It was the go-to motion-picture medium for the first half of the 20th century, but after nitrate film stock was discontinued by Kodak in 1952, nitrate prints of many classic movies were given a lonesome life locked away in vaults. That’s in part because nitrate film is very similar to guncotton, so flammable that it burns even underwater — haphazard handling can lead to disastrous effects when you’re talking about film moving through a projector at 24 frames per second, inches away from a red-hot 6,000-watt bulb.
“It’s a lot of work,” said Jared Case, curator of film exhibitions at the George Eastman Museum based in Rochester, New York. “It’s a museum artifact that needs a tool in order to be seen. You have to maintain the projectors. You have to make sure that they are clean and that they’re running properly. Our chief projectionist is so careful about the safety of his coworkers that he’s careful about when he inspects to make sure there’s so rough edges. Everything’s got to run through smooth, the splices are secure, they’re not going to come apart in the projector and sit there in front of the lights. Everything takes a little bit more time.”
But for Case, that time and care is more than worth it: Like other kinds, nitrate prints have a finite life that, in the most ideal circumstances is measured in hundreds of years — he believes they must be shown before inevitable deterioration renders them un-screenable.
On Saturday, he shared one of the Eastman Museum’s nitrate prints with a sold-out audience of 600 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood: Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rebecca,” which in 1940 earned Best Picture for producer David O. Selznick. It was part of a weekend series of nitrate films presented by the museum, the Library of Congress, the Academy Film Archive, and the UCLA Film & Television Archive at one of only four locations in the country equipped to project nitrate.
“This is what their life is supposed to be — not sitting away somewhere,” Case said. “This is what their destiny has been.”
Decomposing nitrate film.
The film, starring Laurence Olivier as a brooding and mysterious widower and Joan Fontaine as his second wife who copes with living in the shadow of the late Rebecca, was introduced by Christopher Nolan. The “Inception” and “Memento” director reminisced on his experience seeing “Casablanca” on nitrate after viewing it for years on other mediums.
“It was just a transformative experience — a film I love and got to experience in a very different way,” Nolan said. “These screenings are all about seeing a work the way a filmmaker originally intended to show it.”
For Case, the difference between acetate or polyester “safety film” and nitrate is the depth it offers: Westerns offer vistas that invite the viewer to reach out and touch something all the way in the background. Case’s entry point into nitrate love comes from his fandom of film noir which, like “Rebecca,” shine with the silver-heavy processing.
“There’s no better way to see film noir than on a black-and-white nitrate print, with all that silver in the emulsion and those stark shadows and the clean lines between light and dark and the gradations of gray, that really represents sort of the in-between nature of these protagonists,” he said.
In “Rebecca,” the silver crystals in the emulsion make Fontaine’s tears glimmer as the light reflects off the screen. Beams of light are brilliantly luminous and blacks are rich.
While “Rebecca” rarely appears at the top of critics’ list of best Hitchcock films despite its acclaim, Nolan postulated a nitrate viewing would further highlight the unquestionable artistry and craftsmanship that went into the British Hitchcock’s first American film. “Seeing it the way the audience would have seen it, I think, is a really, really exciting opportunity,” he said.
And a rare one too. Two other American venues equipped for nitrate screenings are in California, the James Bridges Theater at UCLA and the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto. The only other is in New York, at the Eastman Museum.
The American Cinematheque’s Egyptian got the capability three years ago thanks to a collaboration with Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and Turner Classic Movies. The projection booth at the Egyptian’s largest theater needed a fireproof retrofit in order to be suitable — everything is enclosed, including the booth which is equipped with a giant steel door. Fire chambers surround the the feed and take-up reels, and several fire extinguishers are built into the projector. The reels are stored in a separate fireproof room.
Despite the deadly difference between nitrate and safety prints, the Cinematheque’s chief projectionist Ben Tucker says he takes his detail-oriented work just as seriously no matter what kind of film he’s projecting. “Any time you’re projecting film at this point in 2019 it’s a rare object,” he said.
For “Rebecca,” Tucker and his colleague manned the booth to perfectly exhibit the film’s 14 reels, each of which is between seven and 10 minutes long. “You’ve got to watch the projector carefully because it’s nitrate and because it’s such a special print and you’ve got to keep your eye on the screen because that’s what the audience is looking at,” said Tucker, contributor to the recent book “The Art of Film Projection: A Beginner’s Guide.” “Make sure it stays in focus and framed up. You’re threading every seven, eight, nine minutes and winding the print too.”
The print is one of a quarter-million objects in the Eastman Museum’s collection. “Rebecca” was given to the museum by Daniel Selznick from his father David O. Selznick’s collection, Case said.
