Kirsten Dunst will be making her feature film directorial debut with an adaptation of Sylvia Plath's novel The Bell Jar. The film is set to be released in 2017 with Dakota Fanning portraying the protagonist, Esther Greenwood. If an adaptation of Plath's novel sounds familiar, it's because Julia Stiles was originally going to be playing the depressed college student when the project was in development in 2010. The Bell Jar is just one of the many films that go through too many hoops, financial losses and casting changes. All that result in a halted production. Here are a few more films that were planned but have been stuck in development hell.
Austin Powers 4
The first Austin Powers was a sleeper hit back in 1997, which resulted in a hilarious sequel with a few added characters. The third installment went out of control with the character of Goldmember and far too many cameos. The film kicks off with Tom Cruise and Gwyneth Paltrow. The franchise became something of a joke but not in the way intended. Even though it was clear to most that Austin Powers was likely finished, Mike Myers has insisted that there is a fourth film in the works. Since 2005, he has stated that he is working on the film and that it will satisfy. Director Jay Roach even signed on for a 4th film with rumors of Gisele Bundchen taking on a role. Myers has claimed that the film will revolve around Dr. Evil and his son, assuming the film is ever actually made.
A live action remake of the 1960s cartoon began development in 1984 and has yet to see the light of day. Universal Studios purchased the rights to the Hanna-Barbera series along with the rights to The Flintstones. While The Flintstones received the live action treatment, The Jetsons only received a feature-length animated film. In 2007, Robert Rodriguez ( Sin City) was brought on to direct. He didn't last long, and dropped out after clashing with the studio over his vision for the film. The film remains lost in space.
There have been plenty of Superman projects on both television and film. But one feature became famous for its ability to get off the ground. Writer, director, and comic book nerd Kevin Smith pitched the idea for Superman Lives back in 1996. The film's climax involved Brainiac and Lex Luthor sending Doomsday to kill Superman which does not sound too far off from the plot of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The cast was to include Smith regulars Ben Affleck as Superman, Jason Mewes as Jimmy Olsen, and Jason Lee as Brainiac. All of that changed when the studio wanted Nicolas Cage as Superman, Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen, and Jim Carrey for Brainiac. As time continued with little movement, but plenty of spending, Warner Bros dropped the project. Superman languished and had to be completely overhauled years later with Superman Lives as just another idea lost in oblivion.
Alien Vs. Predator
Alien Vs. Predator was released in 2004 but was originally supposed to be released after 1990's Predator 2. All it took was some story changes, director swapping, and dozens of actor substitutions to allow the film to finally be made over a decade after it was intended.
The Brazilian Job
The 2003 action comedy The Italian Job was a box office hit and a whole lot of fun. Just like most films that do well commercially, the film's studio decided to move forward on a sequel. The next installment was set for production in 2005 but a script was never finalized. A couple years later, 2007, an original script entitled The Wrecking Crew was brought to Paramount Studios but Paramount thought it would benefit everyone involved if the script was tweaked to be a sequel to The Italian Job. Multiple drafts of the script have been completed, but not production data has been announced. We can only assume the end of this particular job.