Saw your post on George Miller and Justice League. Any tidbits on what his version would have been like vs. the typical Hollywood one?
Sometimes, I get asked about movies “in production,” or made
recently (a bit outside my wheelhouse), and my response is usually that I only
know what the news sites know…and they don’t know anything.
The script for the unmade George Miller JLA script (possibly not the finished script) leaked online, and some fascinating concept art and storyboards exist for it.
I don’t have psychic powers to tell me how the movie would
have been, but I have trouble imagining a scenario an Aussie JLA film by the “Max Max:
Fury Road” guy starring the Valkyrie as Wonder Woman would have been anything
other than fun. That’s like something a pop culture fan would wish for if
they had access to an omnipotent genie. Max Max: Fury Road was one of my
favorite films of 2015. The DC films we did get ended up being extremely
divisive instead of Guardians of the Galaxy-style crowd pleasers everyone loves, and we only occasionally got
a glimmer of the warm characters we know and that people like.
Although it would be a crying shame to make a Justice League
of America movie without maybe the most scene stealing and gorgeous background
person of all time, Brooke Ecke, who actually might be a real immortal Amazon
from Paradise Island who brought her own Amazonium armor to the shoot and just kept
edging into frame. Most upstagingly gorgeous extra since Figwit in Lord of the
Rings. Remember Figwit, how that was a thing in the early internet? He ended up getting his own action figure. If they end up making more of these, I hope they do the same for Ms. Ecke, give her dialogue, make her a part of the plot.
Personally, my favorite tragically unmade films have to be:
Odd John starring David McCallum. There was talk there was
going to be a film adaptation of Olaf Stapledon’s scifi novel Odd John in the
late 1960s, featuring a weird sinister advanced mutant the world isn’t ready
for, starring David McCallum. Alas, it never happened, but that’s a case of
Time Machine II. Not much is known about this one, but there would
have been a sequel to George Pal’s Time Machine with the original cast, and it
would have involved stop motion monsters made by Ray Harryhausen. George Pal
and Harryhausen sounds like a dream film!
Federico Fellini’s Mandrake the
Magician. Tastes differ, but I’ve always thought the warm, humorous and human
Fellini was the greatest director of all time (I’ve always preferred “warm”
directors like Fellini and Spielberg to “cold” ones like Kubrick and Nolan).
Fellini was actually close friends with comics great Lee Falk, and he tried for
years to make a Mandrake film with Marcello Mastroianni and Claudia Cardinale (he was not alone: his fellow Italian Sergio Leone wanted to make a movie about another Lee Falk creation, the Phantom, in the 1970s). Fellini loved magicians; a big plot point in the otherwise realistic Nights of Cabiria was a stage magician who hypnotizes people. Fellini loved Mandrake so much that he did a photo shoot for French Vogue with Mastroianni in full costume as he would have appeared for the movie.
Supposedly, Marcello Mastroianni wanted the role so badly that he interrupted a meeting on the second story of a building by “levitating” up to the window.
By far the single most tragically unmade film of all time,
in my opinion, would have been the War Eagles in the late 1930s, a film created by the people who made King Kong, like King Kong director Merian C. Cooper and with special effects by Willis O’Brien, who did the original King Kong effects. The plot is that an American aviator, when flying over the south pole, crashes and finds a lost land of Vikings who ride giant birds. In the finale, the Nazis attack Manhattan with fleet of Zeppelins equipped with something that sounds like an EMP, and so the only hope is for our hero to ride to the rescue on the back of giant birds with his Viking allies. The final battle would have been over the Statue of Liberty. The only thing we have left of the film is concept art, a script, and some special effects test footage.
War Eagles ended up not being made for maybe the awesomest reason: Merian C. Cooper, director/producer, left the United States to join the anti-fascist Flying Tiger aviators in China. Also, the anti-Nazi themes of the film made it incredibly controversial in the late 1930s. The film was never made, but it’s pretty obvious that if it had been, it would have changed movie history the way King Kong did.