The museum tests nitrate prints regularly for shrinkage — even just a 1% change in the length or of a print make them un-screenable — as well as for various stages of decomposition. The “Rebecca” print is in very good shape, Case said.
Deborah Stoiber looks for a movie inside the nitrate film vault at the George Eastman Museum’s Louis B. Mayer Conservation Center.
However, others such as the museum’s print of “The Red Shoes,” are not. But that doesn’t mean all is lost.
“Martin Scorsese also has a print of ‘The Red Shoes’ on nitrate deposited with us. And what we did last year was, we sort of put reels together because he had a reel that was very damaged on the side in the middle, so we couldn’t use that. So we used most of our own print and then the last two reels of Scorsese’s print and it made this perfect show — Frankensteining these things together,” he said.
Prints from the Eastman Museum and collections from around the world are screened at the museum’s Nitrate Picture Show, which returns to Rochester for its sixth year in June, where everything from shorts to avant-garde films to itinerant filmmakers’ work and travelogues are screened to an audience that comes from all corners of the globe to enjoy the pictures they way they were meant to be seen.
No, Sandra Bullock won’t be starring in a remake of Clint Eastwood’s 1992 Oscar-winning revisionist western.
But the Ocean’s 8 star will be headlining an Unforgiven of her own, this one a remake of the British miniseries of the same name. Bullock is set to lead the film version, which will be written by The Usual Suspects and Mission: Impossible – Fallout scribe Christopher McQuarrie, and she’ll play “a woman released from prison on license after serving 15 years for the murder of two policemen.” Learn more below.
Deadline reports that after years of trying, producer Graham King Bohemian Rhapsody, The Departed is finally getting his film version of Unforgiven off the ground because the project has found a home at Netflix. This will mark Sandra Bullock’s second feature film in a row for the streamer, following last year’s successful horror film Bird Box. McQuarrie is writing the screenplay, which sounds like it may be complete already; he’s likely incredibly busy working on multiple Mission: Impossible films in a row, and he’s been attached to this project for almost a decade, back when Angelina Jolie was in talks to star in it.
This one is near and dear to my heart. I’m honored to know it’s in such good hands.
Fun fact: The first draft was written in 2010. #KeepWritinghttps://t.co/bazwRjV4nU
— Christopher McQuarrie @chrismcquarrie November 4, 2019
The film will be directed by Nora Fingscheidt, an up-and-coming German director whose debut movie, System Crasher, is currently her country’s entry for the upcoming Academy Awards.
Here’s a synopsis of the British miniseries:
Ruth has spent half of her life imprisoned, and now faces the daunting prospect of rebuilding her life whilst being irresistibly drawn to the place that haunts her, Upper Hanging Stones Farm. In spite of trying to focus on the future and her new boyfriend Brad, Ruth is unable to forget her past and the sister, Katie, who she was forced to leave behind. Outraged to hear that the woman who killed their father has been released, Kieran and Steve Whelan are eager to seek revenge. Believing that life should mean life, the two brothers decide to take the law into their own hands. But just how far are they capable of going? Can they really do to her what she did to their father?
This could be the type of immersive, transformative role that gets Bullock back in the good graces of Oscar voters, but I’m most excited about the potential to simply see another great Sandra Bullock performance. She hasn’t starred in a great or even good movie since 2013’s Gravity, and I’d love to love a new Sandra Bullock movie again.
There is always debate when ranking Marvel films, but most agree on one thing: Thor: The Dark World is near the bottom. The actor behind the film's villain Malekith, Christopher Eccleston, has never been shy to voice his agreement. It seems he's continued to be a fan of the franchise, however, and had great things to say about the new creative team behind Thor: Love and Thunder.
When asked about his experience on Thor: The Dark World at New York Comic Con, Eccleston reiterated his earlier statements about having to be "in make-up for six, seven hours every day," which was something they did not tell him would be required up front. In fact, the Doctor Who actor is unrecognizable in his Malekith get-up, so Marvel really missed their opportunity to show off their prolific star. Something we'd love to see them remedy somewhere in their extensive slate. He had plenty of praise for his co-stars Chris Hemsworth and Anthony Hopkins and is also aware of the climate of comic book films these days, saying.
"I understand that some people love that particular film, and some of you actually like Malekith the naughty elf, so that's only my experience within it. But I know that people love the film and I accept that and I'm careful about it. I'm so diplomatic these days!"
Christopher Eccleston did briefly discuss his reservations about the film's tone, though. He said, "There was a lack of humor in the film, I felt... so shall we move on?" So, it's no surprise that he thought the third Thor-centric film, Thor: Ragnarok was "brilliantly written" by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle and Christopher L Yost.
