Norrington first worked in film as a special effects artist, doing so for several years, which included work on the films Aliens and Split Second. His debut as a director was in the 1994 movie Death Machine but it was directing Blade in 1998 that gained him international status as the film became a box office hit. Despite the film's success, Norrington turned down directing the sequel. The most recent film he directed was League of Extraordinary Gentlemen during which he had such a hard time with Sean Connery, the film's star, that he announced he would never direct another film again. He would later change his mind, though as of 2018 he has yet to do so. Norrington was originally attached to Dimension Films's Ghost Rider before the project was acquired by Columbia Pictures. Norrington was originally set to direct a remake of the 1981 fantasy film Clash of the Titans, before the position went to Louis Leterrier, director of The Incredible Hulk. In 2008 it was announced that Norrington would direct a reboot of The Crow franchise. In 2010 it was reported that Norrington would direct and write the supernatural action thriller The Lost Patrol to be distributed by Legendary Pictures. In December 2011, Norrington revealed in an interview that, for the past year, he'd been working on Untitled Norrington Genre Project #1, based on a feature film script he wrote in April 2008 for that years Script Frenzy challenge. Centering on car chases, the project was said to feature both live-action footage, and scale models for greenscreen shots. Norrington revealed he was doing most of the work himself, much like with his 2001 film, The Last Minute.
Norrington has had several unrealised projects throughout his career, listed here in roughly chronological order. During a career that has spanned over 20 years, Norrington has worked on projects which never progressed beyond the pre-production stage under his direction. Many of the films were produced after he left production. In 1999, Norrington was offered to direct Blade II, the sequel to his 1998 film. He turned it down, resulting in the studio hiring Guillermo del Toro to replace him. In 2001, Norrington was originally attached to Dimension Films's Ghost Rider before the project was acquired by Columbia Pictures. The film was eventually released in 2007 directed by Mark Steven Johnson. In 2001, Norrington announced that he had agreed to direct a film based on The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu, a film adaptation based on the Marvel character Shang-Chi. Norrington described the film as "a real honest-to-goodness martial arts film, rather than a film that simply has martial arts in it". In 2004, it was announced that Ang Lee had been brought on as producer. In 2005, it was announced that Stan Lee had agreed to executive produce the film for DreamWorks, with Yuen Woo-ping directing from a Bruce McKenna screenplay. In 2005, Avi Arad stated that he thought that a PG-13 adaptation was possible. In 2006, Ang Lee confirmed his and Yuen's continued involvement with the project. In December 2018, a different film adaptation of Shang-Chi was announced, with a script by David Callaham, without Norrington. Shortly after Warner Bros. acquired the rights in 2002, Stephen Norrington was slated to direct a remake to the 1988 filmAkira, with James Robinson writing the screenplay and Dan Lin producing. Norrington had planned to make the remake more appealing to Western audiences, making Kaneda and Tetsuo brothers. Following the commercial disappointment of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003, which both Norrington and Robinson were also on, the project was put on hold. In 2003, Norrington's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was intended to spawn a film franchise based on further titles in the original comic book series, but there was little enthusiasm for a sequel due to disappointing performance at the box office. In 2013, after the sequel was scrapped, it was reported that Fox was ordering a pilot for the television version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with Michael Green serving as writer and executive producer. If the project went to series, Norrington and showrunner Erwin Stoff would have had executive produced. Neither Moore nor O'Neill would be producers on the series. It had also been reported that the pilot episode would still be broadcast, even if Fox opted not to green-light the series. Only a couple years after news of the television series ceased, The Tracking Board reported, on 26 May 2015, that 20th Century Fox and Davis Entertainment had agreed to develop a reboot film with hopes of launching a new franchise. The report stated that a search was underway for a director who could help "continue to develop the reboot". John Davis told Collider in an interview that the reboot will be a female-centric film. Since then, there has not been any further announcements, falling into development hell. In 2007, Norrington was originally set to direct the remake of the 1981 fantasy film Clash of the Titans. However, Norrington was unsure about his direction for the project because he did not grow up with the original. Louis Leterrier, who did, contacted Norrington through their shared agent about replacing him. Leterrier's film was released in 2010. In 2008, it was announced that Norrington would direct a reboot of The Crow franchise. He left the film by 2013 and was replaced by F. Javier Gutiérrez. By July 2015, Gutiérrez eventually left the project and was replaced by Corin Hardy. Hardy also left the project on 31 May 2018, leaving the film in limbo. In 2010, Norrington was going to direct and write the supernatural action thriller The Lost Patrol to be distributed by Legendary Pictures. Since then, there has not been any further development.