GUS VAN SANT - TWILIGHT
The controversial art house director of Elephant and Paranoid Park, Gus Van Sant, was bizarrely considered to helm the finale of the Twilight franchise, Breaking Dawn, after actor Robert Pattinson expressed his desire to work with him in an interview. Can you imagine? A Twilight film made entirely of slow-mo long takes? Sadly, however, Van Sant went along to the meeting with Twilight’s producers unprepared, not realizing he needed to sell himself to acquire the job and was eventually unsuccessful. Just to make matters worse, he made Restless instead. Urgh.
STEVEN SPIELBERG - HARRY POTTER
When Warner Bros. purchased the rights to the first four Harry Potter books to the tune of $2 million, the studio's president Alan Horn wanted Steven Spielberg to spearhead their cinematic adaptations. But although Spielberg would have been a natural fit for Potter as a great franchise developer with a catalogue of family-friendly fantasy films under his belt, he and Warner Bros. had some creative differences. The E.T. and Indiana Jones director envisioned it as an animated movie that combined the best parts of all the books, while Horn wanted a live-action movie that focused on one book at a time. After 5 months of development, he dropped out.
QUENTIN TARANTINO - CASINO ROYALE
While James Bond’s producers always believed that Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale was a near unfilmable story – the only adaptation was a parody made with Peter Sellers and Woody Allen in the 1960s – Quentin Tarantino expressed a passionate interest in bringing it to the big screen in the mid-noughties. But when Pierce Brosnan was replaced by Daniel Craig as the celebrated MI6 agent the Pulp Fiction director lost interest in the project. The adaptation, however, had now captured the interest of the blogosphere and the producers consequently decided to persue an adaptation even without Tarantino’s involvement. To this day, the director resents that he was never thanked for his involvement in Casino Royale’s inception. Or that the scene in which Bond cuts off a man's ear to Stuck In The Middle With You was axed from the final cut.
DAVID FINCHER - MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3
The Social Network, Fight Club and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo director was attached to helm the third, and best, installment of the Mission Impossible franchise. However, due to scheduling conflicts involving his role as producer on Lords Of Dogtown, David Fincher sadly had to drop out.
SERGIO LEONE - THE GODFATHER
When seeking potential directors for The Godfather, the legendary spaghetti western filmmaker Sergio Leone was one of the first men approached. The brooding, suspenseful style he displayed in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Once Upon A Time In The West would have complemented the source material perfectly, but he turned down the job to make another gangster film Once Upon A Time In America. Francis Ford Coppola was eventually bestowed the job and made The Godfather a landmark film in cinematic history.
DAVID CRONENBERG - TOTAL RECALL
Earlier this month, never before seen concept art of David Cronenberg’s idea of a Total Recall adaptation surfaced online. The Fly director was approached to helm the film, which was eventually made by Paul Verhoeven, but he and producer Dino De Laurentiis parted ways over creative differences. Rumour has it that Cronenberg’s vision, not entirely surprisingly, consisted of phosphorescent vaginas and agents with guns hidden inside their bodies.
JOSS WHEDON - X-MEN
Joss Whedon’s Marvel ensemble piece The Avengers has taken the world by storm, opening in the US to the tune of $200m and closing in on a global number of $1bn. However, this wasn’t the first time he tried his hand at a Marvel product. The geek messiah originally penned a script for X-Men with the intention of directing, only to be snubbed for the job. The gig landed in Bryan Singer’s lap instead.
TIM BURTON - JURASSIC PARK
Even before Michael Crichton’s novel was published, a number of Hollywood studios campaigned for the rights to adapt Jurassic Park for the big screen. Fox optioned with the intention of giving it to Gremlins director Joe Dante as did Sony with Superman filmmaker Richard Donner in mind. But in the end it came down to two studios: Warner Bros. and Universal. The latter had Steven Spielberg lined-up for the duty while the former had Tim Burton. Eventually, of course, Universal won. What a Burton director Jurassic Park would look like, therefore, will forever remain a mystery. Though you can be pretty certain Johnny Depp would have played a dinosaur.