12 Abandoned Movies by Famous Screenwriters

Hollywood, this is why you can’t have nice things. A couple of weeks back, word broke that Quentin Tarantino had finished a new screenplay called The Hateful Eight, described as a Western with plum roles for recent Best Actor nominee (and Django Unchained bit player) Bruce Dern and Tarantino fave Christoph Waltz, and there was much rejoicing. That celebration ended earlier this week, when Tarantino discovered that the script had been leaked — apparently by someone connected with either Dern, Michael Madsen, or Tim Roth (anyone who’s seen Reservoir Dogs knows you can’t trust Roth) — and pulled the plug on the entire project, leaving various sites to see who could collect pageviews by distributing a stolen screenplay first. (Surprise — Gawker won!) But Tarantino’s unproduced script is in good company; here are a few other famous abandoned screenplays we’d love to have seen.


The Streets of Laredo, by Larry McMurtry and Peter Bogdanovich

While helming the documentary Directed by John Ford, Bogdanovich got the idea of teaming up John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and James Stewart to create an all-star send-off to the Western, and he collaborated with Larry McMurtry — with whom he’d just worked on The Last Picture Show — to write a screenplay. But all three of the legendary actors passed, dismissing the idea of closing the curtain on the form. McMurtry ended up adapting the script into his bestselling novel and TV mini-series Lonesome Dove, with Tommy Lee Jones in the John Wayne role, Robert Duvall in the Stewart part, and Robert Urich filling Fonda’s shoes. McMurtry then used the title (taken from the old cowboy ballad) for his Lonesome Dove sequel.