Under the direction of Taika Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok took a hard left tonally and character-wise for the franchise, catapulting the Asgardian from the myth-based Shakespeare-in-the-park guy to the hilarious and complex hero we see in Avengers: Endgame. Eccleston noticed this shift and said he would consider teaming up with Marvel again under similar circumstances.
"If it was the guy[s] who wrote the third... I'll do that."
Although Malekith has gone down as one of the more forgettable villains, it didn't slow down Eccleston at all. He returned to television for a slew of projects including Safe House, The Leftovers and The A Word. He can most recently be seen in a handful of films like Where Hands Touch, Dead in a Week Or Your Money Back and the latest TV movie iteration of King Lear.
Related: Marvel Phase 4 D23 Trailer Teases Future of the MCU
While his fellow original Avengers retired their suits, Hemsworth will be returning as Thor Odinson in Thor: Love and Thunder alongside Tessa Thompson Valkyrie and director Waititi. Natalie Portman Jane Foster is making her return to the franchise to pick up the hammer as Mighty Thor, as is Kat Dennings as her babbling best friend. So, Marvel, we wouldn't be mad if you could squeeze in an Eccleston too. This news comes to us from NYCC via Radio Times.
This weekend brings Joaquin Phoenix’s twisted, unsettling take on Batman’s arch nemesis in Joker. So there’s no better time to take a look back at the big screen origins of The Dark Knight and all of his most famous villains in the equally twisted Batman: The Movie.
This isn’t your father’s Batman. Well, actually, this is your father’s Batman, which might explain why the generation of parents who grew up with this version of The Caped Crusader were so much less concerned with violence on television and just more laissez-faire about everything in general. Back then it seemed like the only real threats came from sharks that needed to be repelled, big cartoon bombs, and disintegration machines. Watch the Batman: The Movie Honest Trailer below for more.
Batman: The Movie Honest Trailer
Holy contrived catchphrase, Batman! Seriously, were writers so obsessed with catchphrases back in the day that it just didn’t matter if it made sense or not? At least Steve Urkel had to break something before saying “Did I do that?” But in Batman: The Movie and the entirety of the 1966 TV series that came before it, Robin just spouts off “Holy _____ ” whenever he feels like it. And most of the time, it’s just lazy. There’s not even wordplay that comes with it most of the time.
Yes, we know this take on Batman was always meant to be campy, but it also kept anyone from taking comic books seriously for a long time. So while Adam West became a legend as this swinging, sexy yet laughable Batman who speaks like Christopher Walken had a baby with Jeff Goldblm, we can’t help but roll our eyes in the general direction of this movie. But that won’t keep us from laughing at it after all these years. Thanks for the laughs, Batsy.
Christopher Nolan has made iconic comic book movies and many of Hollywood's most daring original movies, but what if his most prized script never got to see the big screen? Such is the case with Nolan's Howard Hughes biopic, one of countless unmade movies that became a thing of legend over the years. Most major auteurs have at least one passion project that never got made during their career, if not a handful of projects. In the cases of directors like Ridley Scott and Guillermo del Toro there are too many unrealized projects to count, while in other cases a project goes unmade with one director only to be resurrected with another.
The history of unmade movies is expansive Kubrick's “Napoleon,” for instance, but in taking a look at some of the most epic unmade films developed by today's best working directors one gets a sense that there could be a masterpiece or two waiting in the wings especially with Spike Jonze's “Harold and the Purple Crayon”. Check out some of IndieWire's most desired unmade movies in the list below.
Christopher Nolan's Howard Hughes Biopic
Nolan began writing a biographical drama about the billionaire tycoon and filmmaker Howard Hughes shortly after he made his major 2002 Hollywood studio debut with the Warner Bros. thriller “Insomnia.” The “Dunkirk” Oscar nominee told The Daily Beast in 2007 that the script for his Hughes biopic was the best thing he'd written, and pre-production got far enough along that Jim Carrey circled the role of Hughes Nolan said Hughes was the role the comedian was “born to play.” The project died once Martin Scorsese's “The Aviator” got ahead of Nolan in the production cycle. Scorsese cast Leonardo DiCaprio as Hughes and Nolan did not want to make a competing biopic on the same subject. The director dropped his Hughes biopic and decided to reunite with Warner Bros. to direct its Batman reboot “Batman Begins.”
Photo : Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP/Shutterstock
Patty Jenkins' 'Sweetheart'
Patty Jenkins took a 14-year hiatus between feature films “Monster” and “Wonder Woman,” but it was not by her own design. The filmmaker famously was going to direct “Thor 2” before creative differences distanced her from Marvel Studios. Another intriguing project that went unmade was “Sweetheart,” a female assassin movie that Jenkins came on board as director in May 2014. The movie's script from Jack Stanley made the Black List and centered around a female assassin who plans to leave the killing business only to get pulled back after her high school reunion.
