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10 Wild Stories About Movies That Started Filming But Never Came Out

Did you know they made half a sequel to 10 Things I Hate About You?

1. A remake of the '80s comedy Revenge of the Nerds that filmed (briefly) in 2006.

Michael Loccisano / Getty Images, Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

Fox Atomic was two weeks into filming the remake with Adam Brody, Jenna Dewan, and Kristin Cavallari when they pulled the plug. Why? Well, it seems two things went wrong — Georgia's Emory University rescinded their agreement to let the production film on campus after reading the script, and film dailies weren't impressing Fox Atomic executives.

2. 10 Things I Hate About Life, a follow-up to the 1999 hit 10 Things I Hate About You starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger.

Vision Films

More than a decade after 10 Things I Hate About You, the film’s director, Gil Junger, and one of its producers, Andrew Lazar, set out to make a sequel of sorts. It didn’t feature any of the original film's characters, but would advance situations from the original as it told the story of two suicidal people who fall in love. Huh.

They started filming in December 2012 with Evan Rachel Wood, Hayley Atwell, and Billy Campbell, but stopped a month later either because A) the film company parted ways with its president and was having trouble making payments, or B) Evan Rachel Wood left the film due to her pregnancy.

At one point, they hoped to start filming again — and even released a promo trailer — but it never happened. The film company sued Wood, who pushed back with her lawyers, but it appears the litigation fizzled out. The film remains unfinished.

3. Divine Rapture, a film about miracles in a small 1950s Irish community starring Johnny Depp, Marlon Brando, and Debra Winger.

CineFin

In the summer of 1995, the production rolled into Ballycotton, Ireland, and locals were hopeful it'd bring money into the community. Unfortunately, two weeks into filming, checks started bouncing, and CineFin, the financiers who claimed to have access to $300 million, turned out to have a nonexistent escrow account. Filming abruptly halted with just 24 minutes in the can, and the locals never got paid.

4. Something's Got to Give, a comedy that was abandoned after its star, Marilyn Monroe, died during production.

20th Century Fox

Shooting started in April 1962, and immediately ran into problems when Marilyn missed most of the first month with fever, headaches, chronic sinusitis, and bronchitis. She did, however, manage to film a swimming pool scene that would have made her the first mainstream film star to appear topless.

When Marilyn again called in sick six weeks into filming, she was fired, then eventually rehired at costar Dean Martin's insistence. Sadly, she died after overdosing on barbiturates before they resumed filming. The studio decided to scrap the film and start from scratch with a new cast and title, Move Over, Darling.

5. A Fantastic Four movie that was made all the way back in 1994.

Neue Constantin Film

In the early '90s, producer Bernd Eichinger was on the verge of losing the film rights to the Fantastic Four. The one way he could keep them contractually? By making a movie about the superheroes. So in order to keep the rights — and his dream of producing a big-budget movie about the Marvel heroes alive — he teamed with B-movie legend Roger Corman to make a low-cost version for just a million dollars.

Fans soon got wind of the film and were excited for its release (even if it's unclear whether Eichinger ever intended to release the film since its main purpose was to fulfill his contractual obligations). Either way, when Marvel learned about it, they paid Eichinger to shelve the film as they worried a low-budget version would hurt the Marvel brand. In the end, Eichinger's gambit worked as he kept the rights and eventually produced 2005's big budget Fantastic Four with Chris Evans.

6. Empires of the Deep, a 3D action-adventure fantasy film made in China that cost $140 million.

Jiang Prod.

This vanity project of Chinese billionaire Jon Jiang about a human and mermaid who fall in love was originally conceived in 2006 as the first film in a trilogy that would also launch an animated series, video game, and even Chinese theme park...but things didn't go so smoothly. At all.

The screenplay went through 40 drafts and 10 screenwriters, actors (like Sharon Stone and Monica Bellucci) signed on and then ran for the hills, directors came and went, and the movie spent years mired in post-production hell. It's now 2020 and — other than an uninspiring trailer released in 2010 — there are no signs it is any closer to a release than it was ten years ago.

7. The Hunt, which was canceled after a pair of mass shootings and criticism from President Trump.

Universal

Emma Roberts, Betty Gilpin, and Hillary Swank starred in this thriller about a wealthy group of "elites" who hunt a bunch of red state people — allegedly referred to as "deplorables" in the film — for sport. It was scheduled to be released last fall, but following the mass shootings in the Dayton and El Paso, Universal canceled the release.

While the mass shootings surely played a role in the film's cancellation, Universal was also dealing with anger from conservatives over the film. At a test screening, some viewers were angry about the film's politics, and President Trump tweeted, in apparent reference to the film, "Liberal Hollywood is Racist at the highest level, and with great Anger and Hate!"

Update: The film was eventually released on March 13, 2020, but only grossed 6 million before theaters closed due to the coronavirus. It was then released on VOD.

8. Midnight Rider, a biopic about rocker Gregg Allman starring William Hurt, stopped filmed after a crew member tragically died on the first day of production.

David Mcnew / Getty Images

On day one, the production set out to film a dream sequence where Hurt as Allman lies in a hospital bed on a live railroad trestle. The production assured the cast and crew they were safe, but a speeding train surprised them, resulting in the death of second assistant camerawoman Sarah Jones and injuring others.

The filmmakers tried to restart production, but the film production community — after holding a vigil for Jones — opposed this and advocated for on-set safety. Later, William Hurt and Greg Allman also took measures to stop the production.

Director Randall Miller and executive producer Jay Sedrish pleaded guilty to felony involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing.

9. Dark Blood, which River Phoenix was filming when he died.

Lions Gate

On Halloween night in 1993, River Phoenix — one of Hollywood's brightest young stars — died of a drug overdose outside Los Angeles' Viper Room. At the time, he'd finished about 80% of his latest film, Dark Blood, a thriller with Judy Davis. The financiers of the movie decided it couldn't be finished, so they abandoned the film, recouping their costs from the insurance company. As a result, the film became the property of the insurance company, and eventually the company decided to stop paying to store the film's negative.

That's when things got a little crazy — the film's director George Sluizer apparently walked into the storage facility and, uh, liberated the negative. He then cut together a "finished" version (he'd hoped to get River's brother Joaquin to overdub narration, explaining the missing bits, but ended up doing it himself). The sort-of finished film played at some festivals, but since the insurance company still owned the film, it made showing the film elsewhere legally difficult. In the end, twenty years after filming, this version received a limited VOD release.

10. The Day The Clown Cried — about an imprisoned clown who entertains Jewish children in a Nazi concentration camp — starring Jerry Lewis.

Wachsberger/Lewis

In the early '70s, comedian Jerry Lewis took a huge risk, making a dramatic film about the Holocaust, and by all accounts missed the mark by quite bit. So Lewis, who had paid for much of the production himself, shelved the project. He later told Entertainment Weekly, "You will never see it. No one will ever see it, because I am embarrassed at the poor work." Fifty years later only a handful of people have seen this notorious lost film.

Lewis may have been ahead of his time — a similarly plotted film, 1997's Life Is Beautiful, won three Academy Awards. Prior to his death, Lewis gave a copy of the film to the US Library of Congress with the stipulation it not be shown prior to 2024.

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