I love movie mysteries. Mysteries surrounding movies that fail to happen, movies left toiling for years, movies unable to secure funding or overcome any number of obstacles en route to their completion or release. There are plenty of fascinating stories, like Terry Gilliam's ill-fated attempts to make a film about Don Quixote with Johnny Depp, which spawned Lost in La Mancha, a documentary about a feature film that for a wide range of reasons was never completed. It should have been, but at least we have an excellent document of Gilliam's attempts.
Stanley Kubrick's massive epic that never was, Napoleon, is perhaps the white whale for cinephiles wondering what might have been. Studio executives decided that historical epics weren't cool enough at the time Kubrick sought funding, thus depriving generations of film students and movie fans what could have been yet another masterpiece from one of cinema's greatest auteurs. Kubrick's unfilmed vision, at the very least, became a beautiful, exhaustive, 1,112-page hardback doorstop of a book, probably the most spectacular volume ever created about a movie that never existed, so there's that.
Obsessing over what might have been is a quick prescription for depression, but cultivating a healthy curiosity over films that almost happened or might happen and unearthing related trivia can be fun. I'm excited that Gilliam has found someone to invest in his unique brand of transcendent cinematic weirdness once again with his latest head trip, this one starring Christoph Waltz and titled The Zero Theorem.
Speaking of masterpieces that should have been, remember the Halo movie? What would surely have been the first good movie based on a video game, ever...the one that never happened? Though I've written here and here about the history of his rocky relationship with a potential Halo movie project, I'm still interested in what may yet occur between Neill Blomkamp and his is-he-or-isn't-he involvement with an as-yet non-existent Halo film.
Following the Xbox One's release and Microsoft's announcement that Steven Spielberg will produce a forthcoming episodic live action series set in the Halo universe, the rumor mill fired up again this week, saying that Blomkamp may direct the first episode. I still believe that Blomkamp is the best director for the job, if a Halo movie ever happens, and if we don't get a movie and instead have only this series, he's the obvious choice.
Just in case, somehow, you're not convinced that Peter Jackson's protege (the digital effects wunderkind turned director who brought us District 9 and Elysium) has the chops to helm a future Halo movie or series, please check out his two aforementioned movies, and revisit this compiled collection of his live-action Halo shorts, LANDFALL, produced in the buildup to the Halo 3 video game's release.
Thinking about what might have been reminds me of a great local film project, a labor of love that never got off the ground, despite a hilarious script and a great trailer, shot locally and featuring a few zombified friends of mine. Inspired by classics of the zombie genre like the Evil Dead trilogy and Sean of the Dead, The South Will Rise Again was to be a comedic love story about "zombies, karate and rednecks." See also: shotguns, heavy metal, dirt bikes, trailer parks, ninja swords, meth labs and headbands. What else do you need to achieve comic cinematic brilliance? Financiers, I guess. I keep hoping this film will rise from the dead, but it's been nearly a decade, and I'm still waiting. The fact that the world continues to be deprived of this film is wrong. Very wrong. Very, very wrong.
Speaking of karate and cinematic brilliance, how about a new 80s-inspired movie featuring a Kung-fu super-cop versus a Nazi Kung-fu Fuhrer, plus Thor, his Uzi-packing Viking lady-friend, a DeLorean, a boombox, dinosaurs, killer arcade machines and a time-travel-enabling Nintendo power glove? Sign me up. So I'm a little late to the party. Big surprise. Somehow I missed the wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the now certain-to-be-completed film known as Kung Fury, but I can rest easy now, knowing that I'll definitely have the pleasure of experiencing it, thanks to 17,713 investors who agree that it must exist, for the betterment of all humanity.
Thank you, kind investors. Please invest your remaining dollars in The South Will Rise Again. The world thanks you. If only I could convince the writers of TSWRA to launch a Kickstarter campaign...
PS. Speaking of kicking the crap out of Nazis, here's more good news. Dead Snow 2 is coming out. Holy crap, I'm stoked. If you like zombie movies and somehow missed the first one, do yourself a favor and watch it tonight. Then watch this trailer for Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead.