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Book Review: “Tales From Development Hell: The Greatest Movies Never Made?”

'Tales From Development Hell'

There is a place in Hollywood where some of the greatest movies never made spend their days. It is known in the industry and by movie fans around the world as “Development Hell”. The movies that end up in this purgatory not because the aren’t potentially great ideas but because of rewrites, casting or location issues and various production woes. Hollywood, it seems, can be a very dangerous place to make a movie!

In his new book, Tales From Development Hell: The Greatest Movies Never Made?, author David Hughes talks a look at some of the most intriguing silver screen projects that never saw the light of day. Well versed in the field of cinema, the author has written about film for numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Guardian, Empire, GQ, SFX, Fangoria and Cinefantastique. He is the author of Virgin’s The Complete Kubrick, The Complete Lynch and the fan favorite The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made. For his latest outing, Hughes examines what could have been with examples ranging from the Oliver Stone-produced PLANET OF THE APES reboot, Darren Aronofsky’s BATMAN: YEAR ONE starring Clint Eastwood, James Cameron’s FANTASTIC VOYAGE, the problematic development of Steven Speilberg’s INDIANA JONES IV and John Boorman’s LORD OF THE RINGS, which could have potentially starred The Beatles! How crazy is that? And remember, that is just the tip of the iceberg!

The book is packed full of exclusive interviews with directors, writers and producers that shine a light on what exactly sidelined these potential blockbusters. As you read, it almost seems that you are taking a glimpse into an alternate universe of cinematic awesomeness. Speaking as someone who would have been very eager to see any of the aforementioned projects take shape, I found the subject matter brought forth by David Hughes simply fascinating. I don’t want to give to much away in the form of spoilers for the book, but know that the author seamlessly blends a wonderful mix of cautionary tales coupled with movie history and trivia. It truly kept me glued to each page. Lest anyone think that the author is a Monday morning quarterback, as he even dishes on his own personal experiences with development hell. He knows first hand the pitfalls of the movie industry, as a number of his screenplays, including T.J. Hooker: The Movie, ended up there!

As fascinating look at the Hollywood machine, this book definitely makes you wonder how many potential blockbusters fall through the cracks in the Hollywood system or how anything ever gets accomplished in such treacherous waters! It is also important to mention that the book is broken down into easily digestible chapters for the film fan on the go.I enjoyed that because it allowed me to tackle one film at a time and even let me do a little of my own investigation into the projects online. In short, this book is definitely worth a look for any movie buff. Who knows what other projects may follow these projects into development hell but when it comes to this project, there is definitely room for  sequel!  — James Comise