Photo : Michael Buckner/Variety/Shutterstock
Darren Aronofsky's “Batman: Year One”
Darren Aronofsky has often flirted with major tentpole properties, be it a Wolverine movie with Hugh Jackman or “Watchmen” before Zack Snyder came on board, but one that has long piqued the interest of moviegoers is “Batman: Year One.” Aronofsky was announced in 2000 to be directing an adaptation of Frank Miller's comic arc, with Miller writing the script and Aronofsky's regular cinematographer Matthew Libatique serving as DP. Aronofsky was coming off the one-two punch of “Pi” and “Requiem for a Dream” and was going to make his studio debut with the Warner Bros.-backed “Batman” movie. The studio was intent on rebooting the “Batman” movie franchise after the poor reception of 1997's “Batman and Robin.” Aronofsky eventually left the project because of scheduling conflicts and the seeds of development got reshaped into Christopher Nolan's “Batman Begins.”
Photo : Scott Kirkland/National Geo/Picturegroup/Shutterstock
Charlie Kaufman and Guillermo del Toro's “Slaughterhouse Five”
Guillermo del Toro has long talked about making an adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's 1969 classic “Slaughterhouse Five.” The “Pan's Labyrinth” director told The Telegraph in 2013 that he was interested in diving deep into Vonnegut's alien race known as the Trafalmadorians, the only problem was that del Toro's collaborator Charlie Kaufman struggled to turn around a script. “Charlie and I talked for about an hour-and-a-half and came up with a perfect way of doing the book,” del Toro said. “It's just a catch-22. The studio will make it when it's my next movie, but how can I commit to it being my next movie until there's a screenplay? Charlie Kaufman is a very expensive writer! I'll work it out.”
Photo : Stephen Lovekin/WWD/Shutterstock
David Lynch's “Ronnie Rocket”
David Lynch got started on “Ronnie Rocket” not long after the breakout success of his 1977 feature debut “Erasherhead.” The planned follow-up movie followed a one-legged detective who enters another dimension and gets stalked by a three-foot tall dwarf who can control electricity. Unsurprisingly, Lynch struggled to find a studio that would take a chance on such a bizarre story. The director put “Ronnie Rocket” on hold and went more mainstream with “The Elephant Man,” but he has often returned to trying to get “Ronnie Rocket' made. Different production companies came and went, including De Laurentiis Entertainment Group and American Zoetrope, while Michael J. Anderson The Man From Another Place in “Twin Peaks” was even cast in the title role. Alas, Lynch has never gotten “Ronnie Rocket” past development.
Photo : Alfonso Jimenez/Shutterstock
Martin Scorsese's “Dino”
Martin Scorsese has long wanted to make a Dean Martin biopic titled 'Dino.” The director bought the rights to Nick Toches' book of the same name way back in 1992 and brought on his “Goodfellas” and “Casino” screenwriter Nicolas Pileggi to write the screenplay. Rumor had it Scorsese was ready to cast “Dino” sometime around 1997 and was planning to cast Tom Hanks as Martin and John Travolta as Frank Sinatra, plus Hugh Grant, Adam Sandler, and Jim Carrey in supporting roles. Scheduling conflicts and budget negotiations between Scorsese and Warner Bros. delayed the project, so Scorsese went off to make “Gangs of New York” with Miramax instead. “Gangs” ended up being a lengthy production and by the time Scorsese was finished Warner Bros. had dropped “Dino” from development.
Photo : Laurent VU/SIPA/Shutterstock
Lynne Ramsay's “Jane Got A Gun”
The behind-the-scenes drama on “Jane Got A Gun” made headlines in 2013 when director Lynne Ramsay refused to show up on the first day of production and then dropped out of the movie after spending a year in development. Rumor has it Lynne feuded with producer Scott Steindorff over the shooting schedule and, most importantly, control of the final cut. Steindorff quickly brought Gavin O'Connor on to direct, but the final product was delayed numerous times by The Weinstein Company and passed over by critics upon release.
Photo : Camilla Morandi/Shutterstock
Guillermo del Toro's “At the Mountains of Madness”
Perhaps Guillermo del Toro's most devastating lost project is “At the Mountains of Madness,” an adaptation of the H. P. Lovecraft novella that was for years del Toro's passion project. The movie was being developed at Universal with some heavyweight producers attached including James Cameron, but a key creative disagreement derailed the horror film from ever happening. As del Toro told Collider, “We thought we had a very good, safe package. It was $150 million, Tom Cruise and James Cameron producing, ILM doing the effects, here's the art, this is the concept, because I really think big-scale horror would be great. But there was a difference of opinion; the studio didn't think so. The R [rating] was what made it. If 'Mountains' had been PG-13, or I had said PG-13 ... I'm too much of a Boy Scout, I should have lied, but I didn't.”
