Two weeks ago, a Hindenburg disaster film was pitched to various studios. According to an exec who heard the pitch: The writers ”were excited about this ‘original’ story idea — two lovers, crossing the Atlantic in [one of] the biggest airships ever made, unaware that they were heading for disaster. I sat back and thought, ‘Where have I heard this story before?”’ 20th Century Fox bought this airborne Titanic, which Twister’s Jan De Bont will likely direct. But what about all the truly original story ideas in Development Hell? Here are some of the oddest that may never see the green light of day.
Beyond the Sea: Richard Gere has been attached to star as a Navy officer who believes that he’s a whale and falls in love with an oceanographer.
Birdman: A scientist studying the endangered whooping crane causes a female bird to believe he’s her mate, and the crane jeopardizes his relationship with his girlfriend.
People Watchers: Two businessmen observe a man in a restaurant and are convinced he’s part of a global plot, only to find that he’s a janitor; from Sleepless in Seattle coscripter Jeff Arch.
Revelations: A writer finds he’s branded with the number of the Beast and wonders if he’s really the devil or just moody; an idea by Garth Brooks, set up at his production company, Red Strokes Entertainment.
Sacred Cows: The President faces ruin when a paper runs a shot of him having sex with a lover from his past…a cow; from Joe Eszterhas.
Sweet Tooth: A man learns that his dying father was not a pet groomer but a tooth fairy, and that he must carry on the family business; Arnold Schwarzenegger has long considered starring.
The Ticking Man: Bruce Willis has been mentioned to star as a man with a bomb implanted in his chest; coscripted by Academy Award-winning Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential).
The Trouble With Tuck: The true story of a blind dog who gets his own Seeing Eye dog; from Mouse Hunt writer Adam Rifkin.
Washington Slept Here: Five women at a political convention realize they have all had sex with the future President. On second thought, maybe this idea isn’t so odd.
Kim Basinger just received a $3 million offer to star in the Columbia romance I Dream of Africa, to be directed by Luis Mandoki (When a Man Loves a Woman). This is Basinger’s first sizable offer since her Oscar but it’s not that much of a raise, as she received just over $2 million for L.A. Confidential.
The makers of Fox’s The Fight Club, a drama starring Brad Pitt and Ed Norton, are searching for a female lead. Helena Bonham Carter and real-life Norton squeeze Courtney Love are both being eyed for the role of their on-screen love.