Sadly, the rumored collaboration between Lars von Trier and Martin Scorsese (and Robert De Niro) is apparently not really happening. Despite the entire blogosphere's apparent desire for a Five Obstructions-esque take on Taxi Driver. But occasionally unlikely and bizarre dream partnerships between two unrelated filmmakers do come about, to the surprise and delight of cinephiles. Think of the recent Werner Herzog remake of Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans). Or the fitting yet amazing alliance of Herzog and David Lynch (My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done) and the hopefully one-day realized project uniting Lynch and Alejandro Jodorowsky (King Shot).
What other directorial team-ups do you wish would happen? Below are seven that I'd like to see, off the top of my head. To make it a little more fun, I've chosen odd pairings linked by a commonly employed actor.
Abel Ferrara and Werner Herzog (with Williem Dafoe)
Now that there's strife between these two filmmakers following Herzog's pseudo remake of Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant, it's only more necessary for them to be handcuffed together for a remake of Fitzcarraldo starring Dafoe as the title character, now put with the task of carting a riverboat across the island of Manhattan (the urban jungle) -- up and over the buildings. I'd like to see Christopher Walken in there somewhere, too, but I can't decide in what role. Seriously, though, when are Herzog and Walken going to really get together for a movie?
Uwe Boll and Steven Spielberg (with Ben Kingsley)
Spielberg has mentored many filmmakers in the past, and some of them went on to be well-respected directors in Hollywood. Maybe this is the kind of thing that would get Boll more favor. After all, if Spielberg can produce the work of Michael Bay (who Boll has called a "retard"), he can't do much worse in overseeing and financing something from the man infamously known as the worst director in the world (who also has called Spielberg "sloppy"). Here's what they could do: like the Spielberg-produced, Clint Eastwood-directed WWII film Letter from Iwo Jima, Boll could direct for Spielberg a sequel/companion piece to Saving Private Ryan, which focuses on the Normandy invasion from the German perspective. Kingsley could pass as a Nazi, right? He's played just about every other type.
Michael Bay and Kathryn Bigelow (with David Morse)
Speaking of Bay, wouldn't he great for a remake of The Hurt Locker, given his reputation for explosion-heavy blockbusters? Yes, I'm kidding, but only a little bit. I keep wondering if Bigelow's Oscar-nominated movie existed exactly as it does but claimed to be directed by Bay, would it have made more money? And would it still have garnered all the critical love? I guess it's a stupid hypothetical since it's obviously a better film than Bay is capable of. But what if Bay worked with such talented editors? Anyway, I think it's an interesting pairing to consider, especially since both directors are responsible for inspiring much of Hot Fuzz. So maybe Edgar Wright should be involved somehow. As for unifying actors, the best I've got is the underrated Morse, who appears in small roles in Bay's The Rock and The Hurt Locker.
Woody Allen and Michael Moore (with Alan Alda and Wallace Shawn)
Remember when Moore attempted to make a fiction film? The result, Canadian Bacon, starred Allen's pals Alan Alda and Wallace Shawn as the U.S. President and Canadian Prime Minister, respectively. It wasn't very good, but it seemed to be going for the feel of Allen's early comedy Bananas. These two filmmakers, both of whom are known for appearing too much in their own work, could get together and try to figure out what was missing with Moore's movie. Now that the documentarian is interested in returning to fiction, perhaps Allen could offer him some tips. Or, on the other hand, I've always wondered what an actual documentary from Allen might look like (his mockumentary Zelig is one of my favorites of his), so maybe Moore could oversee that. Either way, Alda and Shawn, who also appeared recently in Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story, would have to involved in some capacity.
Quentin Tarantino and Brad Bird (with Samuel L. Jackson)
Tarantino has featured animation in his films before, but imagine him doing an entire animated feature with the assistance of the guy behind Pixar's best movies. Bridging the filmmakers' works is Samuel L. Jackson, who voiced a supporting character in Bird's The Incredibles, and now he would headline the collaboration. My ideal team-up would be an animated movie detailing the "walk the Earth" adventures of Pulp Fiction's Jules Winnfield. Just imagine how many movie homages there'd be if both Tarantino and Pixar animators are involved.
Terrence Malick and Christopher Nolan (with Christian Bale)
Here's a crazy idea. So crazy it just might work! Terrence Malick should direct the Superman reboot that's now being shepherded by Batman franchise director Christopher Nolan. I can't really describe what it would be like, but I can close my eyes and see it, and it looks amazing. There's young Clark walking through fields near the Kent farm, his hand brushing the tips of the tall grasses. There's Sean Penn as Lex Luthor. It's a more poetic and philosophical take on the superhero, of course, but I'm sure Malick can supply enough action to make the fans happy, too. As for Bale, no I don't see him as playing the lead. He'd just connect the directors via a cameo as Bruce Wayne.
Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam (with Johnny Depp)
Burton and Gilliam were my favorite filmmakers around the mid '90s, when I thought I wanted to make crazy fantastical films inspired by Lewis Carroll and George Melies. Eventually they each made films that disappointed me, and now I wonder if I'd have liked those particular films better if made by the other director. Like if Gilliam made Sleepy Hollow or if Burton made Tideland. And while I'm at this game, I'm trying to imagine Gilliam doing my favorite Burton, Edward Scissorhands, and vice versa with The Fisher King. I guess in Burton's versions, Depp would fill in for Bridges. The only connection Burton and Bridges have had is through TRON, and that doesn't really count.