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Added by moviebuff on 10 Jul 2013 04:34
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Top 10 Films That Almost Never Got Made

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People who added this item 3738 Average listal rating (2199 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.5
The production history of this film is so troubled, so intense that it’s impossible not to applaud Francis Ford Coppola’s dedication. In fact, applause isn’t nearly enough. Give this man a country to run! Seriously. Here’s the story:

Apocalypse Now was originally intended to be a low budget film, using minimal crew and shot over a period of six weeks. In actual fact, it took 17 months to shoot and Coppola ended up with over 200 hours of footage, which took over 3 years to edit. At one stage, production had to be closed down after Typhoon Olga tore through several expensive sets. Coppola eventually invested his entire fortune in completing the film, and the budget ended up at around $35 million, which for the late 70s was madness!

Marlon Brando famously turned up on set drunk, overweight, and having not prepared at all. He hadn’t even read Heart of the Darkness, which was the basis of the film, and hated Coppola’s script. In the end, Coppola agreed that Brando could improvise, and there was a hefty use of shadow in shots to disguise the surplus folds of fatty flesh Brando had packed on.

If that wasn’t enough, Martin Sheen suffered a severe heart attack and had to struggle for a quarter of a mile to find help. Seriously, that really happened. I can’t imagine how Coppola dealt with the negative reviews. And there were… negative reviews.

For an even more detailed look at how Apocalypse Now was plagued by script, shooting, budget, and casting problems, nearly destroying Francis Ford Coppola’s life and career, check out the 1991 Emmy award winning documentary Heart of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, directed by Francis Ford Coppola’s wife, Eleanor Coppola.
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People who added this item 1343 Average listal rating (878 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.6
The Omen didn’t exactly suffer from tensions between cast and crew or financial difficulties. The problems that this production faced are so extraordinary that it has been labeled a “Cursed Film,” alongside The Exorcist and Poltergeist. It’s hard to know where to start:

- Scriptwriter David Seltzer’s plane was struck by lightning, as was Gregory Peck’s and Executive Producer Mace Neufeld’s.

- Gregory Peck’s son shot himself.

- The IRA bombed one of the hotels that crew members were staying at, as well as a restaurant the cast and director were due to dine at.

- A plane that the cast was due to take was rescheduled and used for a commercial flight. This plane subsequently crashed, killing everyone on board.

- Handlers were attacked by their own animals. One was killed by a lion.

- The craziest fact is that on Friday the 13th of August 1976, Special Effects Consultant John Richardson crashed his car in Holland. His assistant was killed by being cut in half by the car's front wheel. Climbing out of the wreckage, Richardson looked up and saw a road sign: Ommen, 66.6km.

Yes, it all seems a bit too much to be honest. Yet again, truth is stranger than fiction. If only we could film what really happens out there in the world, but people wouldn’t believe it. Regardless, I’m not taking any chances. I will never be a runner for a horror film. Period.
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People who added this item 2517 Average listal rating (1539 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.1
Oliver Stone wrote what was to become the inspiration for Platoon, after finishing his tour of duty in Vietnam in 1968. He made it into a screenplay, called it Break and sent it off to Jim Morrison… as in Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors. Morrison never responded and the script was reportedly with him when he died. It was then sent back to Stone, and he decided to attend film school instead.

Break was then developed into Platoon and sent around several studios. However, due to Hollywood’s apathy towards Vietnam at the time, nobody picked it up. But that wasn’t the end… obviously. They liked Stone’s writing, and he was hired to write Midnight Express in 1978. Even after the huge success of this film, studios still refused to finance Platoon, no thanks to the release of The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now.

Stone instead tried to break into the mainstream by directing low budget horror films. He eventually caught the eye of producer Dino De Laurentiis, who agreed to produce Platoon if Stone wrote Year of the Dragon for a small fee. The trouble was then finding a distributor.

