the wonderful Broadway musical She Loves Me. Alas, a series of big-budget musical flops (not least among them Andrews' Star!) resulted in the project being cancelled.
American Beauty had a strange dream sequence where Lester imagines he is flying cut late into production. A much more significant change completely altered the film's point of view: the film originally would have begun and ended with Ricky and Jane on trial for Lester's murder.
Nosebleed was a film that had its production started in 2001 where a World Trade Center window washer, played by Jackie Chan, foils a terrorist plot. The film got scrapped for obvious reasons.
In 2006, Icon Productions said that it would adapt the book A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray into a movie. However, for whatever reason Icon relinquished the rights to the film and it will not be made in the foreseeable future.
The musical Dream Sequence in Carefree was supposed to be filmed in Technicolor. This explains the song title, "I Used To Be Colorblind."
Apocalypse Now was the communal property of American Zoetrope; it was heavily developed by George Lucas, who wanted to direct it. However Francis Ford Coppola overruled him and took it for himself. One cannot help but wonder how different George Lucas's career would've been if he'd spent those months of hell in the Philippines instead of Coppola.
Of course, the idea was much older, originally having been shot during the 60s, on location in Vietnam in 16mm using real soldiers (and a real war), but this was scrapped, partly for safety reasons. Lucas had also made the film differently with Milius, with the ending being a scene where Willard and Kurtz defend themselves from an attack using a machine gun which Kurtz manned.
In addition, at the start of shooting, the role of Willard was played by Harvey Keitel. He was sacked after a week of shooting and replaced by Martin Sheen. This one event basically stopped Keitel's career in its tracks, and it wasn't until Reservoir Dogs that he finally started to get the attention of audiences and film makers.
There were once plans for a sequel to Gladiator, written by none other than Nick Cave. And what wonderfully batshit plans they would have been, with Maximus finding himself before the Roman gods (who are slowly dying), getting resurrected, and fighting to protect the persecuted Christians. Also, he'd be immortal, and the film would show him fighting throughout history, ending with him in the halls of the Pentagon.
The original Buffy the Vampire Slayer film was closer in tone to the television series. But Joss Whedon was just a scriptwriter then, and after the script was sold, the film was changed so much that even the creator said "They Changed It, Now It Sucks". There's been talk for a few years now of a remake of the film, but Whedon wouldn't be involved much and no TV series characters would appear. This is because of a legal mish-mash made by the selling of the film script-the film is owned by the people who originally bought the script, but the series is still owned by Whedon and 20th Century Fox. Neither the actors or the fanbase were happy at all about it. Fortunately, it appears to have been shelved for now.
Highlander: The Source went trough many script rewrites and a director change during its production. In its earliest stage, director of the original film Russell Mulcahy was supposed to do the film, and it was to be a Prequel.
The original version of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie would have been an origin movie showing how Joel Robinson got captured and tossed up on the Satellite of Love, but fights with an executive working with the movie led creator Joel Hodgson to leave MST3K halfway through season 5.
There was a fifth host segment that was lopped out for some unknown reason. The host segment would've had an asteroid hit the Satellite of Love, damaging the air supply. Not a big deal, but Mike Nelson isn't Batman. So, the bots end up springing in to save the day and restore the air to the Satellite.
As well, there was an alternate ending to the movie. It would've had Tom distracting Dr. Forrester while Mike, Crow and Gypsy transformed and teleported an ant into Deep 13 as a MutAnt, who strangles Forrestor and knocks him out. At the end, Crow runs off and attempts to finish his dig to Earth using the chainsaw he found in Tom's room, completing a Brick Joke.
Two other ideas for the movie that were rejected by the studio were one where a being of pure logic and a being of pure energy meet on the Satellite of Love...and get into a wrestling match, and a cameo appearance by Kim Catrall...in lederhosen.
The prawns in District 9 were originally supposed to wear human clothes and other pieces of trash to protect their sensitive skin from the sun. And five different endings were shot, including one where Wikus made it onto the mothership, as did Koobus.
The One was originally written with Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson in mind for the role of the inter-dimensional killer and his good double. However, Johnson chose to do The Scorpion King instead. When Jet Li signed on to do the film, they rewrote the script and removed a good number of his lines to leave more room for good old-fashioned "Jet Li asskicking". According to Word of God, the Rock doesn't need to speak a lot; Jet Li needs to speak even less. The Jet Li vs. Jet Li fight at the end of the film (with even Jason Statham not being able to do much in the face of such awesomeness) is likely the only reason to see the movie. Now imagine the Rock vs. the Rock with each giving the other the "eyebrow".
In the early 1970's, Jerry Lewis (of all people) wanted to adapt The Catcher in the Rye and star as Holden. As with many other attempts at doing the story, he was unable to get the rights. Lewis documents the ordeal in his book The Total Film-Maker.
