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9 Movies That Were Supposed to Be Sequels to Other Movies

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Why let a good screenplay go to waste? Sometimes sequel movies get repurposed and recycled into something else that’s new and exciting. Here are nine movies that were supposed to be sequels to other movies. 

1. THE HATEFUL EIGHT (2015)

Quentin Tarantino originally conceived of The Hateful Eight as a sequel to his Django Unchained (2012). But as he began writing, the filmmaker realized that something didn’t feel right about having Django in the middle of the new story. Tarantino felt that Django was too much of a good guy to be part of the deadly situation at the center of The Hateful Eight. "There should be no moral center. I thought it should be a room of bad guys, and you can't trust a word anybody says," Tarantino said during a Q&A at the Alamo Drafthouse in 2015.

“At the time it was called ‘Django in White Hell,’” Tarantino told David Poland. “And it was basically just, you know—so I started writing—and it was basically just the stagecoach stuff, you know, all the stuff that we have in the story of the stagecoach, instead of Major Warren it was Django. And I was working on that and I hadn’t got to Minnie’s Haberdashery yet, hadn’t figured out who the other people would be there, just kind of, just setting this mystery into place.”

2. DIE HARD (1988)

Die Hard is based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 novel, Nothing Lasts Forever. Which is a sequel to his 1966 novel, The Detective, which was adapted into a film starring Frank Sinatra in 1968. When Die Hard was being developed, 20th Century Fox offered the lead role to Sinatra, who wasn’t interested in reprising the part.

“A good bar bet if you want to make some cash is to ask someone: ‘Who was the first actor to play John McClane and in what movie?’ They will say: ‘Bruce Willis in Die Hard' and you say: ‘No! Frank Sinatra in The Detective!’ and then run out before you get beat up,” Die Hard screenwriter Steven E. de Souza told the Bristol Bad Film Club in 2015. “Interestingly, 20th Century Fox had to contractually offer Bruce Willis’s part in Die Hard to Frank Sinatra because it was a sequel to the original book! Fortunately for Bruce, he said: ‘I’m too old and too rich to act any more.’” 

3. PREDATOR (1987)

After Rocky Balboa defeated Ivan Drago and brought together the United States and Russia at the end of Rocky IV, there was a joke in Hollywood that Rocky was running out of people to box and would have to fight a space alien if there was ever a Rocky V. Screenwriters Jim and John Thomas took the joke seriously and started to write the script for Predator, which was originally titled Hunter. Producer Joel Silver really liked the story and picked it up for 20th Century Fox in 1985. Instead of casting Sylvester Stallone in the leading role, Silver cast Arnold Schwarzenegger as Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer after working with him on Commando a few years earlier.

4. COLOMBIANA (2011)

With the success of 1994’s Léon: The Professional, director Luc Besson and his protégé Olivier Megaton tried to make a sequel called Mathilda. After years of running into roadblocks—including Natalie Portman’s rise to stardom and Besson’s rocky relationship with Gaumont Film Company, which owns the rights to The Professional—Besson and Megaton turned their script for Mathilda into Colombiana instead. 

"Ten years ago we decided to make Mathilda, which was the Professional sequel, but we couldn’t do it because of the evolution of a lot of things," said Megaton. “Luc tried to do this movie again and again—he proposed it to me 12 years ago. But when we decided to change the script and to make another movie with a revenge story like Mathilda, he had to give up everything about Mathilda."

5. NIGHTHAWKS (1981)

During the late 1970s, screenwriter David Shaber wrote The French Connection III after the success of the first two feature films for 20th Century Fox. However, Gene Hackman refused to reprise the role of Popeye Doyle, so the project moved to Universal Pictures and Shaber rewrote the script into Nighthawks, with Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams in the main roles.

Fun Fact: The character Popeye Doyle would eventually reappear in a movie, but this time on the small screen. Ed O’Neill played the character in Popeye Doyle, a made-for-TV movie that aired on NBC in 1986.

6. SOLACE (2015)

After the success of Se7en in 1995, New Line Cinema wanted to make a sequel and acquired a script called Solace from Ocean’s Eleven writer Ted Griffin in 2002. With the hope of making a sequel called Ei8ht, the story featured a psychic who helps the FBI find a known serial killer. New Line wanted to change the psychic character to Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman’s character from Se7en), but Se7en director David Fincher was less than enthusiastic about the idea of a sequel.

