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The Lost, Unmade & Possible Future Films Of Quentin Tarantino

The Playlist By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist March 27, 2013 at 3:33PM

Today marks the 50th birthday of one of the most famous and followed film directors working today. He's a man who a little over twenty years ago, gave a shot of adrenaline to the American independent film scene, and today, is an awards favorite and reliable box-office name, with his most recent film having won two Oscars, earning Best Picture nomination as well, taking in over $400 million at the box office worldwide, making it by some distance his most successful film to date. And if you're his age or younger, he's probably had a significant an affect on your cinematic education. Yes, Quentin Tarantino is a half-century old today, having been born on March 27th, 1963.
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Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill set photo

"Kill Bill"
"Kill Bill"
"Kill Bill Vol. 3"
Speaking of sequels, Tarantino has, even since the last "Kill Bill" landed nine years back, refused to rule out the possibility of returning the story of Beatrix/The Bride, saying even before "Vol. 2" of the plot: "Sofie Fatale will get all of Bill's money. She'll raise Nikki (the daughter of Vivica A. Fox's character), who'll take on The Bride. Nikki deserves her revenge every bit as much as The Bride deserved hers." At one point, there was the idea of some animated prequels, and while shooting 'Basterds,' he raised a third "Kill Bill" as a possibility to be his next project. He's said in the past that he wanted a ten year gap, which could mean it's starting to come up on his radar again, but the signs aren't great. In 2009, he said, "there's no script; there are just ideas and notes" and he was recently more candid, saying "I don't know if there's ever going to be a 'Kill Bill Vol. 3.' We'll see, probably not though." Still, you never know if he's going to change his mind. 

"Double V Vega"
Having long-since revealed that "Reservoir Dogs" thug Mr. Blonde or Vic Vega (Michael Madsen) and "Pulp Fiction" killer Vincent Vega (John Travolta) were brothers, Tarantino spent decades talking up a possible project, known as either "Double V Vega" or "The Vega Brothers," that would team up to the two. Initially a prequel that would follow the two during Vincent's time in Amsterdam, Tarantino held a torch for the project for years -- even during press for "Kill Bill," he claimed it was still very much a possibility. The age of the actors presented a problem, but Tarantino had a Plan B, telling telling Opie & Anthony in 2007 that "I actually came up with a way I could have done it, even being older and dead where they all had older brothers and both of their brothers got together because the two guys died. And they wanted revenge or something like that." But he ultimately concluded "Now, [they're] too old for that. It's kind of unlikely now." Madsen talked it up as recently as 2010, telling a morning show, "I'd be Vic Vega's twin brother. [Travolta would] be Vincent's twin brother and we're both on a flight from Los Angeles, having just been released from prison, and neither one of us know that we're the twin brother of the other one and we're both on our way back to LA to avenge the death of our brothers." Fun thought, but it still seems like this one is pretty much dead in the ground.

40 Lashes Less One
"40 Lashes Less One"/Other Elmore Leonard projects
After the success of “Pulp Fiction,” Tarantino reportedly asked the Weinsteins to buy the rights to several novels by the “filet of the crime genre” Elmore Leonard, for potential future projects. There was "Rum Punch," which Tarantino made into “Jackie Brown.” Then there was "Killshot," which was eventually directed by John Madden, starring Diane Lane, Thomas Jane, Mickey Rourke and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Long-delayed, and something of a mess, it finally hit in 2008, with QT’s “executive producer” credit removed. Miramax also had "Bandits," which didn’t seem to go anywhere (it’s unconnected to the 2001 Bruce Willis/Barry Levinson film), and "Freaky Deaky," the rights to which reverted back to Leonard (a bad version, starring Christian Slater, Crispin Glover and Andy Dick, went straight to video last month). 

