As many movies as Steven Spielberg has made, there are even more that he didn’t. Over his 40-year career, there have been great plans and projects that fell by the wayside, or even got close to production, but for one reason or another did not result in a movie. And that’s even discounting movies that were eventually made without Spielberg. Unrealized Spielberg projects began back in the early 1970s.
“Flushed With Pride: The Story Of Thomas Crapper”
Spielberg’s big-screen career came reasonably close to getting off to a very different start, one that risked making him a filmmaker taken much, much less seriously. Under credit to Universal at the beginning of the 1970s, but still working mostly in TV, the filmmaker pitched three projects to the movie-wing of the studio. One was a re-telling of “Snow White” set in a Chinese food factory in San Francisco. Another was a movie about a stunt pilot in the 1920s, eventually called “Ace Eli And Rodger Of The Skies” — the studio passed, but Fox bought the pitch for $50,000 and wouldn’t let Spielberg write or direct. The movie was released in 1973 starring Cliff Robertson, without making much impact. And finally, Spielberg optioned a recently-published book called “Flushed With Pride: The Story Of Thomas Crapper,” a semi-satirical biography that suggested (possibly incorrectly) that Crapper was the inventor of the flushing toilet. The director approached future “American Graffiti” writers Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck about writing a screenplay. As Huyck says in Joseph McBride’s Spielberg biography, “We came up with the great idea of doing it as ‘Young Tom Edison.’ But like ‘Little Big Man. We wrote a treatment, and we gave it to our [mutual] agent, Guy McElwaine, who said ‘Steve, if this is the kind of movie you want to do, I don’t want to be your agent.” Cooler heads prevailed, and the director moved into features with “Sugarland Express” instead.
The world may be better off without that one, but others, such as Frank Darabont’s Indiana Jones script, or Robopocalypse, make us wonder what might have been. Read about 15 unmade Steven Spielberg projects at The Playlist. -via Digg