Each and every year there’s a bunch of pilots made for shows that, either because the schedule just can’t squeeze them in or they’re slacker than a lump of, aren’t picked up. Many of the pilots – if only because they’ve a built-in audience – are based on pre-existing properties, like a popular feature film. We’ve seen plenty of them over the years, and you’ll know them well, TV adaptations of such films as “M*A*S*H”, “Blue Thunder”, “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer”, “Clueless”, “Uncle Buck”, “Parenthood”, “Teen Wolf” and “Police Academy”, but there’s just as many TV series based on films that you likely hadn’t heard of… because they were never released.
Let’s have a look at a few, shall we?
Technically the second TV pilot based on the 1990 movie, though this one would’ve featured Kevin Bacon – who hadn’t portrayed Valentine McKee (from the Ron Underwood-directed classic) for any of the umpteen sequels nor the previous series adaptation.
Bacon was very enthusiastic about the series proposal, feeling a real need to see what his character was up all these years later.
“What I was really interested in was taking this guy and, 25 years later, seeing what happened to him, to his dreams, and to his life. Andrew Miller, who’s writing the script, came up with this really, really interesting take on it, and I think it could be a lot of fun.”
“It’s the only character I’ve ever played that I was interested in exploring 25 years later,” Bacon said in a later interview. “It (Tremors) is a really good movie. I don’t go back and watch my movies but because we were doing this one, I had to go back and look at it. It’s just the idea of this loser who is living a very ordinary life and has an extraordinary experience with these monsters and becomes, for a moment, a hero.”
Blumhouse were onboard to produce the pilot, which was intended to spawn a 10-episode first season.
For some inexplicable reason, the series – which was to co-star P.J Byrne, Hunter Parrish, and Haley Tju – was not picked up by SyFy, who commissioned it, as Bacon let his fans know in a post this time last year.
View this post on Instagram
#Tremors Sad to report that my dream of revisiting the world of Perfection will not become a reality. Although we made a fantastic pilot (IMHO) the network has decided not to move forward. Thanks to our killer cast and everyone behind the scenes who worked so hard. And always keep one eye out for GRABOIDS!
Since then, fans of the “Tremors” franchise have been petitioning to get a streaming outlet like Netflix to pick up the series but to no avail. Bacon has since gone on to star in another series, “City on a Hill” for Showtime.
Like “Tremors”, the most recent incarnation of “Cruel Intentions” the series was actually the second time the Roger Kumble-directed movie had been proposed as a series. The film we now know as “Cruel Intentions 2”, and released on DVD back in the early noughties, started as a pilot for a series titled “Manchester Prep”. The series, which starred a pre-big time Amy Adams (in the Sarah Michelle Gellar role), is a prequel fixing on Sebastian meeting Annette, Cecile, and Kathryn for the first time.
When the network decided not to pick up the option on the series, producers recut the film and had Sony release it as a stand-alone movie.
In 2016, NBC ordered a pilot for a series that was designed to be somewhat of a sequel to the movie – complete with Gellar reprising her role as the mischievous Kathryn! (the rest of the cast included Taylor John Smith, Kate Levering, Bryce Cass, Coby Bell, Samantha Logan, and Sophina Brown).
Two different cuts of the pilot were shot, one raunchier and one tamer, but ultimately the network couldn’t find a spot for it.
At the time, NBC President Jennifer Salke seemed determined to still make it happen : “It was really a space issue and we had a spot for a big great soap. This Is Us seemed to fit better so we started looking for opportunities in mid-season, possibly summer for the show. We started talking about the OTT platform that’s looming. So right now we wanted to make sure we have the show because I’m determined to find a place to put it. We wouldn’t have held that talent if we didn’t have every intention of finding the opportunity for the show. I love it. We picked up the options for the actors. We’re determined to find a place for the show.”
Ultimately, the network lost Gellar, whose option was up, so they decided to move on from the pilot – which was penned by original movie director Kumble with Lindsey Rosin and Jordan Ross.
