In the history of film, a number of great projects were almost never made, Apocalypse Now probably being the best example.
These great filmmakers hitting snags make me feel a lot better about my own trials and tribulations as I attempt to put together a film on $0.00.
Then there are films that were given a lot of hard work and attention, and they didn't come together. They make me lose hope. Let's take a look at the grandfather of them all: Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon biopic.
Kubrick made this biopic his life's work and passion. He lived his life like Napoleon, reportedly going as far as to eat like the man himself. Kubrick's Napoleon project (henceforth to be referred to as Napoleon) was given more attention than his other films: he sent assistants to places Napoleon went in his life, even giving them orders to gather the soil so Kubrick could get the shots just right.
Of course, these were the days before CGI, but Kubrick didn't want that phony "guys standing around in random distribution" look for the battle sequences. Instead, he enlisted the help of the Romanian army: 40,000 infantrymen and 10,000 cavalry soldiers all outfitted in Napoleonic battle attire. To top it all off, legendary actress Audrey Hepburn was set to play Josephine.
The project was canceled by Kubrick himself, as it was too expensive (probably not a principle concern for Kubrick, a filmmaker who frequently went over budget), the film adaptation of War and Peace had just been released, and another Western Napoleon film, Waterloo, had just come out and was a commercial and critical failure - but in 1987, Kubrick said he had not given up on the project. He had done too much research to allow it to go to waste.
And although Napoleon never was made, Kubrick's research, in fact, did not go to waste: much of it went to his 1975 historical epic, Barry Lyndon, in my personal opinion, one of Kubrick's best films.
To see so much hard work go down the drain is discouraging.