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Which unproduced movie should Hollywood make right now?

June 7, 2011 |  4:26 pm

At a gathering of Hollywood producers this past weekend, one question recurred at a number of sessions: Which unproduced film would panelists most like to see made?

Harvey Weinstein said he'd long wanted to pull off a sequel to "Rounders." "I never make sequels but it's something I'd like to revisit," the independent film mogul said, adding that the Web had changed the world of poker such that he could imagine a whole new vein of drama. (There is a preliminary agreement for Weinstein to develop a sequel with the company that bought the Miramax library, but nothing actively is in the works.)

Chabon Morgan Freeman, meanwhile, added his own dream project: a movie based on an Arthur C. Clarke work titled "Rendezvous With Rama." The 1972 sci-fi novel tells of humans who come upon an alien craft that has entered Earth's path. Freeman acquired rights from Clarke about 15 years ago, he said, with high hopes. There's only one obstacle in the way. "If we get a script, we got a movie," Freeman said. It's hardly a small hurdle, and it's a reason the movie likely won't get made anytime soon.

But these difficulties notwithstanding, the discussions called to mind the many unfulfilled ambitions in Hollywood, and which project the rest of us would like to see made. We took a quick informal poll around the office asking which novel, property or real-life story people would most like to see turned into a film.

Among the names that popped up was an adaptation of "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay," Michael Chabon's Pulitzer-winner that has been stuck in development limbo for a decade, as well as "Geek Love," Katherine Dunn's cult classic about carnival parents who begin experimenting on their own children.

There's also the screen version of "Independence Day" and the two related books in Richard Ford's series about a troubled male protagonist; there had been off-and-on attempts to develop it, including an effort as an HBO miniseries with "Walk the Line" director James Mangold, but no dice so so far.

If one were to ask late film legends, the answer might come back differently: Stanley Kubrick, for instance, dreamed for years of making an epic out of the story of Napoleon.

The list could go on. For years, fans clamored for "Ender's Game" and are finally getting their wish as a film moves forward with "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" director Gavin Hood. "Atlas Shrugged" is already a movie, but hard-core Randians could be yearning for adaptations of other works.

Most of us have mixed feelings about these dream projects: we're curious to see how the material would be rendered onscreen even as we fear that he development delays (not to mention the difficulty of the material) signal that a film version won't be very good. And yet we remain hopeful.

We thought we'd ask you to weigh in with your preferred material -- could be a novel, could be a real-life story, could even be a video game -- that you'd most like to see turned into a movie. Maybe even throw in an actor or director you'd most like to see do it. We'll tally the results and see which project comes out on top.

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: The jacket of "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay." Credit: Picador

Comments () | Archives (10)

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This is an interesting question, but I have to wonder if it is the wrong question. How difficult is it to make one's own stories without groping for a material already written? More importantly, I wonder if these decade old quagmires are still relevant, which might be a coin toss at best, because for every Ender's Game, that could be stretched to examine the internet, child soldiers, and so on, there would be a Watchmen in which the threat of nuclear catastrophe lingers far out of the public conscience, and the cold war binary has been replaced with a faceless enemy in terrorism.

While there is less of a hope for instant success when taking into account an original story, seeking stories that breathe the air of the moment and not the past will have a greater impact on viewers, and plumbing old text will never fully get there.

DANDELION WINE...coming of age in the American Midwest, by one of America's greatest storytellers and mythmakers -- Ray Bradbury.

Do it in black and white or sepia tone at the least. Follow 80 percent of the book for the screenplay story and character structure...and cast mostly unknown or strong and solid character actors. But you'll need an unknown in the young boy lead. You just can't miss with this great story...unless you Hollywood-ize it.

It's that simple.

The third part of Robert Towne's "Chinatown" trilogy.

The Winter King Trilogy by Bernard Cornwell. But no Peter Jackson over-dramatization thank you, and leave in his views on religion.

An easier to fund project would be "The Secret History" by Donna Tartt

People have been talking about these upcoming sequels:
-Independence Day 2 and 3
-The Mummy 4
-National Treasure 3
-Pirates of the Caribbean 5
-Indiana Jones 5
-Jumper 2
I can say that I'm looking forward to them, but I've been interested-in November George Lucas said that he would take a look at this new technology that could bring old actors back to the screen and I was thinking-will they make the sequel to Casablanca that was Michael Walsh's brilliant novel As Time Goes By?
These are just a few movies I want to make as a screenwriter:
Check out some of the other lists there as well and leave me feedback if you can.

The Alienist

For many years, I've dreamed of a remake of the 1966 John Frankenheimer-directed film "Seconds," which starred Rock Hudson in possibly his greatest performance. The original was excellent and superbly crafted, which could be considered a daunting standard by which a remake would be judged. Even so, since the original dealt with the ultimate cosmetic surgery and we've developed into such a glamour- and plastic-surgery-obssessed society, the subject matter would be most timely. A remake would also be a great opportunity for use of special effects, also very popular with film-goers and much more sophisticated now than in 1966.

Shakespeare's Henry IV with Martin Sheen as King Henry.

A sumptuous, deep-color-saturation version of "The Fountainhead" would be fantastic right now. Sure to create a furor with the sex scenes alone.

Yeah...DANDELION WINE by RAY BRADBURY is a big winner with me, but then I forgot...

I'm dealing with Hollywood, and no one's smart enough to know who Bradbury is, let alone one of his greatest works.

And then I realized, even if they did by the rights...they'd screw it up.
Because, that's what hollywood does these days.


I figured if they're going to screw a really good script up in rewrites and eternal notes, etc., just buy my horror thriller scripts...LEGACY or THE BOUNDARY.

Gimme my buying price and you can screw them all over Hollywood.

I'll cry all the way to the bank. Oh yeahhhhh.


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