Like tattered shorts, these things fall apart each and every day. Here’s a look at 5 comic book movies that came apart at the seams.
After her popularity as the frisky feline in 1992’s “Batman Returns”, Warner Bros retained the services of Michelle Pfeiffer to reprise the role in a spin-off. Tim Burton agreed to direct the film, and Daniel Waters was on scripting duties. Tongues dripped and waggled in anticipation.
The story would see Selina Kyle, living in a Neo-Vegas like dump of a town, working in a rundown Casino, with no memory of her life as Gotham City’s Catwoman.
“After the traumas of the second film she has amnesia, and she doesn’t really remember why she has all these bullet holes in her body, so she goes to relax in Oasisburg. What Gotham City is to New York, Oasisburg is to Las Vegas- Los Angeles-Palm Springs”, Waters said of the script. “[It’s a] resort area in the middle of the desert. It’s run by a team of superheroes, and the movie has great fun at making fun at the whole male superhero mythos. You can tell my heart is with Catwoman trying to always poke fun at Batman, but it ended up that that annoyed people. But now I’ve got free rein since Catwoman is my lead, so I have these superheroes who are really so good you hate them. Then they end up being not very good at all deep down, and she’s got to go back to that whole Catwoman thing.”
Kyle’s past would return to haunt her in the form of a lone black cat that stalks her, ultimately encouraging Kyle to follow it to the hideout of an evil cult. Upon discovering evil lurks in her city, Kyle manages to drag Catwoman out for a battle with the baddies. Though Bruce Wayne would not appear, Kyle would not be without male companions – she’d, in fact, have two objects of affection in the movie.
Waters made the unfortunate mistake of turning in his draft of “Catwoman” to the studio on the same day that “Batman Forever” opened. The popularity of the ‘fun’ “Batman Forever” essentially dry-roasted the cerebral, dark, almost Nolan-esque approach to ‘Catwoman’.
“Turning it in the day Batman Forever opened may not have been my best logistical move, in that it’s the celebration of the fun-for-the-whole-family Batman and Catwoman is definitely not a fun-for-the-whole-family script”.
The studio did consider doing the movie a few years on, with Ashley Judd playing the role Pfeiffer was no longer interested in, but ultimately opted to scrap the idea.
Superman 5 : Superman Reborn
Sadly, Christopher Reeve never got to make the redeemable ”Superman” franchise addition he had been so keen to see come to fruition.
“Superman Reborn” was a film that would’ve neglected the events of “Superman III” and “Superman IV” and served as a real, true sequel to the first two “Superman” movies. In it, the Man of Steel would’ve taken on legendary comic’s character Brainiac.
“[Brainiac] comes to Earth for the first time and shrinks Metropolis, adding it to his interplanetary collection of miniaturized cities,” co-writer Cary Bates, who had worked on TV’s “Superboy”, explained in a recent interview. “But because he becomes aware of the unique super-powered being in his latest acquisition, Brainiac miniaturizes himself and ventures into the bottled Metropolis in person. This leads to a knock-down drag-out battle that ends in what appears to be Superman’s death.”
The Salkinds loved Bates’ idea so much that commissioned him and Mark Jones to flesh out their treatment into full-script form. The producers were most excited about the prospect of seeing Superman making a visit to the bottled city of Kandor.
“A split-second before his atoms would’ve been permanently disintegrated, they are sucked into a bottle-city a few rows over… Kandor,” Bates said. “There he is ‘reborn’ as a mortal man, where he gets to reconnect with his Kryptonian roots as he begins the arduous process of rehabilitating himself and eventually escaping from Kandor to resume his battle with Brainiac.”
Bates had written Brainiac to appear in human form for most of the movie, rather than just hiding him behind an alien costume, as the Salkinds were eyeing a big-name star to play him and wanted to give audiences . Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Sadly, Schwarzenegger’s contract was never completed. The film was delayed due to the Salkind’s sudden interest in doing a “Christopher Columbus” movie. When the producers did find time to concentrate on Superman again, “Warners had just announced they were about to go into production with the Lois and Clark TV series,” Bates said. “This was the first of several business-related events that led to a complex re-negotiation between the studio and the Salkinds, culminating with Warners re-acquiring all rights to Superman. ”
One of the many ideas Warner Bros had when considering how to reboot the Batman franchise (following its demise at the hands of Joel Schumacher with “Batman & Robin”) was a feature film version of the popular comic and animated series, “Batman Beyond”.
