Movies Originally Intended to be Directed by Steven Spielberg

February 11
Movies Originally Intended to be Directed by Steven Spielberg
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In addition to unrealized scripts, there are also numerous film projects that Steven Spielberg abandoned and were eventually directed by other filmmakers. Some of them will be presented in this article.

“Rain Man” (1988)

Steven Spielberg could have become the director of the film “Rain Man”, which eventually came to fruition under Barry Levinson’s direction. Instead of working on the movie featuring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, Spielberg was involved in filming “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989). However, he regrets not being able to dedicate himself to “Rain Man.”

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008)

In 1991, Steven Spielberg was set to direct the adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” with Tom Cruise in the lead role. Spielberg, however, dropped out of the project due to commitments to other films, including “Hook” (1991), “Jurassic Park” (1993), and “Schindler’s List” (1993). The story was eventually brought to the screen by David Fincher in 2008, with Brad Pitt portraying the main character.

“Shrek” (2001)

In 1991, Spielberg acquired the rights to adapt William Steig’s book “Shrek!” (1990) into a film. Spielberg envisioned a classic animated movie with Bill Murray as Shrek and Steve Martin voicing Donkey. However, he eventually left the project, and “Shrek” was later brought to life in 2001 with Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy in the lead roles.

“Memoirs of a Geisha” (2005)

While serving as a producer for the film “Memoirs of a Geisha,” Spielberg initially intended to direct it. He abandoned the idea when he took on the directorial role for "A.I. Artificial Intelligence " (2001). The film was eventually directed by Rob Marshall in 2005.

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (2001)

In 2012, Spielberg revealed that he was supposed to direct the first Harry Potter film. He spent several months on the project, considering Haley Joel Osment for the role of the famous wizard. However, due to creative differences with J. K. Rowling, Spielberg withdrew from the project. Chris Columbus directed “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” in 2001, starring Daniel Radcliffe.

“American Sniper” (2014)

On August 5, 2013, it was announced that Spielberg left the director’s chair for the film adaptation of Chris Kyle’s autobiography, “American Sniper” (2012), due to budget disagreements. Clint Eastwood ultimately directed the film, which was released in 2014.

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” (2023)

In 2020, Spielberg decided not to continue directing Indiana Jones films and handed over the directorial duties for “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” to James Mangold. The film was released in 2023.

Even though the films mentioned, which Steven Spielberg left for various reasons, were later directed by other filmmakers, it is regrettable that audiences did not have the opportunity to see his vision come to life.


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