Before Steven Soderbergh was signed on to direct Magic Mike, Channing Tatum wanted Nicolas Winding Refn to direct the film. Refn turned it down due to a busy schedule but you would have more than likely seen a totally different film than Soderbergh's serious semi-biopic on the film's star.
In the early 1970s, Bob Fosse was set to direct a movie adaptation of Chicago starring Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, and Goldie Hawn, but Fosse, Sinatra and Minnelli's schedules could never be worked out.
After Larry Fine suffered a career-ending stroke, Moe Howard asked longtime friend and colleague Emil Sitka to be his replacement. A movie was planned, but fell through after Moe and Emil expressed concern about the film's financing and distribution. A few years later, the Stooges were offered a part in a comedy called The Jet Set. The day after Sitka agreed, Moe died, taking The Three Stooges with him. The movie was retooled as a softcore comedy with the surviving Ritz Brothers, and retitled Blazing Stewardesses.
When Dragonheart first began production, it was during the time when CGI wasn't that great. This meant that the production team needed other means to make the dragon, so they hired the Jim Henson company to build a dragon puppet. The puppet, or at least parts of it, was actually built, and a version of the campfire scene was actually filmed with it. However, when Jurassic Park was released, the team decided to go with the then-cutting edge CGI used for the dinosaurs.
Liam Neeson was the first choice for the role of Bowen but Universal didn't think he would be a believable action hero, due solely on his performance in Darkman. So the studio looked at Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, and Patrick Swayze as possible alternatives before Dennis Quaid was ultimately cast. Elizabeth Hurley and Kenneth Branagh were originally going to play the roles of Kara and Einon, the latter even considered directing the film as well as starring in it after original intended director Patrick Read Johnson was let go.
Charles Edward Pogue's script went through a number of revisions during production as a part of Universal's goal to make Dragonheart a more family-friendly film as opposed to the original vision for it to be a serious and transcendent film. See the film's novelization page for more info.
Its sequel Dragonheart: A New Beginning was a lackluster direct-to-home video ordeal that used a noticeably less advanced rendering system, despite coming out 4 years later when CGI had both improved significantly and dropped in cost. One has to wonder - if they'd cared a bit more, or tried to make a theatrical sequel, how much better would the visuals have been compared to the first?
In Buffalo Soldiers, the protagonist invites out the daughter of the new boss purely to make her father angry. The father chases them to the club but doesn't make it. This was originally going to be a big car chase, but having run out of budget the father ended up not getting into the club because he's wearing the wrong kind of shoes.
When Joaquin Phoenix decided to make a return to acting, he was weighing two choices on which film to do. The one he made was The Master. The one that he turned down? Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Therefore, we very nearly had two famed method actors play Abraham Lincoln in the same year.
Originally, Sam Rockwell was going to reprise his role as Batman in the sequel to Robin's Big Date that appears as one of the segments in Movie 43. For some strange reason, he pulled out and Jason Sudeikis took over. Also, the trademarks were supposed to appear but instead Batman got a shield that simply says "43".
Tarantino had originally wanted Will Smith to play Django. The two of them discussed it a lot, but according to Tarantino the script "wasn't 100 percent right" at the time and after agreeing to wait, he started testing other actors and decided that Jamie Foxx was perfect. In addition, it's been rumored that Smith feared that playing a slave out for revenge against his masters in a hard-R Western would tarnish his clean-cut "good guy" image.
The Tony Clifton Story was intended as Andy Kaufman's first starring vehicle. Focusing on his Alter-Ego Acting persona of Tony Clifton, the plot follows Clifton's ascent to stardom when he accosts Kaufman — portrayed as a Nice Character, Mean Actor — at a restaurant. Kaufman convinces the Lounge Lizard Clifton that he's talented, but promotes him as the So Bad, It's Good act he actually is. When Clifton realizes he's a public laughingstock, he runs away...at which point the film cuts to an out-of-character Kaufman explaining to the audience that Clifton died before the third act of the film was shot, so Kaufman will play Clifton (intentionally poorly) for the remainder. In the climactic scene, as faux!Clifton returns from being stranded in the jungle and assumed dead to confront Kaufman at his own funeral, the "actual" Clifton returns to assume control of the film and give everyone a happy ending. This was all a bit much for Universal Pictures at the turn of The '80s, and rewrites tried to simplify matters (i.e., the villain became an evil agent who caused trouble for both Kaufman and Clifton). Ultimately, the far more conventional Heartbeeps was Kaufman's first lead role in a film; when it bombed, The Tony Clifton Story was dead in the water.
There were plans for a fourth The Naked Gun movie titled Naked Gun 4 Score: And 3 Sequels Ago (or possibly Naked Gun 5, just to screw with people more). However, this was shelved when Leslie Nielsenpassed away.
When casting The Italian Job (2003), Jason Statham was not the producers' first choice for Handsome Rob. Originally they wanted to go with a younger actor with classic movie-star good looks, being "Handsome Rob" and all. Eventually they decided instead to make his attractiveness into more of a state of mind than a purely physical thing, making him not conventionally handsome but still cocky and swaggering enough to make the ladies weak.