But it seems like the one that got closest to production was one of Leonard’s westerns, the 1972 novel, "40 Lashes Less One." The book concerns two prisoners — an Apache and a black former soldier — that while on death row, are given a chance to be set free if they can hunt down and kill the five worst outlaws in the west (shades of “Kill Bill,” and now ‘Django’). In 2000, rumors were flying that Tarantino was clandestinely making the film in Mexico, and in May 2001, a vague post on QT’s former writing partner Roger Avary’s blog led people to think the film would be playing at Cannes. However, Cannes came and there was no sign of any Tarantino film. Soon the call came from his people to confirm that there was no such film in the works. That said, there was some fire where there was smoke. In 2007, Tarantino said he now owns the rights, had completed 20 pages of a script, and “still might do it sometime.” Whether that’s the case still is a bigger question. He may have scratched his western itch with “Django Unchained” (then again, maybe not; see below) and he told Charlie Rose in 2009 that he will never direct another adaptation, having felt in retrospect, slightly emotionally removed from "Jackie Brown" because it was not his own original work. If he changes his mind about that for anything, we'd guess it’ll be for another Leonard adaptation, but our gut says that this particular title is too close to his other work to become a priority.

"The Psychic"
While his films have often been steeped in it, horror remains one genre that Tarantino has never tackled. However, at one point he was considering a remake of the ‘70s Italian psychological horror film by Lucio Fulci about a clairvoyant woman, inspired by visions, who smashes open a section of wall in her husband's home and finds a skeleton behind it (the director samples the film’s theme in “Kill Bill”). It's an idea QT bandied about with the intention of it starring "Jackie Brown" star Bridget Fonda. In an interview with AICN back in 2000, Tarantino talked about the status of the movie saying, “It’s a project in the murky future. I don’t even own the rights to that stuff. It’s one of those things where it’s like if somebody buys the rights to make it, I won’t make it. They can totally fuck it up. If it’s meant to happen, it’ll happen.” Since it’s been almost ten years, we’re going to assume it wasn’t meant to happen.

Casino Royale
“Casino Royale”
Back before Americans knew the name Daniel Craig, Tarantino (as he was reminding all and sundry a few years back) had the idea to go back and do a “small-scale, plot-driven” take on the only Ian Fleming novel that hadn’t been properly adapted into a James Bond feature — “Casino Royale.” Even in the 1990s, there was loose talk about Tarantino taking it on, but it seemed to get serious as he was finishing upKill Bill Vol. 2,” with the director going as far as to meet Pierce Brosnan (who he wanted to keep in the role), and talking it up with Jay Leno on late night TV. But Brosnan officially departed the role in 2005, and Tarantino declared his interest dead, later saying that the producers were "'afraid [Tarantino was] going to make it too good and f**k the rest of the series.' " He also basically has said that the producers stole his idea to retell, "Casino Royale." Suffice to say there was some bad blood here, and his chance at Bond has probably come and gone, though it’s interesting to note that after years of hiring journeymen filmmakers, Eon hired a bigger name in Sam Mendes, and were rewarded with a film that made twice what any previous Bond had done.

“The Man From U.N.C.L.E”

A feature adaptation of the James Bond-ish ‘60s spy series starring Robert Vaughn was one of a few blockbuster-style projects Tarantino was offered in his three years of downtime following the success of 'Pulp.' While he eventually turned them all down, it sounds like he may have briefly entertained the idea of making “U.N.C.L.E.,” later saying he thought of casting George Clooney in the lead role of Napoleon Solo and himself as Ilya Kuryakin.  Instead, he and Clooney teamed up for "From Dusk Til Dawn" and Tarantino made "Jackie Brown" his next project. Given the facility he showed for accents he showed in ‘Django,’ it’s probably best that Tarantino didn’t end up starring in the film, but clearly someone else was listening: Steven Soderbergh cast Clooney as Solo in his own version over a decade later, but the film fell apart. Guy Ritchie and Tom Cruise may yet bring it to the screen, though.  While this one’s definitely off the list, clearly the espionage genre is something that interests Tarantino, and he may yet get to it one day.

“Modesty Blaise”
Ever since John Travolta was seen reading “Modesty Blaise” on the toilet in “Pulp Fiction,” Tarantino’s name has been linked to a possible adaptation of the comic strip/adventure novel character starring an exceptional young woman with many talents and a criminal past. But there’s never quite been anything solid behind it, though Neil Gaiman at one point was commissioned to write a treatment for the project based on the "I, Lucifer" novel — whether this was at the behest of QT or not is unclear. Still Harvey Weinstein was serious enough about the idea that, when Miramax were about to lose the rights, he commissoined a quickie adaptation, shot in less than three weeks, which Tarantino lent his name to: 2004’s “Quentin Tarantino Presents: My Name is Modesty.”

This article is related to: Features, Quentin Tarantino


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