Further down the line, another script of Stone’s, which was to become Salvador, caught the attention of Hemdale, the British production company. They loved the script so much that they agreed to finance both Salvador and Platoon. And there you have it. Perseverance really is the key.
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If you’re a hardcore Star Wars fan (something I, apologetically, am not – don’t shoot me), you’ve probably heard at least part of its production history, but fan or not given the sheer outrageous magnitude of Star Wars’ popularity, it’s hard to believe that this franchise of films nearly went unmade.

Given that sci-fi wasn’t the most popular genre at the time, United Artists and Universal passed on Lucas’ big idea, deeming it too risky with the high budget that it would require. Eventually, Lucas was able to seal a deal with Alan Ladd Jr., the head of 20thCentury Fox. He was able to secure the sequel rights and protect most of the merchandising profits. Ladd didn’t necessarily believe in the film, but he believed that Lucas was talented. Lucas was quoted as saying that Ladd “invested in me, he did not invest in the movie.”

The production itself of this first film (Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope) also went less than smoothly. The first week of shooting, in the Tunisian desert, was interrupted by a rainstorm and numerous technical problems, including malfunctioning props. In addition, most of the crew had trouble taking the film seriously. They thought it would fail and thought of it as a “children’s film.”

Eventually, the film fell behind schedule by two weeks. Ladd informed Lucas that if he didn’t complete Star Wars within the next week, he would shut down the production. A reshuffling of the crew, and a separation into three units, meant that they were able to meet this deadline, however, not before Lucas was diagnosed with hypertension and exhaustion. Thank God he survived to complete Star Wars, one of the most successful and influential films of all time, sparking an entire Star Wars generation and the beginning of what would become the Star Wars saga.
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This one must have been painful. You write and sell your precious script for the very first time… it’s beautiful and blossoming and full of hope, and then you get fired and replaced. Ouch!

Michael Arndt sold his script for Little Miss Sunshine to producer Marc Turtletaub for $250,000. It was pitched to several studios and eventually picked up by Focus Features. They wanted to rewrite the film and have the focus mainly on Richard Hoover, the husband played by Greg Kinnear. When Arndt disagreed, he was promptly fired and replaced. When the replacement had been rewriting for about 4 weeks, a new studio head arrived and Arndt was back in. Sorry replacement. Back you go to your corner, being a replacement. Poor replacement…

Anyway, Focus Features dropped out after two years of pre-production and Little Miss Sunshine was left treading water. So Turtletaub bought back the rights from Focus for $400,000 and paid the $8 million budget himself. What a nice man!
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I know some hardcore BTTF fans who would be horrified to hear that their absolute favouritest thing ever nearly wasn’t made!

The first draft of Back to the Future was rejected by Columbia Pictures, who deemed it “not sexual enough.” For the next four years, every studio that Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale approached rejected it. They even tried pitching it to Disney, who weren’t a fan of the whole mother-son creepy incest thing.

Throughout all of this, Gale and Zemeckis avoided going to Spielberg, who was a friend, as they didn’t want to be known as “two guys who could only get a job because we were pals with Steven Spielberg” (Gale.) However, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and take advantage of such wonderful connections. That’s what they’re there for! After achieving success with Romancing the Stone, Zemeckis approached Spielberg and Universal Pictures led the way.

The next problem was securing the star for the role of Marty McFly. Their first choice had always been Michael J. Fox, but he had commitments with the TV show Family Ties. Eric Stoltz was hired instead. However, four weeks into filming, Zemeckis just could not be without Fox and decided to recast. Stoltz was out on his ear, a deal was made with Family Ties so that Fox could do both (which led to painfully long working days for him), and reshoots cost them an extra $3 million. Was it worth it? I think so. Additionally, Christopher Lloyd took a lot of persuading from his wife to even look at the script. Near miss! The franchise wouldn’t have worked with any other pair!
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People who added this item 1832 Average listal rating (1245 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.1
Most of the time, it’s worth powering through all of these production woes. Arguably, some of the best films have faced terrible bumps in the road. Waterworld is one of those films that should have just been allowed to die.