View this post on Instagram
#throwbackthursday (a bit early in Los Angeles) this picture was taken on the eve of production on the original #cruelintentions. Its me #rogerkumble (director) and #nealmoritz (exec producer) and the other is a picture of us now on the eve of production on the new #cruelintentions. That’s right “everybody loves me, and I intend to keep it that way” #kathrynmerteuil is back!!! I am happy to say that I will be joining them (and @nbctv ) on the new #Crueltv
About fifteen years ago, Regency and Warner Bros produced a TV adaptation of the classic Elmore Leonard novel and subsequent feature film for HBO and later Fox. Kiefer Sutherland would play Det. Jack Vincennes, Josh Hopkins would be Bud White, David Conrad was Det. Ed Exley, Melissa George was Lynn Bracken, and Eric Roberts was Pierce Pratchett.
HBO had originally expressed interest in a 10-episode run and when they passed, Fox briefly considered picking it up.
A pilot for another “L.A Confidential” pilot was commissioned last year by CBS, with Brian J.Smith as Exley and Walter Goggins as Vincennes.
CBS were apparently very pleased with the plot, saying it’s beautifully shot and well-performed, but didn’t have a spot for it on the schedule. Yep, that old story.
Beverly Hills Cop
When they decided to get into the television business, the Paramount Network rummaged their vaults for ideas – ultimately finding a first victim with a small screen spin-off of the “Beverly Hills Cop” film series. Designed for CBS, the pilot would star Brandon T. Jackson as Axel Foley’s (Eddie Murphy’s) son, Aaron, in a one-hour drama from showrunner Shawn Ryan. Murphy reprised his role as Axel for the pilot, as did his “Beverly Hills Cop” co-star Judge Reinhold, bringing back Billy Rosewood.
CBS passed but because there were initially four networks interested, Ryan and the producing committee went back to the others to see if there was still enthusiasm. There was not.
“Sad to report that efforts to land Beverly Hills Cop pilot at another network have failed”, Ryan told his Twitter followers. “This iteration is dead for now.”
Interestingly enough, the pilot tested so well that Paramount decided to get the ball rolling on another “Beverly Hills Cop” movie – with Murphy headlining – which currently has Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah attached to direct.
Unless you’ve been hiding out near a dampster at the back of restaurant, you’ll be aware of how David Lynch’s award-winning film “Mulholland Drive” started out.
Initially, it was a pilot for ABC – and in it’s early days, an Audrey Horne (from “Twin Peaks”) spin-off starring Sherilyn Fenn, as the small-town poptart makes her way to Tinseltown – that Lynch co-wrote with Joyce Eliason. The network reportedly passed on the two-hour pilot because of the violence in it, with their decision made just after the Colorado shootings. Lynch told Premiere magazine, “All I know is, I loved making it, ABC hated it, and I don’t like the cut I turned in. I agreed with ABC that the longer cut was too slow, but I was forced to butcher it because we had a deadline, and there wasn’t time to finesse anything. It lost texture, big scenes, and storylines, and there are 300 tape copies of the bad version circulating around. Lots of people have seen it, which is embarrassing, because they’re bad-quality tapes, too. I don’t want to think about it.”
Justin Theroux, who turned down the chance to work on the series “Wasteland” to do Lynch’s pilot said at the time : “ want to say that the people at ABC are terrible, awful, heinous people who kiss up to you when they think you might be a star and then drop you like a hot turd when they decide you won’t be,” he said. “But really they’re just terribly frightened people who want to keep their jobs by giving audiences what they want. The audience testing that the networks do is in Middle America, and I picture these men and women who spend their time in McDonald’s and bent over slot machines being brought into a room in a mall to watch David Lynch and turn up their knobs if they like it. Those knobs are going to be arrow-headed to the ground. On that basis, ABC assumes that America wants ‘Wasteland’ and not ‘Mulholland Drive,’ which means that they assume America is stupid. The sad thing is they’re probably right.”
Not long after, Studio Canal came to Lynch with the idea to re-cut the pilot into a movie.