Photo : Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock
Spike Lee's “Save Us Joe Louis”
One of Spike Lee's passion projects has always been “Save Us Joe Louis,” a drama about the rivalry between the eponymous African-American boxer and German fighter Max Schmelling that took place just before World War II. “On the Waterfront” screenwriter Budd Schulberg worked on a script for the movie and Lee was attached to direct as early as 2001. The director went on to make “25th Hour” and “Inside Man,” but he maintained that “Joe Louis” would always be shot. Lee has cited David Lean as a source of directorial inspiration for the project. The project seemed to be moving forward in a big way when Terrence Howard was cast in the lead role in 2006, but the historical drama failed to get off the ground as Lee continued developing and directing other projects.
Tarantino is famous for talking about projects and then years later abandoning them. Look no further than “Killer Crow,” a feature film script he wrote that was carved out of his massive original screenplay for “Inglourious Basterds.” In the original “Basterds” screenplay, Brad Pitt's character Lt. Aldo Raine comes across a platoon of black soldiers who are also on a mission of revenge. Tarantino's “Killer Crows” screenplay centered on this platoon as they attempt to exact revenge on the white officers who screwed them over in the military. Tarantino has admitted the “Killer Crow” script would need another polish if it were to ever be made into a feature. Considering Tarantino still plans to retire after 10 movies and his ninth feature, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” has been released, it appears unlikely “Killer Crow” will ever get made.
Photo : Masatoshi Okauchi/Shutterstock
Quentin Tarantino's “Double V Vega”
Following the breakout success of “Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino eyed a prequel to the movie that would bring together the sibling characters of Vincent Vega in “Pulp Fiction” John Travolta and Vic Vega in “Reservoir Dogs” Michael Madsen. “The only thing I did know was the premise,” Tarantino told Cinema Blend this year. “I had a premise. It would've taken place in Amsterdam, during the time Vincent was in Amsterdam. He was running some club for Marsellus Wallace in Amsterdam, he was there for a couple years. In some point during his two years spent running that club, Vic shows up to visit him and it would've been their weekend. Exactly what happened to them or what trouble they got into I never took it that far.”
Photo : Miramax/Buena Vista/Kobal/Shutterstock
Baz Luhrmann's Alexander the Great Epic
Oliver Stone's “Alexander” is one of the most notorious flops of the 2000s, but moviegoers were originally set to get another Alexander the Great film epic. Baz Luhrmann announced in 2002 he was developing an Alexander the Great movie along with his “Romeo + Juliet” leading man Leonardo DiCaprio. Stone's movie was already in development at the time with Colin Farrell, so Luhrmann struggled to get the financing budget he needed to see his vision through. Some reports estimated Luhrmann was looking for a $150 million production budget. The project collapsed under its own ambitions, with Luhrmann and DiCaprio reuniting years later for the director's “The Great Gatsby” adaptation.
Photo : Matt Baron/Shutterstock
Kathryn Bigelow's Joan of Arc Epic “Company of Angels”
Around the time she was making her 1996 science-fiction thriller “Strange Days,” Kathryn Bigelow became attached as the director of 20th Century Fox's historical epic “Company of Angels.” The project was one of three Joan of Arc films being developed at the time and had a script written by Jay Cocks, best known today for his Martin Scorsese collaborations“The Age of Innocence,” “Gangs of New York,” and “Silence.” The project fell apart when Luc Besson came on board as executive producer and demanded Bigelow cast Milla Jovovich in the Joan of Arc role. When Bigelow left “Company of Angels,” Besson stepped in to direct the film himself. Besson and Jovovich's “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc” opened theatrically in 1999. Bigelow filed a lawsuit against Besson for breach of contract, claiming he had taken elements of her script for his own film.
Photo : Stephen Lovekin/Variety/Shutterstock
Cary Fukunaga's “It”
Andy Muschietti's two-part “It” franchise has grossed over one billion dollars at the worldwide box office the first installment is the highest grossing horror release ever with $700 million worldwide, but it was originally Cary Fukunaga who was hired to bring Stephen King's horror novel to the big screen. The director left the project in 2015 over “creative differences” with New Line, but in a 2018 GQ interview disclosed that New Line was worried he would not be an open collaborator on the movie. “I think it was fear on their part that they couldn't control me,” Fukunaga said. The filmmaker left the “It” production two weeks before filming was set to begin. Fukunaga was so involved with the movie that he remained credited as a screenwriter when Muschietti's version opened in 2017.
