Home Films Forget Batgirl, where is Superman Lives? The Inside Stories of Hollywood’s Greatest Abandoned Movies | Film industry

Forget Batgirl, where is Superman Lives? The Inside Stories of Hollywood’s Greatest Abandoned Movies | Film industry


OArner Bros.’ previously announced Batgirl movie is the latest big-budget project that will never see the light of day, though it’s in post-production and filming has already wrapped. Hollywood is brutal – for every movie released, there are many more that never make it to the big screen. These are projects that studios invest millions in – only to be rejected at the script stage, trapped in that infamous “development hell,” or even shut down mid-production. Part of the appeal of abandoned movies is that we can build them up in our heads to be whatever we want them to be. But perhaps the most interesting element of these ghost movies is how many continue to haunt cinema: affecting the choices actors and directors make, changing the types of stories funded, and even, in some cases, weaken long-established studios. . Here, experts reveal the secrets of three films with surprising legacies – even if they were never made…


Brian Michael Bendis is an award-winning comic book artist. He is the co-author (with Marc Andreiko) of Torso, a 1990s graphic novel based on the true story of Cleveland Murderer Torso and agent “Untouchables” Eliot Nessefforts to capture it. Film versions of David Fincher and Paul GreenGrass were not made.

Torso had all the elements of something Hollywood would love: it was real and it was kind of a sequel to a hit movie, The Untouchables: Brian De Palma’s 1987 film following Ness in her pursuit of Al Capon.

Marc and I wrote a draft and released it and it was almost a comedy of errors. A very famous producer argued with us about whether Eliot Ness was a real person or not. And then, all of a sudden, David Fincher was tied up. He’s one of my heroes. It positioned itself as a kind of trilogy with Seven and Zodiac.

It was going to be black and white, Matt Damon was going to be Ness. I don’t know who was officially chosen, but all these names came to mind: John Malkovich, Casey Affleck, Rachel McAdams. It was lit green and then something happened where it just disappeared. And I was like, “Well, I met David Fincher, that was pretty cool.” But in my heart, I was like, “No, I really wanted to see this movie.”

Not now playing… Leslie Grace as Batgirl in the canceled DC movie. Photography: DC Films

Then, a few years later, Paul Greengrass got attached to it, and I was even more excited. I think I knew what the Fincher movie was going to be like, but Greengrass — I was like, “What’s it going to be?” I was intrigued. But then it disappeared.

I mean: never feel bad for someone who has an option. Someone gives you money to sit down and be quiet. There isn’t a person on the planet who doesn’t have their plans that haven’t been done yet, things that they really want. Maybe now is not the time, not the time. It’s not personal. And Torso is a perfect example of that – I’ve had a lifetime of really cool interactions and experiences because I don’t have the movie yet.

I did the actual Fortune and Glory graphic novel based on my experiences in Hollywood, and it ended up being my biggest book trade. It’s the thing people identified with the most, because even though they weren’t in Hollywood, they knew what it was like to go there: “That meeting sucked.”

A few years ago I was introduced to director Corin Hardy, and Torso is now being developed as a TV series. The saga continues.

superman lives

Holly Payne is a director, producer and screenwriter. She produced Superman death livesa 2015 documentary written and directed by her late husband Jon Schneppexamining the 1996-98 production of Tim Burton’s adaptation of Supermanwho would have played Nicholas Cage.

During the time Superman Lives was in pre-production, it was a huge effort and a big risk. This would have been a sea change for Superman. Nicolas Cage was at the height of his career, but he was a wild card. He didn’t necessarily have the rugged look of Christopher Reeve, but he brought an alien to it. And that’s what Tim was striving for.

The movie would have changed the playing field for superhero movies. There’s a lot of optimism in Tim Burton’s films, so there was more hope and levity, but still with the Burton aesthetic. It wouldn’t have been dark in color like Batman, but it would have been weird.

Jon Peters [the Burton film’s controversial producer and erstwhile boyfriend of Barbra Streisand] looked at the George Lucas model. He wanted to build a world and didn’t think about the character of Superman who is loved by so many people. The thing we were asked the most about after the documentary was released was, “Is Jon Peters crazy?” Yes, he kind of is, but we figured out where he came from. His vision and Burton’s vision didn’t connect. And I think it had a lot to do with ego. I like that our interview had a bit to do with Paul Thomas Anderson’s portrayal of Jon Peters in Licorice Pizza [where he was memorably portrayed by Bradley Cooper]because some of the things we talked to Peters about came up in that movie.

Really, the film’s ultimate death knell was budget constraints. But it was also the casting, and the fight between Peters and Burton. The irony is that the money they didn’t put into Superman Lives, they put into [the much-mocked Will Smith action film] Wild Wild West…and then it bombed.

Our motivation for making the documentary was to shine a light on the creatives who put all their inspiration, hard work and ideas into a film that never saw the light of day. Many people who worked on the film came to the premiere and told us firsthand, “It’s amazing. You made me feel like it could have been something and I’m not ashamed to have been a part of it.

The girl in the pink pantyhose

Dr Lucy Bolton is Reader in Film Studies at Queen Mary University of Londonand helped the British Film Institute course Marilyn Monroe events. The girl in the pink tights was a 1954 musical which Monroe refused.

The Girl in Pink Tights was a Broadway musical — and exactly the type of role Monroe was sick of. The studio had discovered that she was good at musicals — and she had brilliant comedic timing — but those characters were always dumb blondes, and she thought that reflected how she was treated by the studios. She had a rocky relationship with producer and studio head Darryl Zanuck, who, despite making millions from her, did not respect her. She had to fight with him to be taken seriously.

Breaking up with the studio was definitely a risk, personally and professionally. Monroe always leaned on the people around her, and when the studio renegotiated for more money and more control, her husband Joe DiMaggio in particular thought she should just do the movie. But she still held on because she was so determined not to. Vulnerability is an integral part of her popular cultural image, but in terms of business and knowing her worth, she was cunning, strong, and determined.

Rather than stay home and wait for the contract battle to be resolved, she went out and performed like the global star she was, for example, entertaining the troops in Korea on her honeymoon. Zanuck completely underestimated the public’s love for Monroe.

There had always been actors working independently, until Carole Lombard in the 1930s, but it was a high-profile battle and it was part of what reduced the power of the big studio bosses. 20th Century Fox took her over with a better contract, but she also created her own production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions. And, even though it only made one movie, The Prince and the Showgirl, it’s a tremendous performance and she’s amazing in it.

It’s hard to know if there would have been anything particularly toxic or wonderful about The Girl in Pink Tights. But it caused Monroe to break away from the studio and truly assert her independence. And I think the impact of that is immense, because she negotiated to star in The Seven Year Itch, which defined her image. And along with other movies she did later (although some were musicals) such as Bus Stop or Some Like It Hot – weren’t just dumb blonde movies. There is more to these roles. And she did it herself.