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12 Movies Steven Spielberg Almost Made

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With 28 feature films under his belt, Steven Spielberg is one of the most prolific directors working in Hollywood today. While he's directed more than his fair share of classic films, there are still a few blockbusters that Spielberg could have made throughout his career but didn't for various reasons. Here are 12 movies the Academy Award-winning director almost made.

1. Interstellar

In 2006, Steven Spielberg was attached to direct Interstellar for Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Entertainment. He loved the eight-page story treatment that featured wormholes and time travel from film producer Lynda Obst and theoretical physicist Kip Thorne. Screenwriter Jonathan Nolan signed on to write the project in 2007, but Spielberg officially left the project when DreamWorks moved from Paramount to Walt Disney Pictures in 2009, and Nolan's brother Christopher stepped in to direct.

2. American Sniper

After the success of Lincoln in 2012, Steven Spielberg lined up an adaptation of American Sniper, a biopic about the military life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who was considered "the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History," as his next project. Bradley Cooper bought the film rights to the autobiography with plans to co-produce and star. Spielberg was brought on to direct and produce for Warner Bros. Pictures and DreamWorks, but the director and movie studio dropped out of the project when his vision didn't line up with Warner Bros.' planned budget. Instead, Clint Eastwood stepped in to direct.

3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Steven Spielberg optioned The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 1991. He wanted Tom Cruise to play the lead role, but he dropped out to direct Jurassic Park and Schindler's List instead. If he had made The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, it would've been the first time Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise worked together. However, the pair found each other again for Minority Report in 2002 and War of the Worlds in 2005.

"Tom and I had been friends for many, many years," he told Entertainment Weekly. "We had considered working together. Benjamin Button, we had talked about maybe doing together, long before Minority Report. But nothing quite gelled for either of us."

In 2008, David Fincher took on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt in the titular role and longtime Spielberg collaborators Kathleen Kennedy (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) and Frank Marshall (Raiders of the Lost Ark) as producers.

4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

In 2000, then-Warner Bros. CEO Alan Horn offered Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to Steven Spielberg after the studio bought the film rights to the widely popular young adult book series. Spielberg had a few ideas of what he wanted do with a Harry Potter movie, including combining the first two books into one film and making it computer animated with Haley Joel Osment as Harry Potter. Alas, Warner Bros. and J. K. Rowling were deeply opposed to Spielberg's pitches.

"I just felt that I wasn't ready to make an all-kids movie and my kids thought I was crazy,” Spielberg told the BBC. “And the books were by that time popular, so when I dropped out, I knew it was going to be a phenomenon. But, you know I don't make movies because they're gonna to be phenomenons. I make movies because they have to touch me in a way that really commits me to a year, two years, three years of work."

He decided to make A.I. Artificial Intelligence instead, while Warner Bros. hired Chris Columbus to direct Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets.

5. Cape Fear

Before Martin Scorsese was brought on to direct, Steven Spielberg was attached to helm the 1991 remake of Cape Fear. Spielberg left the project to focus on Jurassic Park and Schindler's List, but remained one of its producers with Robert De Niro and Nick Nolte already signed on to star.

6. The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3

After the success of The Sugarland Express in 1974, Spielberg was interested in directing the New York City subway heist film The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 for United Artists. Studio executive David Picker recognized that the young director had talent but thought the movie would be better suited for director Joseph Sargent, with Spielberg going on to make Jaws instead.

7. Big Fish

In 2000, Steven Spielberg was briefly attached to direct Big Fish. He reportedly wanted Jack Nicholson in the role of Edward Bloom, a retired businessman with a knack for spinning tall tales. Spielberg dropped out of the project to complete Minority Report and start production on Catch Me If You Can instead, while Tim Burton was brought in to direct Big Fish for Columbia Pictures. Albert Finney was cast to play older Edward Bloom, while Ewan McGregor played the younger version.

8. Memoirs of a Geisha

Steven Spielberg wanted to bring Memoirs of a Geisha to the big screen since the book was first published in 1997. He bought the film rights with intentions of directing it, but the director opted to take on A.I. Artificial Intelligence instead. However, Spielberg remained one of the film's producers, as Rob Marshall directed the film adaptation in 2005.

9. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Steven Spielberg agreed to direct The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with Jim Carrey in the titular role in 2003. It would have been a co-production between Paramount and DreamWorks, but the director dropped out of the project in 2004 when a script couldn't come together in time. He opted to work on War of the Worlds and Munich instead, while Jim Carrey also dropped out to star in Fun with Dick and Jane.

Ben Stiller signed on to star and direct The Secret Life of Walter Mitty in 2011 and it was released two years later.

10. Rain Man

According to screenwriter Ronald Bass, Steven Spielberg began working with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise on Rain Man, but later forfeited his directing duties to make Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Barry Levinson was brought on to direct, and it won four Academy Awards in 1988, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Actor in a Leading Role for Dustin Hoffman.

11. White Lightning

In 1973, Steven Spielberg expressed interest in directing Burt Reynolds in the action film White Lightning for United Artists. He worked on it for a few months before taking on The Sugarland Express because he felt he wasn't the right director for it.

"The one thing that came to me that I almost made was White Lightning, the Burt Reynolds picture," Steven Spielberg told Film Comment in 1978. "I spent two-and-a-half months on the film, met Burt once, found most of the locations and began to cast the movie, until I realized it wasn’t something that I wanted to do for a first film. I didn’t want to start my career as a hard-hat, journeyman director. I wanted to do something that was a little more personal."

12. E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears

During the success of its first theatrical run during the summer of 1982, Steven Spielberg considered making a sequel to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial called E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears. He co-wrote a nine-page story treatment with screenwriter Melissa Mathison that followed evil aliens coming to Earth to kidnap Elliott and his friends, only to have E.T. come back to save the day. Smartly, Spielberg never made E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears because he felt that it "would do nothing but rob the original of its virginity."

Pop Chart Lab
The Origins of 36 Marvel Characters, Illustrated
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

No matter what their powers, every super hero has an origin story, from Spider-Man’s radioactive bite to Iron Man’s life-threatening chest shrapnel. In their latest poster, the designers at Pop Chart Lab have taken their infographic savvy to the Marvel Universe, charting the heroic origins of 36 different Marvel characters through miniature, minimalist comics.

Without using any words, they’ve managed to illustrate Bucky Barnes's plane explosion and subsequent transformation into the Winter Soldier, Jessica Jones’s car crash, the death of the Punisher’s family, and other classic stories from the major Marvel canon while paying tribute to the comic book form.

Explore the poster below, and see a zoomable version on Pop Chart Lab’s website.

A poster featuring 36 minimalist illustrations of superhero origin stories.
Pop Chart Lab

Keep your eyes open for future Marvel-Pop Chart crossovers. The Marvel Origins: A Sequential Compendium poster is “the first release of what we hope to be a marvelous partnership,” as Pop Chart Lab’s Galvin Chow puts it. Prints are available for pre-order starting at $37 and are scheduled to start shipping on March 8.

Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Your $10 Donation Can Help an Underprivileged Child See A Wrinkle in Time for Free
Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Theater chain AMC is teaming with the Give a Child the Universe initiative to help underprivileged kids see A Wrinkle in Time for free through ticket donations. The initiative was started by Color of Change, a nonprofit advocacy group that designs “campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward.”

"Color of Change believes in the power of images and supports those working to change the rules in Hollywood so that inclusive, empathetic and human portrayals of black people and people of color are prominent on the screen,” the initiative’s executive director, Rashad Robinson, said in a statement:

Director Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time is the perfect subject for the group because, as Robinson puts it, “By casting a black teenage actress, Storm Reid, as the heroine at the center of this story, the filmmakers and the studio send a powerful message to millions of young people who will see someone like them embracing their individuality and strength to save the world.”

The movie touts a diverse cast that includes Mindy Kaling, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Zach Galifianakis, and Chris Pine. The most important member of the cast, though, is 14-year-old Storm Reid, who plays the main character Meg Murry, a young girl who tries to save her father (Pine) who is trapped in another dimension. The movie is based on the acclaimed 1962 fantasy novel by author Madeleine L'Engle.

If you’d like to donate a ticket (or more), you can just head over to the Give a Child the Universe website and pledge an amount. AMC will provide one ticket to children and teens nationwide for every $10 given to the cause.

And if you’re interested in seeing the movie yourself, A Wrinkle in Time opens on March 9, 2018.

[h/t E! Online]


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