Unfinished Business

This is list of projects Jarmusch has reportedly been planning to do, but never realized, or stuff that he's finished but which hasn't been released. I'd be grateful if you'd let me know if you have any more detailed info on any of these projects, or if you have heard of anything else not included here.


- Student films -

"Only one of [my student films] did I finish. It was a very structural kind of narrative film. It was shown at the Museum of Modern Art once, but I never showed it again. Another one I made called Cinesthesia was shown at the Times Square Show, in 1981, I think. I don't know, they weren't completely realized films. I wouldn't want to show them again. The one that was shown at the Museum of Modern Art was all cut to some music by Henry Cowell - a piece of his percussion music from 1934." [Stark, The Underground Film Bulletin, 1984]

"I had made two or three films before [Permanent Vacation], as a student, which I think are lost, hopefully, forever." [Rosenbaum, interview at the Walker Art Center, 1994]

- The Garden of Divorce -

"I hade written a script after Permanent Vacation that I was trying to get produced, and I had written a part for [Eszter Balint], but I was never able to get the money together to make it. And then instead, through circumstances, I made Stranger Than Paradise. But I had written something already - a different character and story - specifically for Eszter. That was a film that I had also written one of the main characters for John Lurie." [Belsito, Notes from the Pop Underground, 1984]

(the script, planned as a 12 min short to be shot on 35mm, co-written with Luc Sante, can be read here)

- After Stranger Than Paradise -

"I don't really want to talk about [my next film] because I'm writing two and I'm not quite sure which one I will do next. One is kind of like Stranger in that it's funny and sad, but it's a love story between two seventeen-, eighteen-year olds, who are petty criminals. It's kind of a road movie but it's much more emotional and passionate than Stranger, and it's more delicate because the sexuality of the characters is very important.

Is it set in America?

Yes." [Belsito, Notes from the Pop Underground, 1984]

- Film about Andrew Jackson -

"A few years ago, when I'd be looking at Rossellini's historical films, I wanted to make a film about Andrew Jackson: the true story of Andrew Jackson, about a guy who commits genocide, who slaughters the Indians in Florida, who starts his law practice in Tennessee by importing hookers over the mountains from Virginia and pimping them off. These are things he actually did, and now he's on our currency and revered as an American hero." [Luc Sante, Interview, 1989]

- Early Ghost Dog -

"Didn't you originally intend to make Dead Man in 1989, following Mystery Train?

No, it wasn't Dead Man. It was another story called Ghost Dog. It was a somewhat different story: there was no William Blake, of course. There were a few elements that were sort of pillaged from that for Dead Man, but it's not the same story. I wasn't able to get that film financed and I basically abandoned it. And when I wrote Dead Man I didn't even reread it or refer to it, because I had a painful relationship to it because I wasn't able to get it off." [Steven Chean, FilmZone, 1996]

"Jim Jarmusch had been thinking about doing a western for a long, long time, at one point collaborating with Rudy Wurlitzer on a cowboy opus called Ghost Dog." [Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer, 12 May 1996]

- The Incredible Paradox -

"With more movie deals in the works, including a life-story film on [Screamin' Jay] Hawkins to be directed by Jarmusch, the 60-year-old singer/songwriter/musician/actor is quite possibly hotter than ever -- and getting hotter. And man, can he ever still tell a tale...

As far as stories go, surely none could play better than the life of Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Any film on the topic obviously would have a fascinating plotline already working for it, and with the talented Jarmusch at the helm of just such a project (not to mention Hawkins himself around to star in it), the planned movie, set to begin shooting in November, sounds promising indeed.

'The name of the picture will be The Incredible Paradox,' revealed Hawkins. 'The reason for that is the three people -- I've got three personalities. There's 'Screamin' Jay Hawkins,' there's 'Jay Hawkins' and there's 'Jalacy Hawkins,' which is the name on my birth certificate, my driving license and Social Security card -- it's the name I use for business. 'Jay Hawkins' is the hoodlum but 'Jalacy Hawkins' is the intelligent one; he'll sit down and discuss things. 'Jay Hawkins' you don't want to hear nothin' from -- he's the one they put in the service, he was so bad ... I bring him out when things look like they're gonna get bad, when it looks like a group of gentlemen may want to go through my pockets with or without my permission. And 'Screamin' Jay Hawkins' is the workhorse, the one that gets out on stage and earns a living for the other two idiots; I call 'em idiots 'cause they all get me in trouble." [David R. Stampone, March 1990] (thanks Larry!)

- Book for Hanuman Press -

"I have been writing a little book. Do you know this little publisher - Hanuman Press - that does those little tiny books? There is a Burroughs one about painting and guns, there's a Patti Smith one. They asked me to do a book. I haven't finished it yet, but I've been writing just little anecdotes of things that have happened in my life, not related to films at all, but just stupid little things that have happened that I think are maybe funny. As a kind of like memoirs, but in a random order." [Danny Plotnick, The Village Noize, 1994]

- Coming through Slaughter -

I've also heard a rumor that in the late eighties Jarmusch bought the rights to Michael Ondaatje's novel "Coming Through Slaughter", presumably with the intention to make a screen adaptation. Jarmusch evidently took part in a screenplay reading of it at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in 1994.

This is a short synopsis from Amazon:

"Bringing to life the fabulous, colorful panorama of New Orleans in the first flush of the jazz era, this book tells the story of Buddy Bolden, the first of the great trumpet players--some say the originator of jazz--who was, in any case, the genius, the guiding spirit, and the king of that time and place."

- Biopic about Joey Ramone (1951-2001) -

There is a rumor about a possible future film about Jarmusch friend Joey Ramone of The Ramones.

Not yet released:

- Coffee and Cigarettes parts 4 - ? -

Through the years Jarmusch has talked about the Coffee and Cigarettes shorts as an ongoing project to eventually be released as a collection of ten to fifteen shorts in the series. He hasn't talked in detail about any of them (except of course for the three episodes which have already been released), though here he reveals something about one of them:

"Jarmusch is very excited about an upcoming episode, in which he plans to use one of his longtime idols, guts 'n' glory director Samuel Fuller. 'Of course, that segment,' Jarmusch notes reverently, 'will have to be retitled Cognac and Cigars.'" [Lance Loud, American Film, January 1990]

Also, the Contributors section of Interview magazine (May 2003) reveals this:
"Music is the most beautiful form of expression," says filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, who interviews Jack and Meg White for this issue. A fan of his subjects since hearing their first album De Stijl, he recently directed the two in a short film called Coffee and Cigarettes (Jack Shows Meg His Tesla Coil), part of an ongoing series. Jarmusch is currently working on an as as-yet-untitled feature project, as well as other shorts for his series.





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