It was originally planned as an action movie starring Steve McQueen. Unfortunately, he had to turn it down due to being terminally ill with cancer. Burt Reynolds was cast in the lead, and the film was rewritten as a comedy.
Reynolds himself only turned to acting after injuries derailed a promising football career at Florida State.
There were so many proposed actresses to play Cosette and Eponine in Les Misérables (2012) including Emma Watson, Jessica Biel, Evan Rachel Wood (who actually got the part) for Eponine, and possibly Taylor Swift and Lea Michele.
Acclaimed Austrian actor Klaus Marie Brandauer was originally cast as Captain Marko Ramius in The Hunt for Red October. He had been fitted for costumes and had attended several rehearsals when he was in an accident and broke both of his legs. Unable to proceed with filming, it was he who suggested that Sean Connery replace him. There is no doubt whatsoever that had Brandauer been able to continue, the movie would have had a very different feel.
At one point, there were plans in 2001 for a film by Joel Silver, with the then-current script drafted by Todd Alcott. It was set to feature both Diana Prince and Donna Troy in the role of Wonder Woman. Donna would have been an ordinary woman that suddenly gained super powers similar to Diana's, and would spend the movie trying to locate her would-be mentor so both could fight off the wicked Dr. Psycho. But the script was also said to ditch Wonder Woman's classic costume in favor of giving her a black catsuit, although her classic uniform would be referenced at some point.
Joss Whedon became attached to the Wonder Woman project in 2005, but left two years later, citing Creative Differences with Warner Bros. over the direction of the film. This version would have covered Diana's meeting with Steve Trevor and her journey to the outside world. Cobie Smulders would have played Wonder Woman. Concept art for the film later surfaced, which showed that Wonder Woman would've worn a Matrix-style blackduster and leggings over her traditional costume. Whedon's draft of the film is said to be one long Break the Haughty for Diana. Steve Trevor tells her she can never be a hero because she's never known real suffering (calling her "a fucking tourist"), she is forced to dance sexily for Dionysus, and is ultimately Buried Alive in a mass grave.
There were plans to make a second film, this one involving cyborgs in the plot. However, interest in the He Man franchise began to wane at the time, and also the film becoming a flop at box office, and the film was scrapped, what was already done fusing with the aborted Spider-Man film to become Cyborg (1989).
The DC Comics adaptation placed in a scene that was cut from the original movie - the revelation that Eternia was future Earth.
In 1989 Debbie Gibson was set to make her starring film debut in Skirts for Columbia Pictures, with choreographer Jeffrey Hornaday making his big-screen debut as a director - but then-studio head Jon Peters put his foot down thusly:
Jon Peters: No choreographer will ever direct a picture here!
Executive: But what about Bob Fosse?
Jon Peters: I don't want him, either.note Bob Fosse directed All That Jazz for Columbia - and was, by this time, the late Bob Fosse (he passed away in 1987). But Peters may have called it correctly with Hornaday, who made his directorial debut two years later for Universal with Shout... and didn't direct another movie for two decades, until Geek Charming.
The ending to Dogma would have been a little different: originally, Silent Bob was to confront the Golgothan and one of the demon kids that were killed previously in the hospital after God is rescued which would have God turn the Golgothan into a bunch of flowers, but was cut.
Tim Curry was originally going to play Mondavarious, but he backed out when he found out that the character was a disguise for Scrappy-Doo. The role would be taken up by Rowan Atkinson.
Speaking of Scrappy, he wasn't supposed to appear in the movie at all (not even being ditched by Scooby and the gang as part of the backstory), though James Gunn's original draft does have the U.S. Coast Guard threaten to put Scooby to sleep, with Shaggy adding, "Like what happened to Scrappy." The main villain was instead supposed to be Old Man Smithers, the Luna Ghost from the beginning of the movie, living up to his vow of revenge, this is why the Luna Ghost's shadow is so prominent on the posters, home releases, and promo materials.