“So along came Pierre Edelman (Studio Canal Plus) and Pierre asked me if he could see this pilot and I had a heartache because I didn’t like the pilot and I said no at first but he asked me again and I said okay Pierre. And he saw something in the pilot that he really liked. And one thing let to another and the opportunity arose for it to become a feature. And then I had a couple of weeks a feel of panic because I didn’t have ideas to close it. And one night sitting down in my chair the ideas unraveled like a string and it came to me a way to do it. And it was a most beautiful experience. Everything was seen from a different angle. Everything was then restructured, and we did additional shooting. Now, looking back, I see that [the film] always wanted to be this way. It just took this strange beginning to cause it to be what it is.”
Released in October 2001, “Mulholland Drive” went on to win over both critics, filmgoers and many prestigious festivals.
Going back a long ways here. Long before the “Bates Motel” we know best was a thing, Universal decided to take the “Freddy’s Nightmares” route and commission a pilot for a spin-off of Alfred Hitchcock’s film that wouldn’t necessarily feature Norman Bates.
The script for the pilot disregarded the sequels to the original movie by killing Bates off and having Cort told The Houston Chronicle in, “This would not be a series about the ‘victim of the week.’ The hotel becomes a place for redemption, a place for a second chance. The karma of the original ‘Psycho’ debacle is shattered by events in our film. It’s restored to a place of rest and contemplation. There is now something magical about the place that gives people a chance to reflect on their lives and go back into the world renewed.”
The pilot was retooled to be a stand-alone movie – and did actually air (on NBC).
Ah, the ‘80s…. a river of dreams.. and some nightmares.
Revenge of the Nerds
After the success of the “Revenge of the Nerds” films, Fox commissioned a pilot (which you can see on the “Revenge of the Nerds : Panty-Raid Edition” DVD set) for a small-screen sitcom that would fix on the weekly adventures of Lewis and Gilbert. In the Peter Baldwin directed opener, which features from the footage from the original 1984 film, Lewis, Gilbert, Bogger and Harold Wormser go head-to-head with the Alpha Betas – unlike the film, they don’t have Poindexter, Lamar, or Takashi to assist them. Rob Stone played Lewis and Lightfield Lewis was Gilbert, with “Karate Kid Part III” bad-boy Sean Kanan as ‘Todd Channing’ and Richard Gant as P.T Turner.
The pilot, shot in 1991, was never picked but Fox continued pumping out “Revenge of the Nerds” sequels – including the dire “Revenge of the Nerds : The Next Generation” (1992) and “Revenge of the Nerds : Nerds in Love” (1994).
Kevin Smith is glad this one didn’t come to pass. The filmmaker only heard that a TV pilot based on his breakthrough film hit was in the works – by the Weinstein’s – when an actress friend tipped him off to it.
He managed to catch it a while later. “It was pretty fucking bad. Jim Breuer, the dude who used to be on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ played Randal, and he looked like he was 50 years old. Jim Breuer’s not an old guy, but the way they had him made up, and they were shooting on video as opposed to film, he looked like Randal’s dad, with a backwards baseball cap and all the attitude. It just wasn’t the same thing. And the dude who played Dante was, like, a dude who could’ve been the captain of a football team, just athletic-looking and good-looking and wouldn’t have problems in real life, particularly with girls and shit. Part of the charm of Dante is that he’s an everyman. If there’s an impossibly good-looking dude playing Dante, you’re, like, ‘What’s he bitching about? This dude’s got it made in the shade!’ So it was just bad. Keri Russell was in it as some chick who worked in a tanning parlor that was also in the strip mall. I was, like, ‘There’s no tanning parlor in the strip mall!’ It was kind of strange, and I had nothing to do with it, so thank God it didn’t get picked up.”
We’re just as thankful.
While on the Smith theme, a pilot for a series based on the filmmaker’s ‘90s classic “Mallrats” – which would’ve been titled “MallBrats” – was bankrolled by Universal in 2016. It would’ve reunited much of the cast from the 1995 comedy, including Jason Lee and Jeremy London.
