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TV pilots based on films that never aired!

From a “Beverly Hills Cop” series to “L.A Confidential” with Kiefer Sutherland!

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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?

 

Tremors

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.

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.

 

Cruel Intentions

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.

L.A Confidential

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.

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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.

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Mulholland Drive

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.”

Robert Forster in the “Mulholland Drive” pilot

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.

 

Bates Motel

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).

 

Clerks

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.

 

Mallrats

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…

 

 

 

 

 

Streaming

Horror legend joins Shudder’s Creepshow

Another genre name joins the cast of Shudder’s upcoming “Creepshow” anthology series

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Horror icon Jeffrey Combs (“Re-Animator”) has joined the cast of Shudder’s upcoming “Creepshow” anthology series, the AMC Networks streaming offshoot announced today.

Grammy winner Kid Cudi (Scott Mescudi) and Big Boi (Antwan Patton), along with Bruce Davison (“X-Men”) and DJ Qualls (”Supernatural”) have also been enlisted to guest-star. Shudder also revealed an additional Creepshow story, “The Finger,” written by award-winning horror novelist David J. Schow (The Crow) and directed by series showrunner Greg Nicotero.

Jeffrey Combs

DJ Qualls will star in “The Finger,” a previously unannounced Creepshow story written by David J. Schow and directed by showrunner Greg Nicotero. Kid Cudi and Jeffrey Combs will star in “Bad Wolf Down,” written and directed by Rob Schrab. Bruce Davison will star in “Night of the Paw,” written by John Esposito. Big Boi is featured in “The Man in the Suitcase” written by Christopher Buehlman and directed by Dave Bruckner (”The Ritual”).

The new cast join Adrienne Barbeau, Giancarlo Esposito, David Arquette, Tobin Bell, Tricia Helfer and Dana Gould, who were previously announced to star in various ”Creepshow” stories.

Shudder has now announced all twelve segments that will make up Creepshow’s six-episode season. They are, in alphabetical order:

“All Hallows Eve”
Written by: Bruce Jones
Directed by: John Harrison
Even then they’re a little too old, this group of friends still want to trick-or-treat but getting candy isn’t all they are looking for.

“Bad Wolf Down”
Written by: Rob Schrab
Directed by: Rob Schrab
A group of American soldiers, trapped behind enemy lines during World War II, finds an unconventional way to even the odds.

“By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain”
Story by: Joe Hill, adapted by Jason Ciaramella
Directed by: Tom Savini
Her dad died looking for the monster living at the bottom of Lake Champlain, and now, will she?

“The Companion”
Story by: Joe R. Lansdale, Kasey Lansdale & Keith Lansdale, adapted by Matt Venne
Directed by: Dave Bruckner (The Ritual)
A young boy, bullied by his older brother, sneaks into an abandoned farm that is protected by a supernatural force.

“The Finger”
Written by: David J. Schow (The Crow)
Directed by: Greg Nicotero
An unhappy man discovers a severed, inhuman appendage on the street and brings it home, where it grows into a loyal companion with some deadly quirks.

“Gray Matter”
Story by: Stephen King, adapted by Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi
Directed by: Greg Nicotero
Doc and Chief, two old-timers in a small, dying town, brave a storm to check on Richie, an alcoholic single father, after encountering his terrified son at the local convenience store. The story, first published in 1973, is part of King’s best-selling 1978 collection, Night Shift.

“The House of the Head”
Written by: Josh Malerman (Bird Box)
Directed by: John Harrison
Evie’s discovers her new dollhouse might be haunted.

“Lydia Layne’s Better Half”
Story by: John Harrison & Greg Nicotero, adapted by John Harrison
Directed by: Roxanne Benjamin (Body at Brighton Rock)
A powerful woman denies a promotion to her protégée and lover but fails to anticipate the fallout.

“The Man in the Suitcase”
Written by: Christopher Buehlman
Directed by: Dave Bruckner (The Ritual)
A college student brings the wrong bag home from the airport only to find a pretzeled man trapped inside, afflicted by a strange condition that turns his pain into gold.

“Night of the Paw”
Written by: John Esposito
Directed by: John Harrison
A lonely mortician finds company in the ultimate ‘be careful what you wish for’ story.

“Skincrawlers”
Written by: Paul Dini & Stephen Langford
Directed by: Roxanne Benjamin (Body at Brighton Rock)
A man considers a miraculous new treatment for weight loss that turns out to have unexpected complications.

“Times is Tough in Musky Holler”
Written by: John Skipp and Dori Miller, based on their short story
Directed by: John Harrison
Leaders who once controlled a town through fear and intimidation get a taste of their own medicine.

Shudder’s new ”Creepshow” series follows in the footsteps of the iconic 1982 horror classic written by Stephen King and directed by George A. Romero, famously billed as “the most fun you’ll ever have being scared!” A considerable number of contributors to the new series have ties to the film and its 1987 sequel: the series will feature adaptations of a story by King as well as one by his son, Joe Hill, who fans will recall played comic-book loving “Billy” in the original film’s wrap-around segments. ”Creepshow” will premiere on Shudder later this year.

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Trailers

Trailer : Point Blank

A gritty, action-packed thriller starring Anthony Mackie and Frank Grillo

K.T Simpson

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Coming to Netflix this August is “Point Blank”, a gritty, action-packed thriller starring Anthony Mackie and Frank Grillo.

When his pregnant wife is kidnapped and held as collateral, Paul, an ER nurse, must team with the badly injured career criminal and murder suspect under his charge in order to save the lives of his wife and unborn child. Pitted against rival gangs and a deadly ring of corrupt cops, the unlikely duo find a way to survive together in the fight of their lives.

Check out the trailer above and on Netflix July 12, 2019.

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Streaming

Guardians of the Galaxy actor joins Dark Tower series!

the 13-episode series premieres on Amazon in 2020

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According to the actor’s official website, “Guardians of the Galaxy” actor Michael Rooker has joined the cast of Amazon Studio’s “The Dark Tower” series.

The site says Rooker’s role in the 13-episode series, a reboot of the Ron Howard-directed film, is being kept under wraps.

Shooting is currently taking place in Croatia on the pilot, which features Sam Strike as Roland Deschain, aka The Gunslinger, and Jasper Pääkkönen as The Man in Black, aka Randall Flagg.

Based on the story by Stephen King, the series fixes on how Roland became a gunslinger and his first encounter with the villainous Man in Black.

“The Dark Tower” is scheduled for release in 2020.

Michael Rooker

 

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