The original script was more faithful to the series and acted as a prequel story, explaining how the gang came together; with the gang being in a college that had a newly instated 'No Dogs Allowed' rule that brought in a sadistic dogcatcher, forcing Shaggy to hide Scooby. Daphne would have been an aspiring reporter for the school's newspaper who was danger prone as she was in the series and is invited to attend and write about a part at the old Kingston Mansion (from the classic series episode 'What The Hex Going On?') on campus grounds but her roommate Velma comes with her due to a power outage and would meet Shaggy and Scooby, who were delivering pizzas, at the party. The party would have been broken up by the ghost that was rumored to haunt the place, but a series of events leads Scooby to knocking the ghost down and Velma unmasks him to be none other than Fred, who was doing it as a House Initiation Dare. The now five members of the gang would have been left in the mansion where the plot would take off and be attacked by the Ghost of Elias Kingston and they'd stumble into the film's mystery. There was also going to be a more serious romance arc between Daphne and Fred, who initially dislike each other but come to care deeply for one another, especially when Daphne discovered Fred is homeless and lives in what becomes the Mystery Machine. Other characters from the show such as Mr. Wickles ('What a Night for a Knight') and Old Hank ('Mine Your Own Business') would have appeared along with other Hanna-Barbera properties making cameos, such as Josie and the Pussycats appearing as a band at the party, an inanimate Speedbuggy in a parking lot, The Jetsons playing on TV, and William Hanna and Joseph Barbera themselves were also intended to make cameos at the end as the presidents of the university, praising Mystery Inc for saving the school. The original script and the final film don't have much in common, other than a darker and higher stakes story than the series with an end of the world scenario, a character arc with a love interest unintentionally coming between Shaggy and Scooby (though the original script had her as more of a goth/grunge girl who shared Shaggy's passion for food as opposed to the Mary Jane character in the final movie), and risque humor with jokes about the old rumors that Shaggy was a pothead, hinting Mr. Wickles was a transvestite, and Scooby would have called the dogcatcher an 'rasshole'.
The various Brothers Gibb were at times destined to have a much more illustrious film career....
In the late Sixties, a version of Hair was pitched, starring Barry as Berger and Maurice as Woof. Barry turned down the part as he refused to appear nude.
Andy Gibb was considered for the male lead in Xanadu, but turned down as his drug addiction was at an all-time high at this point.
Likewise, Andy was considered for the male lead in Grease 2, which ended up going to Maxwell Caulfield.
This has never been proven, but it seems logistical that Andy, whose career was at its peak at the time, would've been considered for the male lead in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band alongside his brothers.
Maurice Gibb recorded a score for low-budget B-movie The Supernaturals - coincidentally starring Maxwell Caulfield - which was replaced in most editions of the film. Ironically, reviewers bashed the replacement score (which Maurice had nothing to do with), claiming it to be annoying and unnecessary.
The 1986 version of Little Shop of Horrors was intended to be MUCH darker, not only including the infamous "Audrey and Seymour die and plants take over" ending, but featuring gorier shots such as Seymour feeding Orin's dismembered head to the plant and more of Seymour squeezing blood out of his finger, as well as a surreal dream sequence in the middle of "The Meek Shall Inherit" featuring a bleeding portrait of Mr. Mushnik. Only the "Don't Feed The Plants" ending has made it to an official release, though the other scrapped footage can be seen online thanks to the fairly recent discovery of an existing workprint.
The Predators 1996 script by Robert Rodriguez included the return of "Dutch" Schaefer, and featured several captured alien creatures being fought in an arena, soldiers colluding with the Predators, the appearance of over fifty Predators, and a Predator King.
Dooms IV, an "ecological superhero film" based on Rob Liefeld and Kurt Hathaway's short lived Image comic. The movie was supposed to take place after the comic, and was planned to be produced by Amblin Entertainment and directed by Steven Spielberg.
Movies based on Youngblood, to be directed by Brett Ratner, Bloodstrike, and Godyssey, based on an Avengelyne story, were announced, but updates became sparse after 2013.
The creators asked Susan Sarandon to appear nude during "Touch-A Touch-A Touch Me," and she refused. (Ironically, as she would appear nude in many films later on.)
As is well known, the singing lips replaced a rather dull sequence of sci-fi film clips meant to accompany "Science Fiction Double Feature."
The entire "Rocky Horror" franchise may have worked out differently, had Richard O'Brien's 1979 sequel "Rocky Horror Shows His Heels" been accepted by Fox and not mutilated into "The Brad and Janet Show" (which in turn became Shock Treatment). Oddly enough, the unmade 1994 sequel "Revenge of the Old Queen" was a direct sequel to this script rather than acknowledging any of Shock Treatment, which has led to quite a bit of confusion from fans who have read it.
Fan club founder Sal Piro once joked that if the terrible "Heels" script had seen production, the Rocky fan-base might not exist today. The relatively few fans who are aware of the contents of the script (which is kept under wraps for legal reasons) tend to agree with this sentiment.
No-budget Rocky fan film "Bedroom Scenes," which consists only of three individuals (Magenta, Columbia and an interviewer) conversing, was originally written as a much more involved film in which a character wakes up in Magenta and Columbia's bedroom, unaware of how he got there. He would then witness the events of RHPS unfold from 'behind the scenes,' culminating in his failure to prevent Columbia's murder.
Prior to becoming its own script, the character waking up in Magenta and Columbia's bedroom was originally a brief dream sequence in the script for an unmade indie flick titled "Hopelessly Devoted," which got as far as seeking music rights and location scouting before one of the lead actors passed away suddenly.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: Rapper Common was offered the role of Heavy Duty's cousin Roadblock, but film screenwriter, Stuart Beattie, chose Heavy Duty instead.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation was originally slated for release in 2012, but was held back a year to do some reshoots with Channing Tatum, expanding Duke's role in the film. Carrie Vaughn suggests this expansion must have come at the cost of other scenes (such as a possible reaction shot from the British Prime Minister when London was destroyed or any characterization for Flint at all) which had to be cut to stay at a 110-minute running time.