“I would be less interested in that than I would in having cigarettes put out in my eyes,” the director said during an advanced screening of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button at Lincoln Center in New York City in 2008. “I keep trying to get out from under my own shadow.” He later added, “I don’t want to do the same sh*t over and over.”

In 2013, New Line Cinema continued with the project without Fincher, but made Solace under its original title and characters instead. 

7. SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL (1997)

Before Die Hard with a Vengeance hit theaters during the summer of 1995, 20th Century Fox was interested in turning a spec script called Troubleshooter from writer James Haggin into Die Hard 3. If made, the film would’ve followed John McClane aboard a Caribbean cruise ship with terrorists taking over the luxury ocean liner. Fox scrapped the idea when they learned that Steven Seagal’s Under Siege, which had a very similar story, was in production at Warner Bros. for release in 1992. However, in 1997, Fox reworked Troubleshooter into Speed 2: Cruise Control with Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) and new love interest Alex Shaw (Jason Patric) on board the cruise ship instead. Keanu Reeves was offered $12 million to reprise his role, but said no.

8. MINORITY REPORT (2002)

Originally, Minority Report was developed as a sequel to Total Recall, both of which were based on short stories by Philip K. Dick. When Total Recall became a box office hit in 1990, TriStar Pictures wanted a sequel, so they looked to combine Total Recall with Minority Report and tasked novelist Jon Cohen with adapting the screenplay in 1997. The would-be sequel would’ve seen the precogs from Minority Report changed into the mutants from Total Recall, as they helped Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Douglas Quaid stop crime before it happened on the Red Planet.

However, production company Carolco Pictures, which owned the rights to Total Recall and Minority Report, went out of business, so the sequel project fell to 20th Century Fox where Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise later picked it up for release in 2002.  

9. CYBORG (1989)

During the late 1980s, Cannon Films planned to make a sequel for Masters of the Universe and a live-action Spider-Man movie at the same time. However, the movie studio ran into financial problems because Masters of the Universe was a box office bomb and had to cancel its deals with Mattel and Marvel, who owned He-Man and Spider-Man, respectively. Unfortunately, Cannon had already spent $2 million in pre-production, so the movie studio decided to rework the projects into a new film called Cyborg to make up for the loss. A script was written in one weekend and Jean-Claude Van Damme was cast in the lead role of Gibson Rickenbacker.

“That's part of the Cannon experience—we couldn't shoot these because the check bounced for the rights,” Cyborg director Albert Pyun told io9. “First it was Spider-Man, and then they couldn't bring themselves to tell us they'd also bounced the same check for Mattel [for He-Man]. It was kind of good, though. I was relieved—both Marvel and Mattel were very difficult to deal with, and they just did not want to cooperate.”

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15 Heartwarming Facts About Mister Rogers
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Though Mister Rogers' Neighborhood premiered 50 years ago, Fred Rogers remains an icon of kindness for the ages. An innovator of children’s television, his salt-of-the-earth demeanor and genuinely gentle nature taught a generation of kids the value of kindness. In celebration of the groundbreaking children's series' 50th anniversary, here are 15 things you might not have known about everyone’s favorite “neighbor.”

1. HE WAS BULLIED AS A CHILD.

According to Benjamin Wagner, who directed the 2010 documentary Mister Rogers & Me—and was, in fact, Rogers’s neighbor on Nantucket—Rogers was overweight and shy as a child, and often taunted by his classmates when he walked home from school. “I used to cry to myself when I was alone,” Rogers said. “And I would cry through my fingers and make up songs on the piano.” It was this experience that led Rogers to want to look below the surface of everyone he met to what he called the “essential invisible” within them.

2. HE WAS AN ORDAINED MINISTER.

Rogers was an ordained minister and, as such, a man of tremendous faith who preached tolerance wherever he went. When Amy Melder, a six-year-old Christian viewer, sent Rogers a drawing she made for him with a letter that promised “he was going to heaven,” Rogers wrote back to his young fan:

“You told me that you have accepted Jesus as your Savior. It means a lot to me to know that. And, I appreciated the scripture verse that you sent. I am an ordained Presbyterian minister, and I want you to know that Jesus is important to me, too. I hope that God’s love and peace come through my work on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

3. HE RESPONDED TO ALL HIS FAN MAIL.

Responding to fan mail was part of Rogers’s very regimented daily routine, which began at 5 a.m. with a prayer and included time for studying, writing, making phone calls, swimming, weighing himself, and responding to every fan who had taken the time to reach out to him.