Photo : Michael Buckner/Variety/Shutterstock
David Fincher's Eliot Ness Graphic Novel Adaptation
Fincher has had countless unmade projects, including an Arthur C. Clarke adaptation of “Rendezvous With Rama” starring Morgan Freeman, but one project that got close to a reality is “Ness.” The film was an adaptation of the graphic novel “Torso” and had Matt Damon attached to star as Prohibition agent Eliot Ness in a story about the hunt for a Cleveland serial killer. Casey Affleck and Rachel McAdams were also circling roles for the movie, which came together as Fincher's follow-up to “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” The movie died because development took longer than expected and eventually Paramount lost out on the rights to the graphic novel it previously owned. Fincher moved on to “The Social Network.”
Photo : Patrick Lewis/Starpix For Netflix/Shutterstock
David Fincher's “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”
One of David Fincher's most infamous lost projects is “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” an adaptation of the 1870 Jules Verne adventure classic. Fincher was developing the movie with Disney and had locations scouted and a massive budget in place before the project was killed because the director and the studio could not agree on casting. Fincher reportedly wanted Brad Pitt or Channing Tatum for the lead, but Disney apparently was determined to have Chris Hemsworth star. As Fincher told Little White Lies, “You get over $200 million — all motion picture companies have corporate culture and corporate anxieties. Once we got past the list of people we could cast as the different characters in the film, once we got past one or two names which made them very comfortable, making a movie at that price, it became this bizarre endeavor to find which three names you could rub together to make platinum.”
Photo : Ibl/Shutterstock
George Miller's “Justice League: Mortal”
Long before Zack Snyder's “Justice League” bombed with critics and at the box office, “Mad Max” visionary George Miller was developing his own DC Comics tentpole “Justice League: Mortal.” Miller famously cast Armie Hammer as Batman and Adam Brody as The Flash, but the 2008 Writers Guild of America strike killed the chances of the movie going into production. Hammer told Leonard Maltin that the movie would've taken the darkest approach to Batman/Bruce Wayne yet. “I wanted this Batman character to be so dark. I was like look, no one — and this was George's idea as well, this was really in the script — but no one ever really shows how truly psychotic this man has to be,” Hammer said. “Like this is a guy who chooses to put on a costume, in all black, and sneak around at night and beat the shit out of people.”
Photo : Rob Latour/Shutterstock
Ridley Scott's “Blood Meridian”
Ridley Scott's 2013Cormac McCarthy thriller “The Counselor” was not supposed to be the director's first go-around with the esteemed novelist. Following the 2004 release of “Kingdom of Heaven,” Scott and screenwriter William Monahan came on board Paramount Pictures' adaptation of McCarthy's “Blood Meridian.” Many readers have long wondered if a film version of “Blood Meridian” would even be possible given the book's severe violence, and that's ultimately what killed Scott's adaptation. The director confirmed in 2008 that the movie had been killed because the violence just would be impossible to get across on the studio level.
Photo : Guy Levy/BAFTA/Shutterstock
Edgar Wright's “Ant-Man”
Peyton Reed's “Ant-Man” movies are some of the weakest entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which makes many fans wonder what Edgar Wright might have done with the character. Wright's snappy visuals and lively tone would have been a welcome addition for the MCU had the studio and the filmmaker not parted ways over creative differences. What was heartbreaking about Wright's “Ant-Man” split was that he and co-writer Joe Cornish had been developing the superhero movie for a decade when their version of the project was abandoned and polished over by writers Reed, Paul Rudd, and Adam McKay. Both Wright and Cornish still earned screenwriting credits on the theatrical “Ant-Man” release, but it's clear watching it that Wright's vision got chopped to pieces.
Photo : Matt Baron/Shutterstock
Sofia Coppola's “The Little Mermaid”
Sofia Coppola boarded Universal Pictures and Working Title's live-action “The Little Mermaid” in 2014, but the more expensive the movie's budget became the more Coppola realized she would have to compromise her original vision for the movie. Coppola wasn't interested in making the family-friendly Disney version, but instead wanted to keep the dark elements of the Hans Christian Andersen original. The director told IndieWire the studio wasn't going to spend big money on such a risky pitch, which included filming much of the feature underwater. The filmmaker eventually left after a year of development. The project floated around Hollywood without Coppola, with Chloe Grace Moretz cast as Ariel in 2015, but it never got off the ground.