There were scenes in the script for The Dreamers depicting much more blatant sexual relations between the characters of Matthew and Theo, but they were not filmed. Director Bertolucci said, "The gay sex was in the first script, but I had a feeling that it was just too much stuff. It became redundant." Actor Pitt said in interview, "It was in the script and it's what I'd signed to do. But they said we weren't going to do that."
In the mid 1990's, Ted Turner was planning to get a Gilligan's Island movie produced with Adam Sandler as Gilligan and Chris Farley as The Skipper. Though the idea never got passed the development stage, you can't help but imagine what the end result would have been with Sandler and Farley's on-screen chemistry.
The entire career of George Lucas might not have happened. In high school, he had aspirations of being a race car driver and did amateur races. Just before graduation, he was involved in a serious crash that destroyed his car. (Ironically, he survived because he was thrown from the wreck due to his seat belt failing.) After the crash, he decided to make movies instead. Interesting because there are two other possible outcomes: he might have become a race car driver or he could have died. Lucas had also planned to become a pilot and filled out an application to join the Air Force. When he took his physical, he found out that he was diabetic and was turned down.
An early treatment for the film (which was leaked in 2009) was much closer to the book, and had Brad Pitt's character (Gerry Lane) interviewing survivors after the outbreak.
Ed Harris and Bryan Cranston were originally intended to star in the film, but scheduling issues kept them from participating.
The last forty minutes of the movie were reshot when it became clear that there were much deeper plot issues than the filmmakers originally thought. Everything from the point where Gerry boards the plane leaving Israel is completely different. In the original version, the plane not only doesn't crash, but lands safely in Moscow. The passengers are rounded up by the military and are conscripted to fight the infected, and Gerry's phone is taken away. There's a Time Skip showing that he's formed an anti-infected unit that is utilizing the cold weather to take out as many of them as possible, and he later saves Segan from a Russian soldier who tries to rape her. He then gets his phone back and calls his wife, only to discover that she's selling her body to keep their kids safe in a refugee camp. The end of the movie had Gerry, Segan and a British soldier named Simon boarding a boat and traveling to the U.S. to rescue Gerry's family.
Matthew Fox (who appears in one scene of the film as the paratrooper who saves Gerry during the rooftop escape) originally had a much larger role as the man Kirin is prostituting herself to in the refugee camp in exchange for safety. He would have appeared in the original ending (and was likely planned for a sequel), but most of his scenes were cut.
The film originally had a more breakneck pace, with very little time focusing on character relationships. Several scenes (including Gerry and his family having breakfast, and a phone call Gerry makes to Kirin) were added to the film during the reshoots.
Blomkamp originally wanted Eminem for the lead but the latter dropped out after they couldn't film in Detroit.
Kruger was originally going to be an android, then he was changed to a human who would be turned into a cyborg after getting horribly injured, until they finally settled for having him be a regular human with a powered exoskeleton.
The original process for attaching the exoskeleton would have been far more graphic, requiring removing the subject's internal organs and replacing them with mechanical parts, and cutting off the top of the subject's skull in order to plug the control systems directly into the brain. This was likely dropped because it would pretty much eliminate Max's entire reason to want to go to Elysium.
At the 2009 D23 Expo, Robin Williams announced that he would star in a Disney comedy called Wedding Banned, which would have been about a divorced couple who kidnap their daughter from her own wedding so she wouldn't make the same mistakes they did. It ended up being cancelled after the failure of Old Dogs.
Quentin Tarantino was at one point interested in making a movie about Vic Vega aka Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs and Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction whom he revealed were brothers, it was to be titled "The Brothers V", the project was cancelled after Michael Madsen and John Travolta had aged to the point where they no longer looked like they did in their respective films.
The Lone Ranger was originally supposed to have a plot focusing more on supernatural elements and Native American mysticism, in keeping with the idea of Tonto being the big player. This mainly would've taken the form of werewolves, which would've explained the whole "silver bullet" thing. However, this draft was supposedly part of the initial $250 million proposal that Disney quickly shit-canned after John Carter underperformed; when the project was revamped to meet Disney's approval, it came more in line with the current script.
Scottish director Lynne Ramsay was originally set to direct the film version of The Lovely Bones, and had written a script in which all the scenes of Susie in heaven are clearly shown as being in her grieving father's imagination, and where he has befriended Mr. Harvey, never suspecting him of Susie's murder.
Bean would have ended with Mr. Bean returning to the National Gallery, only to find it abandoned, so he ends up mailing himself back to the Leary family (In truth, the staff of the Gallery staged the whole thing to drive Bean away).
