Defined by Wikipedia as “media industry jargon for a project that remains in development […] without progressing to completion,” development hell happens to even the most iconic artists. The politics, bureaucracy and just plain bad luck behind media companies can lead to projects becoming stalled for years, an exhausting process for artists and a heavily disappointing one for fans. Of course, every so often, a movie comes out and you hear its director talking about how it took decades to actually complete the thing.
One of the most famous contemporary films stuck in development hell, Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, will apparently see the light of day in 2018 – at last! In honor of this long-awaited project, here’s a list of 5 films we’d love to see finally getting made.
1. The Other Side of the Wind
A very particular case, The Other Side of the Wind was shot between 1970 and 1976 and directed by one of the greatest directors of all time, Orson Welles. A mockumentary in the vein of his F for Fake, the film is a satire of both classic Hollywood and the avant-garde American filmmaking of the 1970’s. As it happened too often in Welles’ career, production was plagued with issues of budgeting, ultimately leading to the studio impounding the negative.
The footage has been involved in multiple legal battles, including one with the Iranian Ayatollah, but it seems matters have been resolved now. Welles’ friend and great filmmaker in his own right Peter Bogdanovich is now in charge of finishing the editing process, with Netflix distributing.
(Please note that the above is a fan-made trailer.)
Back in 2002, Warner Bros. acquired the rights to remake 80’s anime classic Akira into an American live-action film. At least 5 different directors and 10 writers have been reportedly involved in the project, which seems to be the adaptation from hell. After the Ghost in the Shell remake failed to impress fans and critics, all while in the whirlwind of a whitewashing controversy, there’s a good chance this movie is shelved forever.
Months back, Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi was supposedly in talks to direct the adaptation, but nothing has been reported since. It seems we won’t get Akira for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after all.
3. Alien 5
Neill Blomkamp, who became the hot new filmmaker in town after District 9, posted some really interesting Alien 5 concept art a few years back. He was supposed to helm a film for Fox that would have ignored every sequel after James Cameron’s Aliens. However, the studio chose to focus its energy on Alien: Covenant instead. Last year, as he was releasing his own movie studio, Blomkamp told The Verge that his Alien movie was pretty much dead. The fact that Fox is currently transitioning to become a Disney property might be a contributing factor to the sequel being halted.
Blomkamp released more Alien concept art last December, but it sounds like he was really enamored with the project and just can’t let go.
It’s a shock that William Gibson’s cyberpunk classic Neuromancer hasn’t been adapted. A sci-fi classic from the 1980’s, there have been several attempts to turn it into a film, most notoriously a Joseph Kahn-directed version with Milla Jovovich as Molly. While nothing came of that, last year it was reported that Deadpool filmmaker Tim Miller was on board to direct, with Simon Kinberg producing and no attached cast.
That was mid-2017 and so far there have been no updates, but hopefully the project still stands despite the Disney-Fox deal. The success of the similarly-themed Netflix series Altered Carbon might push the project forward.
Fox has been trying to fit Channing Tatum as Gambit into the X-Men universe for years now. He was originally set to appear as the Cajun mutant in the almost universally hated X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but Taylor Kitsch got the role instead. Years later, Tatum became involved in a standalone Gambit film that seems unable to catch a break. Filmmakers Rupert Wyatt, Doug Liman and Gore Verbinski have all dropped out from the film, which currently lacks a director.
Fox has pushed the Gambit release date a few times, most recently last week. Let’s see if this one pulls through.