When the facts of a film’s production eventually acquire more interest than the film itself, you know you’re in trouble. Universal Pictures initially agreed on a budget of $100 million. This grew to $175 million, a record for its time.

New writers were brought in, including James Newton Howard to write a new score, and Joss Whedon to do some last-minute script doctoring. He described it as “seven weeks of hell.”

Production was delayed after a hurricane destroyed a multi-million dollar set. Kevin Costner almost died when he got caught up in a sudden, violent windstorm. The stunt coordinator was rushed to the hospital and Costner’s stunt double was temporarily lost at sea. The sea does not want you there, Mr. Costner. You should have listened!
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People who added this item 4354 Average listal rating (2806 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.2
There’s something about the concept of Blade Runner that, for its time, makes you think it would have been rushed to the studios. But no. If anything, the concept was so interesting that it took a few rewrites to get it right. Philip K. Dick, the author of the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which was the inspiration for Blade Runner, was thoroughly unimpressed with the first draft. He later said, “Robert Jaffe, who wrote the screenplay, flew down here to Orange County. I said to him then that it was so bad that I wanted to know if he wanted me to beat him up there at the airport or wait till we got to my apartment.” Fair enough. Good luck to the next guy. The screenplay was then written by Hampton Fancher and optioned in 1977.

Then it was a matter of getting Ridley Scott on board. He had previously declined the project, but after leaving the slow production of Dune, and after the recent death of his older brother, Blade Runner looked like a good way to take his mind off things. Scott hired David Peoples to rewrite the script and managed to bump up the budget from $13 million to $15 million.

Just before filming was due to start, Filmways withdrew financial backing. However, this turned out to be a positive move for Blade Runner. Producer Michael Deeley was eventually able to secure $21.5 million from three different companies. Brilliant!
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Thanks to a fantastic article by Corinna Honan for the Daily Mail, I dug up some facts about the production of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. On the surface, it’s believed to be a delightful little film that secured Hepburn’s place in Hollywood. In reality, its production was dominated by egos, tempers, and tantrums, and at first Marilyn Monroe was even tipped to play Holly Golightly!

After deciding that Hepburn was better suited for the role, it took a lot of arm-twisting by producers Richard Shepherd and Martin Jurow to get her to sign on. She was nervous at the prospect of playing a woman of “questionable virtue” and was concerned that it would damage her image. She eventually relented, but not before drawing out some of her own conditions. Firstly, she wanted her character to be softened and not quite so implicitly sexual. Secondly, she wanted the director out. She wanted a bigger name that would ensure the success of the film. So out went John Frankenheimer and in came Blake Edwards. Hepburn was content. Edwards was not. Upon arrival, he believed that George Peppard was grossly miscast as Paul Varjak. However, the producers overruled him and Peppard stayed on. Awkkkwwaaarrd!

Truman Capote, writer of the original novella that Breakfast at Tiffany’s was loosely based on, reportedly proclaimed, for all to hear, that he thought Hepburn was wrong for the role. He would have preferred Monroe. He also wanted the role of Varjak for himself, but was gently let down by Shepherd and Jurow. Bruised egos and uncomfortable lunches all round.
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What would have happened if Disney made A Nightmare on Elm Street? It would have been the least horrifying horror film of all time, and Robert Englund would probably have been replaced by a fuzzy-wuzzy bear with sharp claws. But Disney nearly did pick up, being the first studio to show interest when Wes Craven went a-pitching. However, they wanted the content to be toned down a bit for the kids. Laughable.

Paramount Pictures then showed a bit of interest but later dropped it for being too similar for their current production: Dreamscape. Eventually, the New Line Cinema corporation, a small and independent film company, picked it up to be their first actual film production. During filming, the distribution deal fell through and cast and crew were unable to be paid for two weeks. Fair play to this small company; they powered through and went on to make even bigger films. A Nightmare on Elm Street went on to become the second highest grossing horror franchise of all time, after Friday the 13th. A Nightmare on Elm Street is where it all started for New Line and holds an important place in their history. The studio is often referred to “The House that Freddy Built.”
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