The rights to the remake of the 1976 movie Sparkle were bought by Whitney Houston's production company in the 1990s, and Aaliyah was intended to play the title character, however, she passed away in 2001 before the movie started production. In 2005 Raven-Symoné was also in talks to star in the movie, which was finally released in 2012 with Jordin Sparks as the lead.
Chris Pratt initially turned down the role of Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy because he felt like he was too fat for the lead role. He eventually ended up losing over 60 pounds to take the role. Pratt also auditioned for the role of Jake Sully in Avatar (the role which went to Sam Worthington) and Kirk in Star Trek (2009) (the role that went to Chris Pine). This may be somewhat of a subversion since Chris Pratt didn't think he would get either of those roles anyway, also mentioning a G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra audition that he labeled as "embarrassing".
Otto Preminger liked to have several film projects going at once, and he never got around to filming many of them:
In 1954, Preminger traveled to India, and then began work on The Wheel, a Hindu drama in which Mahatma Gandhi was to "play a symbolic role."
Preminger acquired the film rights to Alexander Fedoroff's novel The Side of the Angels, and had Elmer Bernstein compose a Title Theme Tune that could have been used to promote it. Nothing more came of this project.
Bruce Almighty: The original script contains a lot more scenes that didn't make it into the final movie. These include: Bruce answering lots of prayers individually (including God showing him the consequences), Grace's breasts growing twice more (and going back to normal after a prayer), Bruce "pleasuring" Susan right before they go on air, a lot more stories covered during the "A Little less Conversation" montage, people confessing their sins to Bruce, and an entire new character called "Bobby", who works at Channel 7, and is damned by Bruce, causing him to become possessed by a demon.
Director Russell Mulcahy, planning on a transition from music videos to films, fully intended to helm a film adaptation of the William S. Burroughs novel The Wild Boys with Duran Duran doing the musical score for the film. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you're not a fan of Mulchay or DD) the project never got off the ground, leaving only one song, which happened to be one of the best-selling singles of Duran's career ("Wild Boys"). Later on Mulcahy got to collaborate with another band on a film project that actually succeeded, Highlander, with the music provided by Queen.
There was an alternate ending to Titanic where, when Rose goes to drop the Heart back into the ocean, her daughter and the scientists race out to stop her, thinking she's going to jump again. She reveals that she had the Heart the entire time and that she had thought of selling it for years, only to think about Cal and that she didn't need money to be happy. It also reveals the main reason she joined them was so that she could finally send the Heart back to the Titanic. The lead scientist convinces her to let him hold it for awhile, though she warns him that he's looking for treasure in all of the wrong places. When he finally allows her to take it back, then she throws it into the ocean, which highly pisses off one of the other scientists. The lead scientist, though, finally understands and starts laughing before asking Rose's daughter if she wanted to dance.
Minority Report started out in the hands of Carolco Pictures who intended it to be a direct sequel to Total Recall (1990). Apparently the movie would have been set on a terraformed Mars, where mutants with psychic powers were abducted and used to power the Pre-Crime system. They even intended to bring Arnold Schwarzenegger back to play Quaid as the main character. They apparently even had a script written, but then Carlco went out of business and the rights went to 20th Century Fox. It stayed in Development Hell with them for years until Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise came on board. Spielberg rewrote the script from scratch, turning it into a standalone movie.
The original script for Red State had the horns sounding during the climax be the signal for the literal Apocalypse, with the Five Pointers and the ATF agents (save John Goodman) all being killed by angels as the Four Horsemen appear on the horizon. They didn't have the budget to pull that off, so the ending was changed to the surviving Five Pointers arrested and Goodman's ATF agent being debriefed. The horns were handwaved as a prank by the compound's neighbors.
In Dracula Untold, the Master Vampire was never revealed as the Roman Emperor Caligula as originally intended, nor was Charlie Cox who was cast as a young Caligula even in the final cut. Samantha Barks was cast as the Baba Yaga, but also doesn't appear.
Michael Chabon pitched short movie treatments for the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. The Fantastic Four was to be set in an Alternate History which, tonally, "was forever November 21st, 1963" and, plot-wise, was to involve Doctor Doom travelling back in time to assassinate a key world figure in order to remake the world into a grim dystopia that was pretty much the real world. Soviet agents were also going to be involved somehow.
Wes Craven had written a script for a film adaptation of Flowers in the Attic back in the '80s, but it was rejected. While mostly faithful to the book, there were a few changes:
The Dollangangers were renamed to the 'Chapmans' for unknown reasons.
It was much more violent (And occasionally less serious) than the novel, including Chris being attacked by a wolfhound belonging to the Grandmother's watchman Doberman, and Cathy being tied up and left in a bath tub full of scolding hot water.
The script had a bigger focus on Chris than in the book, sharing the role of main character with Cathy.
Unlike the eventual film adaptation, the Brother–Sister Incest between Cathy and Chris was kept. In addition, Chris did not end up raping Cathy.
