There are so many movies that have blown us away by their sheer brilliance and their concepts. But sometimes the story behind the celluloid is even more interesting than the story playing on-screen. Directors and actors don’t get along, co actors can’t see eye to eye, directors and script writers don’t find producers, producers don’t find takers etc. The battles off the movie set are even more gruesome than the ones that happen on screen. Here is the list of famous movies that nearly didn’t get made:
12. The Fountain (2006)
‘The Fountain’ was going in the right direction during its pre production stage. It had a budget of seventy million dollars and Brad Pitt as the lead actor. Then suddenly one fine day, the movie lost on its producers. Hence, the movie was delayed. Darren Aronofsky found new producers with a budget of eighteen million dollars but by the time this happened, Brad Pitt had parted ways over the delay and intellectual disagreements. Finally, Darren returned to the project two years later, this time with Hugh Jackman. He made the entire movie in a single shoot schedule and hence the movie look hurried in its first cut. When the movie released after edits and enhancements, it did not have a voice or a conscience. It seemed as half thought and poorly conceived.
11. Toy Story (1995)
‘Toy Story’ represents the typical battle of money v/s art. Disney gave Pixar a list of things and features that they wanted them to incorporate in the movie. Pixar tried to make sense of the list but could not. Disney wanted to have real people as the characters and not toys. Not only that, they also wanted it appear like a fairy tale. Pixar rejected their every idea. They said that the toys were the voice of the movie and real people would never deliver the same emotion. Also, they believed in incorporating flaws in their characters to make it authentic and life like. Hence, the project was shut down multiple times. But it was the sheer negotiation abilities of John Lasseter that made the compromise. The making of the movie was the first time when Disney bowed in front any production house and it reaped awards for them in so many ways.
10. Jaws (1975)
Steven Spielberg wasn’t excited about working on a star project which contained notions of mechanised thrill. He even tried to walk away from the project but it was the producer David Brown who got him back. ‘Jaws’ had a major technical glitch with its mechanical shark which created a lot of production woes. Hence, Steven Spielberg decided to abandon the idea of using one. He, along with the background music director John Williams, created the whole thrill of anticipation and horrors of the shark. He created effects and sounds on and around the water to create an aura of the shark. And this idea made every scene so authentic and gritty, that the movie became a landmark. It was a landmark not only in its subject but also in its direction and execution.
9. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
The script of ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ went through the hands of six producers and yet wasn’t made. Everyone loved the script and was ready to jump onboard but somehow things never materialised. The movie’s writer Michael Arndt gave up and started working as a production manager. Initially the script was only about a road trip of an idiosyncratic family. But during his time as a production manager, Arndt rewrote the script adding the dysfunctional dimension. After reading the modified version, the producers at Deep Water Productions came onboard. They were the first one who had received the earlier version of the script too. It was their idea to incorporate the Volkswagen T2 Microbus as the family vehicle which became a huge marketing strategy for the movie.
8. Titanic (1997)
The making of ‘Titanic’ was a horrendous affair. Director James Cameron was always in someone’s face, trying to intimidate and making his point. He would shoot for hours at stretch and push his crew to their limits. Not only that, he made all his actors practice in harsh cold conditions. Everyone thought James was trying to kill his movie. Then one day one of his crew members mixed a hallucinogenic drug in a soup. Hence, Cameron and fifty other people were hospitalised. They had just come back from this incident, when the production union went on a strike. The makers of the movie thought the movie will never see the light of the day. But not only James Cameron completed the movie but it became a huge success and a landmark in the art of movie making.
7. Star Wars (1977)
The making of geek bible ‘Star Wars’ is a story of George Lucas’s humongous efforts. It took two years for Lucas to get the producers of Fox onboard for the movie. Then the very first sequence was derailed due to the the storm at the location. The movie hadn’t even gone into production and they were way behind schedule. Lucas wasn’t happy with the effects and hence reshot many sequences to perfect the effects he wanted. The editors of the movie changed several times during the course and it created a ruckus for the post production people. The producers threatened thrice to pull out and almost did once but it was Lucas’s sheer tenacity that kept the movie rolling. It finally released and made a franchise out of thin air. A franchisee that has made hundreds of millions not only out of the movie but also from its merchandising and television rights.
6. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Slumdog Millionaire’s director Danny Boyle always thought his movie will only be a TV-movie. His past failures also made him come to terms with this fact. He made the movie on a shoestring budget whilst praying for the movie to get a theatrical release. Then his executive producer and screenplay writer Simon Beaufoy took the movie to various film festivals and the movie started getting a lot of distribution offers. It became such a huge success during its run in the film festivals that it attracted buyers from across the globe. The rest, as they say, is history. The film went on to win eight Oscars, including Best Picture.
5. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
The movie not only had some of the most challenging terrains on set but off set too. The director of the Movie George Miller was totally against using CGI to film the action sequences. He wanted to make every vehicle and every set from scratch to give it the authenticity he had in mind. It took more than 500 people to achieve that. He would change the scenes in midst of the filming which made the actors on set furious. He had already used hundreds of storyboards and the movie was not even halfway there. The movie became a nightmare for the technicians and editors. There came a point when the entire crew went on strike and it took fifteen days to come to a compromise. But all those tough calls finally made sense when the movie raked $378 million worldwide.
4. Rocky (1976)
‘Rocky’ literally came out of nowhere. The movie was nothing but a few pages of a story outline written by Sylvester Stallone himself. None of the studies were ready to buy the script and those few that did, didn’t want Stallone as their lead actor. There were also some producers who wanted to give the movie a different action spin. But Stallone had a clear conception of the movie and he never bulged. He kept fighting for his movie until United Artists agreed to produce the movie but with one constraint. The constraint of the budget i.e one million dollars.The movie then finally went on floors with the bootstrap of banal locations and lack of technical proficiencies but the sheer soul of the script made it the success Stallone had dreamt it to be.
3. The Shining (1980)
‘The Shining’ right from the word go was mired by the Stanley Kubrick’s antics. He would change the entire sequence and sometimes the entire scene right before the shoot and that disturbed the whole process of Jack Nicholson. He was uncomfortable with Stanley’s strict and often repetitive direction. Within the first few days of the shoot, the entire crew abandoned the project and the producers had to bring in an entire new crew. This happened thrice during the filming of the movie. It would take days to setup the sets and the camera’s location and Kubrick would not compromise in any situation. He became a nightmare to work with. The producers left the movie twice but it was the support of Jack Nicholson and the faith in the script that got it out of the muddle. The movie released and not only it made considerable money but also developed a cult status.
2. The Gladiator (2000)
The script of ‘The Gladiator’ was re-written so many times that no one had any idea how the first draft would look like. Though one thing was certain that it was crap. Russell Crowe made shambles of the script and left a lot of scenes stranded in disgust. His scenes weren’t defined at all and he felt most part of the movie was very predictable. He also had a lot of fights with Oliver Reed which led to a tense situation on the sets. When Oliver Reed died of a heart attack, it became an ordeal in itself to kill the character in the movie using special effects. Somehow, the movie was made after Ridley Scott, the director, took things in his control. The rest his history.
1. Apocalypse Now (1989)
The movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola had apocalyptic number of problems. On the very first day of shoot, Marlon Brando arrived without any preparation of the scene and out of shape. A simple guideline had been given to him to follow a diet and a dialect. He had no clue about anything else. But that’s not where the issues with the film ended. The expensive set suffered huge losses due to the typhoon in Iba, Philippines. The lead of the movie Micheal Sheen had been going through tumultuous times in his personal life and suddenly one day suffered a nervous breakdown in between a scene, a very expensive one. After the completion of the shoot, the movie kept getting delayed resulting in losses for the producers. Finally, it did release and won over everyone.