It’s becoming harder and harder for any filmmaker to get funding for their projects these days. In the past few weeks both David Fincher and Ang Lee have had to withdraw from projects because of the interference from the higher-ups. Nowadays, it seems as though studios are only willing to either splash out hundreds of millions of dollars on blockbusters with an established fan-base, or throw a couple of million at a low-risk, low-budget effort that might strike a chord and become hugely popular.

In the heyday of creative movie-making, the 1970s, filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich, Robert Altman and Martin Scorsese were given a wide berth of creative freedom by various Hollywood studios to create the films that they wanted to make, without the pressure of profitability, and with only artistic intentions in mind. They didn’t have to worry about the film’s intended audience or whether intimidating blockbusters would squash its release. Instead, their films were made to show just how powerful, intimate and extraordinary cinema could be.

Or maybe that’s just a naïve and rose-tinted view of how Hollywood was. Because there’s always been a struggle between financiers and filmmakers, and even some of the greats never managed to get certain dream projects off the ground. Don’t believe me? Just check out the list below…

Darren Aronofosky, Batman Year One
Would a Darren Aronofksy film have inspired the barrage of mature, grounded super-hero films in the same manner as Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins? I’m not so sure. Nolan’s Memento teemed with mainstream potential, while Aronofsky’s work has always been delightfully singular and impossible to either pigeonhole or imitate. That’s probably why it was good that Aronofksy eventually dropped out of his proposed fifth film in the Batman franchise: Batman: Year One. You can’t help but wonder, though, what he would have brought to the series. The Pi filmmaker worked alongside Frank Miller -- who wrote the graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns -- on the screenplay, and he even declared, "Toss out everything you can imagine about Batman! Everything! We’re starting completely anew." Warner Bros. eventually decided that Aronofsky’s R-rated Batman pitch aimed at adult fans, which included a suicidal Jim Gordon, an African-American Alfred, and a more guerrilla-style Batman, was just too risky. Aronofksy has since admitted that he’d have still cast Christian Bale, though.

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