Damned To Development Hell

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Developmental HellSome books, plays, and stories just lend themselves naturally to being made into movies. And, there are several reasons why they don’t get made or get made after years and years of waiting. In the biz, this is commonly referred to as ‘Development Hell.’  Here are examples of the various kinds of development hell:

Counting The Money – Why hasn’t the wildly popular video game Halo has never reached the big screen? Reports are that Microsoft has demanded unprecedented amounts of control along with guarantees of ridiculous amounts of money before a frame of film has even been shot. Producer/director Peter Jackson tried to get the project off the ground, but too many people were already busy counting the gross profits on which they were dreaming.

Egos, Egos, and More Egos – A reboot of the musical Gypsy featuring Barbara Streisand has been the talk of tinsel town for years. Only one thing stands in the way: Stephen Sondheim. Sondheim is a co-owner of the property having written the music, along with the writer of the play’s text, Arthur Laurents.  While rumors swirl around this, including the involvement of Lady Gaga, don’t hold your breath for this one at the cineplex anytime soon.

My Way or No Way – The alcohol fueled, colorful life of Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, has been proposed as the subject for a movie since his untimely death in 1978. Bandmate Roger Daltrey has had one script in development while a competing project by Keith Moon’s personal manager, Peter “Dougal” Butler had also seen an interest. Butler’s project caught the interest of Robert DiNiro who was all set to produce the film.  The Butler project was then shelved when Daltrey put the muscle on Pete Townshend deny the use of music by The Who.

The Script Just Aint Right –  Sequels are often delayed or put to bed because the stars feel the need for great input and know that just another face will be accepted as Peter Venkman or Axel Foley. This is why future installments of Beverly Cop or Ghostbusters are not in the theaters last summer, this summer and probably next summer. Stars like Eddie Murray and Bill Murray know they have power over whether it gets made or not.

Change Partners and Keep Dancing –  The landscape of Hollywood is ever changing, when it comes to studio executives, production companies, angel investors, and powerful director/producers. The management team who loved your idea yesterday could be long gone when you show up today to sign paperwork. Reports are that with the security breach at Sony Pictures, many projects may not see the light of day because so many memos, emails, and other proprietary materials related to how a movie is made already did.

It Just Isn’t Such A Good Idea After All –  Steven Seagal as Ghengis Khan, Nicolas Cage as Superman, E.T. 2 (Yes, that E.T.) and a second installment of Forrest Gump all were proposed projects that thankfully never saw the light of day. Often, the desire to capture lightning in a bottle once again has movie makers, studio officials, and stars giddy to give it a go. Sometimes, it even works.

— Various Sources

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