With the news of Quentin Tarantino directing a Once Upon a Time in Hollywood spinoff series, Bounty Law, based on the fictional TV show within the Oscar-nominated movie, it’s time to ask, with all due respect of the super-talented writer/director: Will this actually happen? Tarantino’s had a lot of ideas for projects over the past 30 years that never came to fruition.
The most recent example of this is the R-rated Star Trek film that he pitched to Paramount…that he now says he won’t be directing (though he may still be involved in some capacity). Ever since Tarantino found fame in the mid-’90s, he’s been chasing down all types of projects, though his ideas and musings far outnumber his creative output. It’s time to take a closer look at the biggest projects that Tarantino wanted to tackle that either got scrapped or — generously speaking — delayed.
This list has been whittled down to the most notable titles and/or genres Tarantino has expressed solid interest in. Also, knowing that Tarantino likes to write and direct his own original stories, we haven’t included every IP project he’s been attached to (leaving out Green Lantern, Silver Surfer, Men in Black, Westworld, etc).
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Tarantino was first attached to the Star Trek project in December 2017, as it came to light that he had apparently pitched a “great idea” to J.J. Abrams, who rebooted the franchise in 2009, and the two were said to be developing the story alongside The Revenant writer Mark L. Smith. Now Tarantino is “steering away” from Star Trek, making many think the entire project will ultimately be canceled.
KILL BILL: VOLUME 3
Not only did Tarantino want to create more anime prequel shorts, like the one shown in Kill Bill: Volume 1 that depicted Lucy Liu’s O-Ren Ishii’s backstory (one for The Bride and one for Bill), but he’s also wanted to make a third installment of the film series for a very long time. In fact, he was even asked about it last summer and he mentioned that he and Uma Thurman “have thought about it a little further.”
DOUBLE V VEGA
While planning out Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino once again thought about making a movie starring Tarantino-verse brothers Vic and Vincent Vega. That would be Michael Madsen’s Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs and John Travolta’s hitman from Pulp Fiction. It was to be titled Double V Vega and focused on the time when Vincent was in Amsterdam, when he was running one of Marcellus’ clubs and Vic goes to visit him. Since it was to be a prequel, Tarantino ultimately decided the two actors were too old.
Obviously, this film got made and was a huge hit, but Tarantino once had his sights set on directing this first Bond tale, even stating that he’d spoken to then-Bond, Pierce Brosnan, about it. As usual, with Tarantino though, he wants to do the one thing, the one story, he wants to do. So once Casino Royale was no longer a 007 story to adapt, he fell out of the Bond business.
LUKE CAGE: HERO FOR HIRE
A live-action version of Luke Cage — aka Power Man — finally arrived in the form of a Marvel’s Netflix series starring Mike Colter. Back in the ’90s though, huge comic book fan Tarantino considered making a Luke Cage film as his follow-up to Reservoir Dogs. Of course, he ended up doing Pulp Fiction instead. But in the ’90s he met with producer Ed Pressman, who owned the film rights to Luke Cage, and pitched Laurence Fishburne as Cage.
LESS THAN ZERO REMAKE
For at least a decade, Tarantino has been trying to adapt Bret Easton Ellis’ 1985 novel Less Than Zero, which had also been a film back in 1987 starring Robert Downey Jr. and Andrew McCarthy. In early 2010, in a few interviews, Ellis confirmed that Tarantino had been trying to get Fox to let him remake it, though Tarantino has never openly spoken about this project. The story centers on the young drug-fueled party scene of rich kid ’80s L.A.
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
After Pulp Fiction, while Tarantino was gaining even more popularity as the writer of Natural Born Killer, From Dusk till Dawn, and True Romance, he was attached to direct an adaptation of ’60s TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Tarantino decided to do an adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel instead, Jackie Brown. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. wouldn’t make its way to movie screens until 2015, directed by Guy Ritchie.
In 2012, Tarantino was planning on his next film being the third movie in a “Django-Inglourious Basterds” trilogy – called Killer Crow. It would be a WW II movie centered on African American soldiers that “had been f***ed over by the American military and kind of go apes***.” Now out for revenge, they “kill a bunch of white soldiers and white officers on a military base and are just making a warpath to Switzerland.”
40 LASHES LESS ONE
Another Elmore Leonard book that Tarantino has wanted to adapt, for seemingly forever, is 40 Lashes Less One – a Western set in a desert prison. As of 2015, he still owned the rights to the book and was even considering turning it into a TV miniseries.
Twenty years ago, Tarantino was toying with an American remake of Lucio Fulci’s horror film, The Psychic, 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. He even spoke to Jackie Brown’s Bridget Fonda about possibly starring in it.
A huge fan of the ’60s British comic strip Modesty Blaise, which you could see Travolta’s character reading on the toilet in Pulp Fiction, Tarantino has long wanted to make a live-action Modesty movie. Originally, Tarantino was to write the first film while Neil Gaiman was tapped to adapt the sequel. In order to keep the rights, Miramax even made a super low-budget adaptation in 2004 called Quentin Tarantino Presents: My Name Is Modesty.
THE BERLIN GAME
Another book series that you can see a Tarantino character reading in one of his movies is Len Deighton’s Berlin Game – the first of a trilogy that also includes the books Mexico Set and London Match. As a big fan of the spycraft books, and having not been able to direct Casino Royale, Tarantino told the U.K. press in 2009 that he was interested in doing Deighton’s Berlin trilogy.
JOHN BROWN BIOPIC
Also in 2009, on the Charlie Rose Show, Tarantino said he wanted to make a biopic about abolitionist John Brown, explaining that Brown was his “favorite American who ever lived.” With many now speculating about what Tarantino’s tenth, and self-professed final, film will be, the John Brown biopic is one of the top contenders as the director himself said it would be something he’d save for the end of his career. Of course, he started speaking about a John Brown movie five years before he made Django Unchained so some wonder if the seed of this idea grew, and morphed, into the Django movie.