“He respected the kids who wrote [those letters],” Heather Arnet, an assistant on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2005. “He never thought about throwing out a drawing or letter. They were sacred."

According to Arnet, the fan mail he received wasn’t just a bunch of young kids gushing to their idol. Kids would tell Rogers about a pet or family member who died, or other issues with which they were grappling. “No child ever received a form letter from Mister Rogers," Arnet said, noting that he received between 50 and 100 letters per day.

4. ANIMALS LOVED HIM AS MUCH AS PEOPLE DID.

It wasn’t just kids and their parents who loved Mister Rogers. Koko, the Stanford-educated gorilla who understands 2000 English words and can also converse in American Sign Language, was an avid Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood watcher, too. When Rogers visited her, she immediately gave him a hug—and took his shoes off.

5. HE WAS AN ACCOMPLISHED MUSICIAN.

Though Rogers began his education in the Ivy League, at Dartmouth, he transferred to Rollins College following his freshman year in order to pursue a degree in music (he graduated Magna cum laude). In addition to being a talented piano player, he was also a wonderful songwriter and wrote all the songs for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood—plus hundreds more.

6. HIS INTEREST IN TELEVISION WAS BORN OUT OF A DISDAIN FOR THE MEDIUM.

Rogers’s decision to enter into the television world wasn’t out of a passion for the medium—far from it. "When I first saw children's television, I thought it was perfectly horrible," Rogers told Pittsburgh Magazine. "And I thought there was some way of using this fabulous medium to be of nurture to those who would watch and listen."

7. KIDS WHO WATCHED MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD RETAINED MORE THAN THOSE WHO WATCHED SESAME STREET.

A Yale study pitted fans of Sesame Street against Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood watchers and found that kids who watched Mister Rogers tended to remember more of the story lines, and had a much higher “tolerance of delay,” meaning they were more patient.

8. ROGERS’S MOM KNIT ALL OF HIS SWEATERS.

If watching an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood gives you sweater envy, we’ve got bad news: You’d never be able to find his sweaters in a store. All of those comfy-looking cardigans were knitted by Fred’s mom, Nancy. In an interview with the Archive of American Television, Rogers explained how his mother would knit sweaters for all of her loved ones every year as Christmas gifts. “And so until she died, those zippered sweaters I wear on the Neighborhood were all made by my mother,” he explained.

9. HE WAS COLORBLIND.

Those brightly colored sweaters were a trademark of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, but the colorblind host might not have always noticed. In a 2003 article, just a few days after his passing, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote that:

Among the forgotten details about Fred Rogers is that he was so colorblind he could not distinguish between tomato soup and pea soup.

He liked both, but at lunch one day 50 years ago, he asked his television partner Josie Carey to taste it for him and tell him which it was.

Why did he need her to do this, Carey asked him. Rogers liked both, so why not just dip in?

"If it's tomato soup, I'll put sugar in it," he told her.

10. HE WORE SNEAKERS AS A PRODUCTION CONSIDERATION.

According to Wagner, Rogers’s decision to change into sneakers for each episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was about production, not comfort. “His trademark sneakers were born when he found them to be quieter than his dress shoes as he moved about the set,” wrote Wagner.

11. MICHAEL KEATON GOT HIS START ON THE SHOW.

Oscar-nominated actor Michael Keaton's first job was as a stagehand on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, manning Picture, Picture, and appearing as Purple Panda.

12. ROGERS GAVE GEORGE ROMERO HIS FIRST PAYING GIG, TOO.

It's hard to imagine a gentle, soft-spoken, children's education advocate like Rogers sitting down to enjoy a gory, violent zombie movie like Dawn of the Dead, but it actually aligns perfectly with Rogers's brand of thoughtfulness. He checked out the horror flick to show his support for then-up-and-coming filmmaker George Romero, whose first paying job was with everyone's favorite neighbor.

“Fred was the first guy who trusted me enough to hire me to actually shoot film,” Romero said. As a young man just out of college, Romero honed his filmmaking skills making a series of short segments for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, creating a dozen or so titles such as “How Lightbulbs Are Made” and “Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy.” The zombie king, who passed away in 2017, considered the latter his first big production, shot in a working hospital: “I still joke that 'Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy' is the scariest film I’ve ever made. What I really mean is that I was scared sh*tless while I was trying to pull it off.”

13. ROGERS HELPED SAVE PUBLIC TELEVISION.

In 1969, Rogers—who was relatively unknown at the time—went before the Senate to plead for a $20 million grant for public broadcasting, which had been proposed by President Johnson but was in danger of being sliced in half by Richard Nixon. His passionate plea about how television had the potential to turn kids into productive citizens worked; instead of cutting the budget, funding for public TV increased from $9 million to $22 million.