The climax was also changed. Like the 1987 adaptation, it takes place during Corine's wedding. The remaining children had to deal with Doberman while getting out of Foxworth Hall, and then revealing themselves as Corine's children right in front of the wedding guests and Corine's fiance. At the end, Doberman would have fallen from the roof and fell on top of the Grandmother, killing her.
Colin Firth was originally cast as the voice of Paddington. However both he and the producers came to the mutual conclusion that his voice wasn't the right fit for the character, and he ended up being replaced by Ben Whishaw instead. This was somewhat awkward as there had already been posters printed out and distributed with Colin's name on them, but there were no trailers featuring Colin's voice. However most critics agree that Ben's softer voice was more suited for Paddington than Colin's more regal voice.
A similar incident occurred with Al Pacino with Despicable Me 2, who was going to voice the Big Bad. Pacino had creative differences with the filmmakers and eventually dropped out, but the movie was so far into post-production that it was too late to replace Pacino's name that was prominently shown in all the trailers. Benjamin Bratt came in and did the role just a mere month before release, so close that his role wasn't advertised at all.
During the earliest stages of development for Annie (2014), Willow Smith was in talks to play Annie, with her father in the Warbucks/Stacks role. But it was later decided that Willow was too old for the role. Quvenzhane Wallis (fresh from her Oscar-nominated role in Beasts of the Southern Wild) stepped in to play Annie, and Jamie Foxx auditioned for Stacks, a role which he eventually got when Will Smith decided not to act in the film (he's still credited as a producer - after all, the film is associated with Overbrook Entertainment).
Phase IV was to have had an impressionistic epilogue, storyboards for which were captioned "Man Controlled (Paradise Lost)," "Transformation," "Rebirth" and "Man at One with Nature (Paradise Regained)." This sequence had to be abandoned due to lack of funding.
According to emails leaked in the Sony hack, a scene in Pixels where video game characters destroy the Great Wall of China was cut from the final product because the executives felt it would lead to Chinese backlash.
David Lean spent most of the '70s trying to get his two-part Mutiny on the Bounty remake off the ground. He scouted locations in Tahiti, built a replica ship and commissioned Robert Bolt to write the screenplay. The main problem? Money. At various points Dino De Laurentiis, Joseph E. Levine and even Lean's old sparring mate Sam Spiegel were tapped to produce. But Lean's refusal to rein in the budget or scale back the script scared all of them away from the project. (That Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate was concurrently being made didn't help either.) Robert Bolt's stroke in 1979 finally convinced Lean to abandon the project. Eventually the project morphed into The Bounty (1984), directed by Roger Donaldson and starring Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins. Though based off Bolt's screenplay, this film was much smaller in both scope and budget than what Lean originally envisioned.
German director Oliver Hirschbiegel was considered to direct after the film's original director left by order of Wesley Snipes. By that time, he had signed a contract with Constantin Film to direct Downfall, which stated he could not move on to other ventures during production of the film. Hirschbiegel decided not to bail from Downfall after legal action was threatened against him. This ultimately paid off for Hirschbiegel in the end. Downfall was universally-acclaimed and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, while Blade: Trinity was critically panned, flopped at the box office and was the indirect Franchise Killer for the Blade Trilogy.
Rachel van Helsing from the comics was originally going to be one of the three leads, but she was replaced with an Expy named Abigail Whistler in order to avoid inviting comparisons with the Van Helsing movie.
The plot for the movie was originally going to be an After the End story featuring Blade protecting the last remnants of humanity after vampires have taken over the world. The studio vetoed the idea because they thought it would be too bleak and expensive.
There was a brief idea to have Ansel Elgort play Gus Margo's security guard friend as a nod to his role in The Fault in Our Stars, but was thought it would be too confusing instead he plays Mason the gas station clerk.
At the end of the film, the director came up with what could have been quite a Crowning Moment of Awesome as Ana stops Christian from following her into the elevator just by saying their safeword "Red." Sadly, E.L. James refused to let them do it.
Word of God (i.e.: Adrian Cronauer) says Good Morning, Vietnam was originally pitched as a TV series, an Armed Forces version of WKRP in Cincinnati, but couldn't generate any interest. He retooled the series idea into a made for TV movie and couldn't sell that, either. Even though one of the top shows at the time was M*A*S*H, Cronauer was repeatedly told that war isn't funny. Then a copy of the movie screenplay got the attention of Robin Williams.
Promotional images for a court scene in The Children's Hour exist however the scene was deleted for the final product.
Miles Teller auditioned for the role of Four, but producers thought he was a better fit for Eric. He turned it down, feeling he couldn't be intimidating against Theo James. Shailene Woodley personally persuaded him to take the role of Peter instead.
A love scene was filmed between Tris and Four, but cut to preserve the PG-13 rating.
Similarly Edward being stabbed in the eye was also filmed, but cut to avoid an R rating. Word of God also says that it interrupted the flow of the scene anyway.
