Films are shut-down each and every day – unfortunately, with so much money at play, and so many cooks in the kitchen, it just comes with the territory.
Here are 10 films that nearly made it to the starting line… but whose balloon’s were popped just before the scream of ‘action!’
1 Broadway Brawler (1997)
Was to Star : Bruce Willis, Maura Tierney
Was to be directed by : Lee Grant
Synopsis : Willis was to play a washed-up hockey player, romancing “E.R” star Tierney, in Cinergi’s cash-in on the “Jerry Maguire” success.
2 Kumite (2005)
Was to Star : Jean-Claude Van Damme
Was to be directed by : Jean-Claude Van Damme
Synopsis : An unofficial sequel to “Blood Sport”, in which Vic Latour (Jean-Claude Van Damme), the only westerner to ever win two successive Kumite tournaments, returns to defend his title after years of alcoholism and despair, overcoming great odds to achieve greater glory.
3 Crusade (1995)
Was to Star : Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert Duvall, Jennifer Connelly, John Turturro, Christopher McDonald
Was to be directed by : Paul Verhoeven
Synopsis : Schwarzenegger and Verhoeven, the winning duo behind “Total Recall”, were to reunite for an ambitious, expensive historical epic. Schwarzenegger’s Hagen was designed to be a Conan-esque warrior who winds up embroiled in a deadly battle in the holy land. Budgeted at over $100 million, the movie would’ve likely been as much of an action blockbuster as it would’ve been a talking point, due to the script’s strong anti-war statements.
4 The Few (2008)
Was to Star : Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer
Was to be directed by : Michael Mann
Synopsis : Tom Cruise was to reunite with his “Collateral” director Mann (and “Top Gun” co-star Kilmer) for an epic war movie about an American pilot, Billy Fiske (Cruise) who flew against the Germans in World War II. At the time, the United States had not yet entered the war, so Fiske forged identification papers and faked his way into the British Royal Air Force to join in the fight. Cruise, still determined to do another flyboy movie, is currently gearing up to do a “Top Gun” sequel.
5 Manhunt (2005)
Was to Star : Harrison Ford
Was to be directed by : Michael Mann
Synopsis : A couple of years before Robert Redford’s “The Conspirator”, and just shy of Steven Spielberg announcing his plans to do an Abraham Lincoln biopic, Ford attached himself to a feature based on James L. Swanson’s book “Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer”. Ford was to play Col. Everton Conger, the man leading a 12-day mission to find Abe Lincoln’s assassin, ultimately found to be John Wilkes Booth.
6 At the Mountains of Madness (2010)
Was to Star : Tom Cruise
Was to be directed by : Guillermo del Toro
Synopsis : A big-budget blockbuster with much potential – alas, one that Universal weren’t willing to take a risk on at the time – “At the Mountains of Madness” is an adaptation of the H.P Lovecraft book about explorers who, on an expedition to an uncharted region of the Arctic, discover an ancient civilization and then realize that they may have accidentally awakened prehistoric creatures. del Toro says he’ll never make the movie because Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” is too similar.
7 The Cardinal of the Kremlin (1995)
Was to Star : Harrison Ford, William Shatner
Was to be directed by : Phillip Noyce
Synopsis : Was to be Harrison Ford’s third ‘Jack Ryan’ film; unfortunately, the actor wasn’t impressed with the script and tired of sending it back and forwards demanding further rewrites. Based on the book by Tom Clancy, “Kremlin” is a direct sequel to “The Hunt for Red October” and is based around the development of the Strategic Defense Initiative and its Soviet equivalent, covering themes including intelligence gathering and counterintelligence, political intrigue, and guerrilla warfare in Afghanistan.
8 Ronnie Rocket (1987)
Was to Star : Michael J.Anderson, Dean Stockwell, Brad Dourif, Jack Nance, Dennis Hopper, Harry Dean Stanton
Was to be directed by : David Lynch
Synopsis : A film Lynch – who wrote the script shortly after “Eraserhead” – tried to get up with CIBY 2000, as part of a three-picture deal the “Twin Peaks : Fire Walk With Me” director made with them, but they weren’t keen on this. The film would’ve starred Michael Anderson (‘The Man from Another Place’ on “Twin Peaks”) as “a three-foot tall guy with red hair and physical problems, and about 60-cycle alternating current electricity”, according to Lynch.
9 Gale Force (1992)
Was to Star : Sylvester Stallone
Was to be directed by : Renny Harlin
Synopsis : “Cliffhanger” duo Sly Stallone and Renny Harlin were set to team on the written pic, said to be in the vein of “Die Hard” (1988), about a group of pirates who descend on a small town, planning a bank heist while the town is busy dealing with a super storm. Sly’s character was a tortured ex-Navy SEAL who gets a chance at redemption – he accidentally killed a child when he was intoxicated behind the wheel – as he’s the town’s only hope to overcome the modern-day pirates set to snatch their hard-earned money. The film was scrapped two weeks before pre-production was to begin.
10 A Tale of Two Cities (1994)
Was to Star : Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe
Was to be directed by : Terry Gilliam
Synopsis : If Mel Gibson hadn’t have been so determined to make “Braveheart”, and if the studio hadn’t have shredded the film’s budget in-half shortly before production, we might’ve had another film version of Charles Dickens’ classic to align our shelves with. Gibson (and for a while there, Liam Neeson – who was interested in replacing Gibson before he too got wind of the film’s financial troubles) was to play Sydney Carton. With this, and “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote”, Gilliam couldn’t catch much of a break there for a while.