14. HE ALSO SAVED THE VCR.

Years later, Rogers also managed to convince the Supreme Court that using VCRs to record TV shows at home shouldn’t be considered a form of copyright infringement (which was the argument of some in this contentious debate). Rogers argued that recording a program like his allowed working parents to sit down with their children and watch shows as a family. Again, he was convincing.

15. ONE OF HIS SWEATERS WAS DONATED TO THE SMITHSONIAN.

In 1984, Rogers donated one of his iconic sweaters to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

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Art
5 Things You Might Not Know About Ansel Adams

You probably know Ansel Adams—who was born on February 20, 1902—as the man who helped promote the National Park Service through his magnificent photographs. But there was a lot more to the shutterbug than his iconic, black-and-white vistas. Here are five lesser-known facts about the celebrated photographer.

1. AN EARTHQUAKE LED TO HIS DISTINCTIVE NOSE.

Adams was a four-year-old tot when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck his hometown. Although the boy managed to escape injury during the quake itself, an aftershock threw him face-first into a garden wall, breaking his nose. According to a 1979 interview with TIME, Adams said that doctors told his parents that it would be best to fix the nose when the boy matured. He joked, "But of course I never did mature, so I still have the nose." The nose became Adams' most striking physical feature. His buddy Cedric Wright liked to refer to Adams' honker as his "earthquake nose.

2. HE ALMOST BECAME A PIANIST.

Adams was an energetic, inattentive student, and that trait coupled with a possible case of dyslexia earned him the heave-ho from private schools. It was clear, however, that he was a sharp boy—when motivated.

When Adams was just 12 years old, he taught himself to play the piano and read music, and he quickly showed a great aptitude for it. For nearly a dozen years, Adams focused intensely on his piano training. He was still playful—he would end performances by jumping up and sitting on his piano—but he took his musical education seriously. Adams ultimately devoted over a decade to his study, but he eventually came to the realization that his hands simply weren't big enough for him to become a professional concert pianist. He decided to leave the keys for the camera after meeting photographer Paul Strand, much to his family's dismay.

3. HE HELPED CREATE A NATIONAL PARK.

If you've ever enjoyed Kings Canyon National Park in California, tip your cap to Adams. In the 1930s Adams took a series of photographs that eventually became the book Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail. When Adams sent a copy to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, the cabinet member showed it to Franklin Roosevelt. The photographs so delighted FDR that he wouldn't give the book back to Ickes. Adams sent Ickes a replacement copy, and FDR kept his with him in the White House.

After a few years, Ickes, Adams, and the Sierra Club successfully convinced Roosevelt to make Kings Canyon a national park in 1940. Roosevelt's designation specifically provided that the park be left totally undeveloped and roadless, so the only way FDR himself would ever experience it was through Adams' lenses.

4. HE WELCOMED COMMERCIAL ASSIGNMENTS.

While many of his contemporary fine art photographers shunned commercial assignments as crass or materialistic, Adams went out of his way to find paying gigs. If a company needed a camera for hire, Adams would generally show up, and as a result, he had some unlikely clients. According to The Ansel Adams Gallery, he snapped shots for everyone from IBM to AT&T to women's colleges to a dried fruit company. All of this commercial print work dismayed Adams's mentor Alfred Stieglitz and even worried Adams when he couldn't find time to work on his own projects. It did, however, keep the lights on.

5. HE AND GEORGIA O'KEEFFE WERE FRIENDS.

Adams and legendary painter O'Keeffe were pals and occasional traveling buddies who found common ground despite their very different artistic approaches. They met through their mutual friend/mentor Stieglitz—who eventually became O'Keeffe's husband—and became friends who traveled throughout the Southwest together during the 1930s. O'Keeffe would paint while Adams took photographs.

These journeys together led to some of the artists' best-known work, like Adams' portrait of O'Keeffe and a wrangler named Orville Cox, and while both artists revered nature and the American Southwest, Adams considered O'Keeffe the master when it came to capturing the area. 

“The Southwest is O’Keeffe’s land,” he wrote. “No one else has extracted from it such a style and color, or has revealed the essential forms so beautifully as she has in her paintings.”

The two remained close throughout their lives. Adams would visit O'Keeffe's ranch, and the two wrote to each other until Adams' death in 1984.

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