The “what-if?” game is super fun to play with movies. It’s a nice little thought exercise, imagining how a movie might have turned out if someone else was at the helm.
But sometimes, those scenarios are way closer to happening than you’d ever imagine, and we’re going to run down some of the craziest “what-ifs?” that came close to happening.
It’s really hard to imagine anyone but Steven Spielberg directing
Jurassic Park. It has every sign of his style, kids, monsters, badass set-pieces, a John Williams’ musical score for the ages, and so much more. The film is based on a book by Michael Crichton, and when a book gets noticed in Hollywood, the bidding wars can be pretty intense, and Spielberg managed to close the deal before…
All of that nice stuff about Spielberg being said, I’d LOVE to see James Cameron make a
Jurassic Park movie, even if Cameron himself admitted that he wasn’t right for the material. From a Huffington Post interview, Cameron said:
“But when I saw the film, I realized that I was not the right person to make the film, he was. Because he made a dinosaur movie for kids, and mine would have been aliens with dinosaurs, and that wouldn’t have been fair.
“Dinosaurs are for 8-year-olds. We can all enjoy it, too, but kids get dinosaurs and they should not have been excluded for that. His sensibility was right for that film, I’d have gone further, nastier, much nastier.”
On one hand, he’s kind of not wrong. On the other, “
Aliens with dinosaurs” sounds like a movie I’d plug directly into the center of my brain, so maybe just maybe someone should get around to making that.
It is one of the biggest horror movies of the 2010s, a financial superheat with a highly anticipated sequel. And while the final film was directed by Andy Muschietti, the director of Mama, if you look in the writer credits for the final film, you can spot the man who was originally signed on for the job…
Cary Fukunaga is a name that I guarantee you’ve run across at some point. He’s an up and coming director who started in the global film circuit but found massive acclaim after directing the entire first season of
True Detective. He’s known for being uncompromising in his vision, and rumor has it that’s what got him kicked from It (though, they used parts of his script).
And hey, don’t feel too bad for Fukunaga. While he lost the It gig, he actually is taking over for the next James Bond movie after
28 Days Later director Danny Boyle stepped down, so we’ll get to see just how much Fukunaga can do in the blockbuster arena.
This film has a LONG history. Well, at least in Hollywood terms.
The Revenant is based on a book of the same name about legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass, and the book rights were bought all the way back in 2001. There’s a fairly long list of people who almost got the gig, but the most batshit by far was…
I do not expect people to recognize this name, but I do suspect plenty will recognize that GIF from
Oldboy, arguably his most famous film (and arguably his most famous scene, which launched hundreds of imitators). Imagine the motherfucker who made Oldboy making The Revenant. I don’t know if it would have been good, but it would have been fucking apeshit at the very least.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
So, weird bit of trivia: The first
Hunger Games movie was directed by Gary Ross, best known for directing Seabiscuit and Pleasantville. When it came time for the sequel, the studio wanted someone else, and they had a LONG list of contenders. While they ultimately settled on Constantine director Francis Lawrence, there’s one contender that stands out as fucking unbelievable…
I… I don’t even know where to start with this. I seriously doubt that Cronenberg would have ever agreed to make a PG-13 movie in the first place, considering that he was one of the most notorious filmmakers of the 1980s. But I’ll be honest, if
The Hunger Games movies were allowed to have an R-rating, I would have done unholy things to see this come together. Also, obligatory:
Let’s continue (and we’ve saved the craziest for last).
Star Wars – Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
If you asked me what the most common misconception about Star Wars is (besides the whole “Luke, I’m your father” thing, the actual line in
Empire is “No, I am your father”) is that George Lucas directed the entire original trilogy. He only directed A New Hope, and due to a massive dispute with the Director’s Guild, he had to hire others to direct Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Now, Lucas was still producing these movies, so he had some control over them, but the other two directors in the trilogy (Irvin Kirshner for
Empire, Richard Marquand for Return) still managed to leave some stylistic stamps on the series. So, this is why one of Lucas’ top choices for Return of the Jedi is one of the craziest “What ifs?” in Hollywood history. Without further ado…
I can’t even begin to imagine what kind of weird shit David Lynch would have put into a Star Wars movie. For those unfamiliar with his work, David Lynch is an American surrealist filmmaker whose most mainstream project is the cult TV hit
Twin Peaks. You know, the show where people speak backward in dreams and there’s a soul hopping entity from beyond the veil committing horrific acts of violence.
If I’m being honest, Lynch turning
Return of the Jedi down was probably for the best. While I love his weird-as-fuck films, seeing what he ended up doing to Dune (the directing gig he took instead of Return of the Jedi) makes me think that blockbuster filmmaking just isn’t what he was meant to do.
But goddamn I’d love to know at least what it might have looked like.
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