Kate Winslet wanted to return for The Divergent Series: Allegiant and let the filmmakers know she was available to cameo. They ultimately decided against it.
Neil Burger was to direct all the movies. But, overwhelmed by post production commitments to Divergent, he backed out of The Divergent Series: Insurgent (which was greenlit hurriedly after high advance ticket sales).
Catherine Hardwicke was originally set to direct until Wes Ball came on board. Ball had been looking to direct a feature-length version of a short film he had made called Ruin. As the tone was so similar to The Maze Runner, he was asked to direct the film adaptation.
Dylan O'Brien almost didn't get the role of Thomas. Wes Ball rejected him after seeing photos from Teen Wolf, dismissing him as a Pretty Boy. However he saw a photo of Dylan with his head shaved from another film and was persuaded to meet with him. The two frequently joke about Dylan's "MTV hair" preventing him from getting the part.
The ending to the Part 1 was meant to be the opening of Part 2. The original ending was to be when Boggs knocks Peeta out and the movie fades to black. It was felt that was too big of a cliff hanger.
Part 1 was going to open with a scene where Peeta would tell President Snow that he doesn't support the rebellion or Katniss's role in it (not knowing about the atrocities committed by Snow yet).
Mind Ripper started life as a sequel to The Hills Have Eyes (1977), with the plot being that Pluto (a recurring cannibal from two previous installments) was being exploited by the army in the desert base which the film takes place in. Despite the end product abandoning the connection, the film is still called The Hills Have Eyes 3 in some areas.
The scenes in Amsterdam were intended to be shot on location. However, filmmakers were intimidated by the poor October weather - and also denied permission to film inside the Anne Frank House. As a result, a replica was built, and Pennsylvania doubled for Amsterdam.
A scene was filmed featuring an argument between Gus and his mother right before the trip to Amsterdam, that also features in the book. It would have acted as Foreshadowing that Gus's cancer has come back.
Bruce Lee was originally going to star in a live-action movie update of Charlie Chan titled "Number One Son", playing the role of Chan's first-born son, who would have been portrayed as a Chinese James Bond. The idea was scrapped when the Batman TV show became popular and The Green Hornet TV show was created (in which Lee played the role of Kato).
George Clooneywas considered for the role ofNick Fury right around the time Fury (Max) dealing with its version of the character—and said mini killed the deal as Clooney was disgusted by some of the stuff in it, including a scene of Fury strangling the main villain with his own intestines, and bowed out of the project.
The part that Kurt Russell played in the 1988 crime thriller Tequila Sunrise was originally written for and offered to Los Angeles Lakers head coach Pat Riley. Seriously. Riley had no regrets about turning down the part, saying about Russell, "He plays me better than I can play me."
The movie Dredd was meant to have Judge Death in it, but Fox turned it down, wanting to have something simple instead of dealing with a creature like him.
There was originally to be a duet in the first High School Musical that was basically a song fight between Ms. Drabus and Coach Bolton. Ms. Darbus was played by Alyson Reed, a former Broadway actress, and this cut meant that she didn't get to sing a note in any of the three movies.
In the original ending for Se7en, John Doe holds Mills hostage before shooting and killing him, then Somerset tortures doe by shooting him in the arms and legs before burning him alive.
In Natural Born Killers, Mickey and Mallory were originally going to be killed by the same serial killer that helped them escape the prison.
Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights was originally going to be a stirring and gritty war drama about the Cuban Revolution, focusing on a fifteen year old American girl in Cuba and the difficulties of the revolution being led by the youth (virtually all the revolutionaries being under 30).
The original opening scene was supposed be set during WWII with an army battling on the beaches of Skull Island before stumbling upon a big ape who looked very much like the original King Kong and shooting him, before the King Kong from this movie would show up, alive and bigger than the original giant ape. While the film kept the WWII setting for the opening scene, it was changed to Marlow and Gunpei fighting only to be interrupted by Kong.
Tina Fey's original script for Mean Girls was intended as an R-rated film, due to Fey wanting to write a truthful high school experience. Several lines were rewritten or cut altogether in the final film:
The boy who comes up to Cady and asks "Is your muffin buttered?" originally asked "Is your cherry popped?". According to Fey, the MPAA was more comfortable with the former since it was made-up.
The part in the Burn Book about Amber D'Alessio making out with a hot dog was originally that she masturbated with a hot dog. If one looks closely during the "Made out with a hot dog? Oh my god, that was one time!" line, you can see the line was dubbed and that the actress' lips still read "masturbated."
A subplot about a student who takes ecstasy named Barry was cut entirely.
Cloud Atlas: Quite a few things, both book and movie, according to this piece by Slashfilm.
The book was supposed to have 9 stories, starting all the way back in the 12 century.
Dr. Ovid was supposed to be played by Tom Hanks.
Ben Whishaw was supposed to appear as a business man in Sonmi's story.
James D'Arcy had a bigger role in Cavendish's tale before it got cut down.