The idea was initially presented to Warners by filmmaker Boaz Yakin, who had scored newly-garnered points in Hollywood with his rousing sports drama “Remember the Titans”. With writers Paul Dini and Alan Burnett onboard to script should they greenlight, the trio asked Warners if they’d be keen in their idea for a futuristic twist on the ‘Batman’ story.
Burnett recalls that “the powers on the lot said, ‘OK, you guys can go write together.’ Boaz had a definite vision of the show. He kept pushing the envelope on the script. It was pretty violent and pretty sexy and in the end, we knew we were dealing with an R-rated script, but we rode along with it. We handed it in [July 2001], and the lot was just shocked, completely shocked, and wanted us to start over essentially. And he saw that he was going to be going through a long process that he didn’t want to go through, and so he bowed out.”
Burnett and Dini stayed on the project for a while, no doubt reigning the ‘darkness’ of their script in a bit to please the WB brass, but they too became frustrated with the amount of studio notes coming back and opted to walk.
Had “Batman Beyond” made it to the big screen, we might’ve gotten to see a terrific bit of casting though : Paul Newman as the Metamucil-guzzling Bruce Wayne/Batman. Newman was atop of the wish list to play the role of Terry McGinnis’s mentor in the flick, with Clint Eastwood’s name also said to be high-up on the possibilities notes.
Warner’s obstinate golden-boy Keanu Reeves, who has helped WB inherit a goldmine by way of a series under the “Matrix” sunshade, was the one and only choice to play McGinnis at draft stage.
Green Lantern (the ‘ha ha’ version)
You can thank the internet for the merciful cancellation of a comedic version of “Green Lantern” that was set to go before the cameras in 2006.
Jack Black – yep, told you it was merciful! – was attached to play the Justice League member in a comedy that would have taken the piss out of the popular DC comics character. TV writer Robert Smigel, who works with “SNL”, was on scripting duties.
Thankfully, Smigel’s script never had Black playing Hal Jordan. He would’ve been an average joe named Jud Plato who, when picked to don the ring, is a contestant on a ‘Fear Factor’ like series called ‘The Dare Diner’. On the night he is picked to become the new ‘Lantern’, Jud is on live TV eating a coyote’s head. The fact he is willing to do that, scores him the job.
The script essentially plays out like Jim Carrey’s ‘The Mask’ with the ‘Ring’ taking Jud on all sorts of crazy adventures, until he’s forced to man-up and confront some evil foes – like Sinestro.
The film, had it have been made, would’ve really irked superhero fans. There were numerous jokes in it about Green Lantern being an inferior, second-rate superhero character; most supporting characters from the comics’ world were turned into out-and-out jokes; the things Jud would use the ‘ring’ for – like making a giant Green condom – would induce screen-projected spitting; and the amount of disrespect Smigel’s script has for important characters like ‘The Guardians’ is shocking.
Fearing death, Smigel’s actually glad his script was ultimately passed on.
“If I were a die-hard Green Lantern fan, I would have waited many years watching all of these other superhero movies like Daredevil get their turn and I would be very frustrated to hear that it’s finally going to be done as a comedy. I wouldn’t just feel screwed; I would also see it as a personal affront that the superhero that I’ve been worshiping is looked at as a joke. So I could see people being angry, and I expected it. ”
Rumour has it Warners were also a little afraid of unleashing the piss-take onto punters too, fearing the backlash.
Masters of the Universe 2
Appalled with how the original turned out, Dolph Lundgren was quick to let the producers of 1987’s cheaply-made ”Masters of the Universe” know that he wouldn’t be back for the sequels they were planning.
Director Albert Pyun, the man charged with the task of prepping a quick-shoot sequel, had to find a replacement He-Man – and fast. He enlisted big wave surfer named Laird Hamilton.
The $4.5 million dollar sequel, one which Mattel had enthusiastically signed off on, was fully cast, had sets and costumes created, and had production dates firmed-up… just one problem : The rights had meantime bounced back to Mattel.
So it was goodbye Laird.
Pyun said in an interview, “Having spent well over $2 million on sets, costumes, and prep, Cannon was desperate to find away to recoup their spend. I suggested we do a film that could utilize as much of what had been built and prepped and that would cost very little in addition. I wrote a first draft of what became “Cyborg””.
So Lundgren’s loss, became Jean-Claude Van Damme’s gain. Or did it?
Hollywood has since failed to get any kind of “Masters of the Universe” movie off-the-ground. They’ve had numerous actors in talks to play the musclebound ‘Adam’ (including Triple H, Paul Walker and Christopher Showerman), even had the odd director expressing interest (like John Woo), but at the end of the day, nobody can seem to gain a smooth entrance into Eternia.