Of the script, Smith said, “It’s a real sweet, family story. It’s a multi-generational tale. It’s my chance to do John Hughes and Degrassi Junior High, because much like the Degrassi formula we know our legacy cast – we know Brody and Rene and T.S. and Jay and Silent Bob – and then we meet their kids. So we meet Brody and Rene’s daughter Banner Bruce, and the story takes place in his world and her world. Nobody goes to the fucking mall anymore, so the kids are baffled by it, and Brody still believes in it in a big, bad way.”
To his surprise, Smith couldn’t find anyone willing to commission the 10-episode series.
“I’ve pitched said sequel series to 6 different networks only to find no takers thus far”, he said in 2017.
Be interesting to see if Smith has incorporated some of the storyline for the pilot in the new “Jay and Silent Reboot” film, which features Lee as Brody Bruce.
Mr & Mrs Smith
You’d think with the brass behind the film – writer Simon Kinberg and director Doug Liman – involved, this one would have not only an excellent chance of a pick-up… but it had a has of being a ripper pilot.
Martin Henderson and Jordana Brewster played the Brad & Angie roles in a scenario that Kinberg described as “‘Married … With Children’ with guns.”
Co-written by Kinberg and David Bartis, the pilot saw married assassins John and Jane Smith relocating to the suburbs where they have re-established their respective businesses, though the marital issues that plagued them in the past return.
ABC ultimately opted not to push forward with the pilot – in which case Brewster was free to link back up with the “Fast and the Furious” gang on the big screen and Henderson was able to fill a ‘dreamy doc’ slot on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy”.
Thankfully, the TV gods did bless us with a few TV pilots/series based on films. Here’s a couple of gems to end…
Alex Rider series finds its teen superspy
Small screen reboot of the Anthony Horowitz-created character in production
Sony has settled on an Alex Rider, selecting Otto Farrant (”Mrs Wilson”, “War & Peace”) to headline the small-screen reboot of the Anthony Horowitz-created character.
The studio flung a wide net to fill the lead spot of a reluctant teen superspy who goes on global missions saving the world. The series is based on a literary offering that comprises eleven novels, as well as five graphic novels, three short stories and a supplementary book. The first novel, “Stormbreaker”, was released in the United Kingdom in 2000 and was adapted into a movie in 2006 starring Alex Pettyfer.
The Sony Pictures Television-Eleventh Hour Films produced series will run an initial eight episodes.
“Das Boot” director Andreas Prochaska is helming.
Prochaska said, “We met a lot of people for the role of Alex Rider, but when Otto entered the room, there was something magical about him. He has the perfect combination of youth and skilfulness, innocence and professionalism, to bring this iconic character to the screen.”
No network is currently attached to the series.
First look : Banshee actress as Catwoman!
TV siren cast as Selina Kyle – an older incarnation of – on FOX’s “Gotham”.
Actress Lili Simmons (“Banshee”, “Bone Tomahawk”) has been cast as Catwoman – an older incarnation of – on FOX’s “Gotham”.
Camren Bicondova, who has been playing a teenage version of Selina Kyle on the series, tells social media followers that she opted out of playing an older version of the final episode of the series.
I wanted to give (the character) Selina Kyle as much respect as possible. Some will say that giving her respect would include seeing the character through to the end of the show, which I understand. But, I firmly believe that part of leaving a legacy and being part of a legacy means knowing when to pass the torch to someone else. I was blessed to be the vessel for Selina Kyle for her formative teen years, and it only felt right to give someone else the torch for her adult self.
Simmons, 25, best known for her role as Rebecca Bowman on Cinemax series “Banshee”, stepped in to play the character for the finale – which features a 10-year-time jump. Bicondova assures fans she’s “perfect” for the role.