Photo : Rob Latour/Variety/Shutterstock
Spike Jonze's “Harold and the Purple Crayon”
Before production started on “Where the Wild Things Are,” Spike Jonze intended to bring another iconic children's book to the big screen: Crockett Johnson's “Harold and the Purple Crayon.” Jonze had been meeting with “Wild Things” author Maurice Sendak, who considered Johnson a mentor, and he spent a year developing the movie and the ways in which he could blend live-action photography and animation in a believable way. Producer John B. Carls teased Jonze's plans for the movie in aninterviewwith The New York Times. The project was dropped two months before production because new executives at TriStar felt Jonze's vision for the movie would be too risky to turn a profit. All that remains is ashort test film.
Photo : David Buchan/Variety/Shutterstock
Terrence Malick's Che Guevara Biopic
Steven Soderbergh's 2008 biographical drama “Che” first got its start as a Terrence Malick-directed drama. The “Badlands” and “Days of Heaven” filmmaker was obsessed with Che Guevara during his time as a reporter for LIFE magazine and was approached by Soderbergh fresh off “Traffic” at the time to direct a Che biopic. Soderbergh already had his “Traffic” Oscar winner Benicio del Toro lined up to play the title character. Malick began working on the script, which focused exclusively on Che's Bolivian campaign from 1966—67, but Soderbergh revealed Malick's draft was “unreadable.” Producer Bill Pohlad told The Wrap in 2011 that Malick's screenplay was daunting” and not an “easy” read. Soderbergh ended up taking over the project and starting from scratch. Malick's Che feature died and the director went on to work on “The New World.”
Photo : Michael Buckner/Variety/Shutterstock
Steven Soderbergh's Leni Riefenstahl Movie
Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns have collaborated on films such as “The Informant” and “Contagion,” plus the upcoming Netflix original “The Laundromat,” and for a time the two were planning to make a potentially controversial film about German film director Leni Riefenstahl. The plan was to depict the “Triumph of the Will” director as an aggrieved artist being run into the ground by Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels. Soderbergh and Burns realized they were walking a thin line and abandoned the script. The two ended up pivoting to their epidemic thriller “Contagion.”
Hayao Miyazaki does not make direct sequels to his original movies, but he got closer than ever with “Ponyo.” The writer-director heavily considered making a follow-up movie to his 2008 fantasy film, which won the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki steered Miyazaki away from his plans for a second “Ponyo” movie because he wanted the filmmaker to adapt “The Wind Rises” manga Miyazaki had written earlier. Rumor has it Miyazaki was unsure whether or not “The Wind Rises” could work as a profitable animated movie the story is a biographical drama about Japanese fighter pilot designer Jiro Horikoshi. Suzuki's convincing worked and Miyazaki dropped his plans for a “Ponyo” sequel.
Photo : Studio Ghibli
Lynne Ramsay's “The Lovely Bones”
The eight years Lynne Ramsay spent between 2011's “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and 2017's “You Were Never Really Here” was made up of a couple of projects that went unmade see “Jane Got a Gun” above. Film4 hired Ramsay to direct its adaptation of “The Lovely Bones,” but the filmmaker was not intending on being faithful toAlice Sebold's award-winning novel. Ramsay told The New York Times she was not a fan of the book's “My Little Pony, she's in heaven, everything's O.K. aspects.” When DreamWorks became interested in co-producing the movie, Film4 dropped Ramsay so that the movie version would follow the book more closely. Ramsay called developing “The Lovely Bones” movie a “debacle” and a“a weird, Kafkaesque nightmare.” Peter Jackson ended up directing the movie.
Christopher Mann, likely best known for his roles on The Wire and House of Cards", has a lead role in a dynamic new dark thriller titled What Death Leaves Behind. The film, based on a true story, tells of a man who starts having frightening, vivid flashbacks to his organ's murder. The acclaimed "Hitchcockian Journey" will receive a theatrical release across North America this September and October via Artist Rights Distribution following the premiere in Los Angeles today, the multi-award winner will open in other markets including Ohio, San Diego, New York, Tennessee, Florida, DC and Philadelphia.
Directed by Scott A. Hamilton, and scripted by Scott A.Hamilton, Chad Morton, Nico Giampietro, and Rachel K. Ofori, What Death Leaves Behind tells of a man who, after a kidney transplant, experiences reoccurring nightmares he believes to be visions of his donor's violent murder, sending him on a dark path of vengeance, leading to an unbearable truth.
Look up versatile in the dictionary, and there you'll find a picture of you.
Christopher Mann: Thank you... I do appreciate that so much.
How have you managed not to avoid typecasting? Is there a secret?
Christopher Mann: I'm not certain as to how, but my vision of who I wanted to be as an actor was to have a wide range. I've been fortunate to be able to show versatility in my work. I look forward to being able to stretch and show more of that in the future.
Do you think there's a role you're most recognized for?
