Paul Verhoeven Declined To Direct Legendary Flop ‘Cutthroat Island’ To Focus On His Expensive ‘Crusade’ Movie Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger

Paul Verhoeven is busy these days making more slightly more artsy films than his commercial Hollywood work with projects like the WWII espionage pic “Black Book,” the French-language revenge thriller “Elle,” and his latest the erotic nun movie “Benedetta” that will debut this week at Cannes. 

In the 1990s, Verhoeven attempted to recapture the magic from the Oscar-winning sci-fi action satire blockbuster “Total Recall” by reuniting with Arnold Schwarzenegger for a big-budget epic “Crusade,” that would see the action star returning to his “Conan The Barbarian” roots. The project is Hollywood legend as the studio behind “Total Recall,” Carolco was having massive financial troubles at the time and had two pricey projects on deck, they could only afford to make one of them. Those projects being “Crusade” and the other Geena Davis-led pirate adventure blockbuster “Cutthroat Island,” the studio picked the pirate movie and it tanked so hard it bankrupted the studio, ultimately killing Carolco and “Crusade” among other films with it. 

In an interview with Variety, the Dutch filmmaker reveals that Carolco originally offered him “Cutthroat Island,” but declined because his passion was for reuniting with Schwarzenegger and dishes some details as the project would have seen his character become the king of Jerusalem only settle on a farm by the end of the film, taking cues from Voltaire‘s “Candide.”

Verhoeven reveals he almost made “Cutthroat” after it was offered to him but declined, At one point they even asked me if I was interested in “Cutthroat Island,” but I really wanted to work with Arnold again after “Total Recall.” Our idea was to make this movie where Arnold becomes the king of Jerusalem. At the end he abandons all of that to live with his girlfriend and settles in a little farm. It’s basically the end from Voltaire’s ‘Candide,’ when the main character is asked what he’s going to do now and he says he’s going to cultivate his own garden.

When it was time to make “Pirates of The Caribbean: Curse of The Black Pearl,” Disney must have been extremely nervous after “Waterworld” and “Cutthroat Island” being monster bombs, both boat/ocean based adventure movies.

Some of the other never made Schwarzenegger movies include a mostly silent version of “I Am Legend” from director Ridley Scott with mostly practical effects that turned into the Will Smith vehicle and a direct sequel to “Total Recall” based on Philip K. Dick‘s “Minority Report” that in the wake of Carolco’s bankruptcy switched studios with director Steven Spielberg severing all ties to “Total Recall” and hiring Tom Cruise to star. 

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