The woman who will be playing the older Selina Kyle is the glorious Lili Simmons, who, when I met [her] for the first time, made me cry tears of joy. She is perfect for this role, and she really wanted to do Selina right. We spoke about Selina Kyle for hours; I shared journal entries and scenes that were prime examples of Selina’s characteristics, and she shared thoughts of backstory for the 10 years that the audience doesn’t see. I want to clearly express how much thought and care went into this decision, as well as how much respect for the character and legacy of Selina Kyle there is within it.
Not only will the series finale of the ‘Batman’ series feature an older caped Crusader (18-year-old David Mazouz will again play the role) and Lili Simmons’ Catwoman, but Cameron Monaghan will finally make his full transformation into The Joker.
The series flash-forwards 10 years into the future, as Bruce is set to return to Gotham for the opening of the new Wayne Tower. A series of crimes leads Gordon to believe Penguin and The Riddler are up to their old tricks. However, when Bullock is framed for a murder, Gordon begins to piece together an even more sinister plot targeting the city, and a new figure emerges from the shadows to be the hero Gotham desperately needs in the all-new “The Beginning… ” series finale episode of GOTHAM airing Thursday, April 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
DC respond to Swamp Thing rumors with an awesome new promo!
Derek Mears plays the title role in the comic adaptation
No doubt a response to disquieting rumors concerning the show shutting down production early (and consequently getting a shorter run), DC Universe has released a fun promo for their upcoming “Swamp Thing” series.
The comic-adaptation, starring Derek Mears (“Friday the 13th”, “Twin Peaks”) in the title role and boasting a choice cast including Andy Bean, Crystal Reed, Will Patton, Jennifer Beals, and Virginia Madsen, has been shooting in Louisiana… home to swamps, apparently.
James Wan is one of the producers, Len Wiseman (“Live Free or Die Hard”) directed the pilot.
“Swamp Thing” will debut on DC Universe on May 31st.
- Michael Biehn officially reprising Aliens‘ Corporal Hicks!
- Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil sequel!? Yes, please!
- Kate Beckinsale to star in new actioner from Expendables producers
- Travis Fimmel features in action-packed Danger Close trailer
- Mandy success paves way for another Nicolas Cage theatrical release
- Leonardo DiCaprio could join Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley
- James Wan and Gary Dauberman team up for Salem’s Lot
- Ben Affleck to direct and star in Ghost Army
- Avengers : Endgame review : a masterpiece designed for the fans
- Alex Rider series finds its teen superspy
- Vin Diesel confirms role in Avatar sequels
- Will Smith vs. Will Smith in Gemini Man trailer
- First look trailer & images : Renee Zellweger’s new series What/If
- The Rise of Skywalker : Another old favorite to return!?
- Latest Godzilla : King of the Monsters trailer spews kaiju action!
Get Moviehole News Updates!
Exclusive : Here’s the plot of Coming 2 America!
Who will replace Prince Akeem on the throne!?
Exclusive : Musical scoops! Selena update, Grease prequel cast
Newton-John and Travolta may be back for 'Summer Loving'
Exclusive : Andrew Garfield internet drama goes in May; plot revealed
Former "Spider-Man" gets in over his head on the net again!
Exclusive : Logo for Lost Boys series revealed
The pilot has been lensing in Vancouver under the direction of Catherine Hardwicke
Exclusive : Lethal Weapon 5 announcement coming!?
Cast, including Joe Pesci, set to return for fifth instalment
At the Movies
- Movie News4 days ago
Spoiler Alert : Keanu Reeves joins Fast & Furious universe
- Streaming2 weeks ago
Every film and TV series coming to Disney Plus in November
- Streaming2 weeks ago
Game of Thrones star is the new Bruce Wayne
- Exclusives4 days ago
Exclusive : Here’s the plot of Coming 2 America!
- Exclusives1 week ago
Exclusive : Musical scoops! Selena update, Grease prequel cast
- Movie News2 weeks ago
Jackie Chan says he’s not onboard Rush Hour 4
- Movie News2 weeks ago
New 3 Men and a Baby sequel just got killed!
- Movie News2 weeks ago
Emperor Palpatine is back for Episode IX : The Rise of Skywalker!