Christopher Mann: I'm almost certain the role of Tony Gray on the HBO series, The Wire is probably the most recognized.
You played in Creed 2 - which was a colossal production and a successful one at that. Does a film like that open doors for you that might otherwise have been closed?
Christopher Mann: I would like to think that scenario would bring that desired result. So far this year would not reflect that outcome. But I remain optimistic.
Is there less pressure doing a smaller part in a film like Creed 2 or Loving than there is playing a large role in a lower-budgeted production?
Christopher Mann: No, I wouldn't say there is less pressure in any situation. Smaller roles in any production are challenging because you don't have room to develop the character you're playing. You have to nail the scene and make that character believable instantly. Where larger roles give you breathing room. The moments are spread out and you develop a flow and your character evolves as the story is being told.
You're also known for your TV work - in which you've given us such memorable character as Tony on The Wire and Smooth on Underground Kings - did you ever find it hard to crossover from the small screen to the big?
Christopher Mann: As far as character development and the process of being in the moment and creating, no.... I never found it difficult to crossover. Television is challenging because it happens quickly. New scripts are coming every other week. And each script will have a number of modifications drafts by the time the episode is shot. So keeping up with which draft is current and knowing if any of your scenes have changed is a big part of that process. You may be on a 12 to 14 day shooting schedule for each episode. So time is a big factor.
Christopher Mann: In movies you pretty much know what's going on from beginning to end, script wise. The shoot schedule may be two months or more depending on the project. If there are changes made, you will probably have ample time to make the adjustments. Sometimes changes will be made on the spot... But that's part of the creative process.
How do you think you've improved as an actor since that first, small part in Homicide : Life on the Street back in 1997?
Christopher Mann: I've grown tremendously since that first role. I've been blessed to work with a good number of extremely talented actors and directors over the years. Those experiences coupled with my own maturity, sensibility and God given talent continues to enhance my understanding and ability with the craft. We never stop growing.
Are the types of roles you're being offered now different to those you were being offered, say, a decade ago?
Christopher Mann: A lot of the roles now are age appropriate. I used to see mostly detective roles. Now I will see detective, doctor, lawyer, judge, chief of police, etc. I really like to play real people, like Jake in What Death Leaves Behind, or Smooth in The Underground Kings. Those are two completely different characters, but you get to feel their presence, their humanity. Lots of times the professional roles just require you to be believable as someone in that profession. It's not focused on the individual so much. Although I do look to give some personality to the character I am playing in the moment.
How did you get involved in What Death Leaves Behind?
Christopher Mann: I was fortunate to have worked with Rachel Ofori and Scott Hamilton on a different project prior to What Death Leaves Behind. Rachel mentioned that she had a project coming up and would like to have me involved. So the moon and the stars aligned themselves and here we are today.
This is a film based on a rather spooky true story, I believe?
Christopher Mann: Yes, Chad Morton, our executive producer had a family member who received an organ transplant. Afterward he started having experiences that were directly associated with the donor of the organ. I don't want to give too much of the story away for those who haven't seen the movie. But this very real phenomenon is known as Cellular Memory Theory.
And what is Henry's motivation throughout the film?
Christopher Mann: Henry's motivation from the start was that of the patriarch of his small family. He was there to try to pick up any pieces that were left out of place. He did that for, Jake, Lisa and Alexis.
Could you relate to his plight?
Christopher Mann: I could relate to his situation having had both my brothers pass away and me having eight nephews who I'm the only uncle. I've also lost so many family members in what would appear to be very untimely periods of their lives. That feeling is tough to come to terms with. I also have had to deal with family members who have turned against you for no apparent reason. The confusion it causes and how to rationalize their behavior can be baffling, to say the least. I also know the nervousness and the anxiousness of waiting for a family member to receive and organ for transplant.
Is he in a different place by the end of the film?
Christopher Mann: Henry will always be that person to stand in the gap for his family. But he has developed a different appreciation for life in general. He sees it more as just transition from one state to another, more so than life and death. Although he may not agree with Jakes choices, he does understand why Jake did what he did. Jake's secret will remain with Henry. He also finds himself as a father figure once again.
Is there a lesson to be learned from this story?
Christopher Mann: If there is a lesson to be learned from this story, I would have to say that when someone close to us is having problems and trying to reach out for help, don't brush it off because it doesn't make sense to you. There may be something there, far more serious than what meets the eye.
I think there are bigger questions to be asked like, whether it is meant for humans to receive body parts from other humans? Is there some confusion caused in the quantum realm or spiritual level of existence by transplanting one person's memories into another's life experience? Does keeping those transplanted cells alive have any affect on the spirit of the individual who was believed to have passed on? You will leave the theatre with all kinds of questions after seeing this film.