Guillermo del Toro, James Gunn, Edgar Wright and more have been opening up about their films which were never made.
When we think about the filmmakers mentioned above, we tend to celebrate the movies that they have made. What we often don’t consider, perhaps because of the success of these directors, are the unmade projects, the ones that they cared about, lavished time , love and creativity on, before having to abandon because those who control the purse strings didn’t share their passion for the project.
Following a question on Twitter about unmade projects, a host of directors took to the social media platform to discuss the films that that they couldn’t get made, as unearthed by Slashfilm. Guillermo del Toro got things started, by stating that he has written over 20 unfilmed screenplays, amounting to 16 years of his life of writing that would never see the screen.
By my count I have written or co-written around 33 screenplay features. 2-3 made by others, 11 made by me (Pinocchio in progress) so- about 20 screenplays not filmed. Each takes 6-10 months of work, so, roughly 16 years gone. Just experience and skill improvement.
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) September 21, 2021
James Gunn was quick to follow, suggesting what del Toro could have done with that time, before referencing the time he spent working on projects that weren’t his own creations:
Working on projects for others, certainly wasn’t Gunn’s most creatively satisfying period as he responded to Edgar Wright, with both of them discussing the lack of fulfilment that comes with creative compromises…
The Doctor Strange director, Scott Derrickson would join in on the conversation too, recalling how seeing his work evaluated by studio executives rather than audiences caused a ‘soul sickness’ within him.
I had a 5 year run before The Exorcism of Emily Rose during which I was paid to write or rewrite 13 screenplays — none of them got made. I was earning a good living but all of my creativity would be read by just a handful of executives. It caused a kind of soul sickness in me.
— N O S ⋊ Ɔ I ᴚ ᴚ Ǝ ᗡ ⊥ ⊥ O Ɔ S (@scottderrickson) September 21, 2021
Finally, Duncan Jones, the helmer of Moon, would also echo that sentiment, noting how screenwriting is a process structured on artistic compromise…
People think that writing scripts is like writing books, but it really isn’t.
It’s more like drawing up architectural plans for picky clients. If they’re paying for it, you are finding a way for your artistry to serve what they need, including making tweaks for their budget.
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) September 21, 2021
You can find the whole conversation over at Slashfilm, but the thread certainly sheds light on the difficulties and heartache that even the most of accomplished of filmmakers face. Hopefully, they all found solace in each other’s tweets and are feeling creatively reinvigorated this morning, with some wonderful pages of script are being furiously typed out as we speak. Perhaps even some of those lost scripts might just get resurrected too…
Thank you for visiting! If you’d like to support our attempts to make a non-clickbaity movie website:
Buy our Film Stories and Film Stories Junior print magazines here.
Become a Patron here.