Wish List for Book to Movie Adaptations

This forum caters to our literary tastes.

Postby Peven on Mon Oct 09, 2006 6:12 pm

with all the fantasy books being optioned and written for the big screen lately, i feel it is a shame that some old school fantasy authors that were around looooong before fantasy become "cool" are not getting their due. for instance, Patricia McKillip. her Riddlemaster trilogy is one of the main reasons i became such a fantasy junkie as a teenager, and would be a cinematic gem in the right hands. certainly as good, if not almost certainly considrably better, than yet another dragon movie, imo. for anyone who enjoys fantasy, read them, you won't be sorry.
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Postby Lady Sheridan on Mon Oct 09, 2006 6:36 pm

TheBaxter wrote:i want to see an awesome theatrical version of "bunnicula"


YES!! Oh, that would be so cool. I loved that book as a kid and I think it holds up well today. And with the good CGI nowadays, it would be very possible.

What a great cure for all those damn Over The Hedge/Open Season/Some Animals That Talk Sarcastic In the Jungle/Penguin animated movies...
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Postby Peven on Wed Oct 11, 2006 10:00 am

anyone here ever read anything by Andre Norton? she must be in her mid 90's by now and was, i believe, the first woman to be a widely published sci-fi/fantasy author. she began her career way back in the 50's, and had to take a male nom de plume because publishers didn't think people would buy sci-fi/fantasy written by a woman. for pure pulp sci-fi/fantasy fun her Witch World books are hard to beat, and would make for great popcorn movie material. we are talking modern day man transported to another dimension/world by sitting on an Aurthurian relic/throne, witches, olde magic, swamp mermaids, zombies, aliens, norse and celtic inspired warriors, and sex. good times, good times.
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Postby clownboy on Wed Oct 11, 2006 10:28 am

Last night I picked reread some of my old Jack Jackson comics, Commanche Moon and Indian Lover...and I thought, why the fuck haven't these been made into movies. They are both epic in scope, fantastic characters and stories and better yet, based on historical events.
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Postby Vynson on Mon Oct 23, 2006 11:07 am

I'd love to see more Robert Cormier adaptations. "The Chocolate War" was cool. I'd love to see them do "Fade."

I'd also love an adaptation of Jack Finney's wonderful novel "Time and Again." A classic.

On the topic of time travel, Audrey Niffenegger's "The Time Traveler's Wife" is a beautiful read that would make an awesome flick. Last I looked, Pitt's Plan B ProdCo had the rights, but that was back when he was with Aniston and the two of them were going to star... now he seems more likely to get wrapped up in Atlas Shrugged... which, no matter how you feel about the novel seems destined to be a bad movie.
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Postby clownboy on Mon Oct 23, 2006 1:19 pm

Death Comes to the Archbishop by Willa Cather. Just read it again and I'm convinced that it would be an amazing film with the right cast.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:51 pm

Peven wrote:anyone here ever read anything by Andre Norton? she must be in her mid 90's by now and was, i believe, the first woman to be a widely published sci-fi/fantasy author.


Mary Shelley?
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Postby SilentBobX on Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:09 pm

My current wish list is:

Ringworld: Probably be a massive undertaking, but it'd be worth it.

World War Z: Not read it but the movie's coming so I guess I'll have to get the book now.

Also, I wouldn't mind a documentary style movie on Hunter Thompson's novel Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 72. I doubt it'd work as an actual movie however.
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Wish List for Book to Movie Adaptations

Postby bastard_robo on Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:21 pm

I want an animated CALVIN AND HOBBES movie (i dont know if you would consider that a book or not)

The DECENT (Jeff Longs book) About a physical hell found in a never ending cave system beneath the earth.

Reble with out a crew (a nice biography of a great filmmaker)
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Postby Peven on Thu Oct 26, 2006 11:49 pm

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:
Peven wrote:anyone here ever read anything by Andre Norton? she must be in her mid 90's by now and was, i believe, the first woman to be a widely published sci-fi/fantasy author.


Mary Shelley?


ok, i guess she could qualify as the first, i hadn't thought of her. still, aside from Frankenstein what else did she publish in the sci-fi/fantasy genre? as an author i'd say she was a one-hit-wonder, while Norton has published many many books from the 50's to near present day. check some of her stuff out and you should be pleased, just don't pick one where she collaborated with Mercedes Lackey. like i said before, her Witch World material is her best imo.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sat Oct 28, 2006 6:42 am

Peven wrote:still, aside from Frankenstein what else did she publish in the sci-fi/fantasy genre? as an author i'd say she was a one-hit-wonder.


The Last Man

Two-hit-wonder.

wasn't calling you out, I'd never heard of Norton, I was just surprised you didn't mention Shelley.
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Postby Eunuch Provocateur on Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:29 pm

Fuck adaptations. I want some better original movies. Everything seems to be either a Chinese ripoff or a remake or an adaptation. Bah.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:32 pm

Eunuch Provocateur wrote:or a remake or an adaptation. Bah.


heh, originality? In hoe-wood?

wave of the future is going to be remaking adaptations of remade adaptations.
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Postby havocSchultz on Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:45 pm

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:
wave of the future is going to be remaking adaptations of remade adaptations.




And then they'll make sequels to those...
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Postby Tyrone_Shoelaces on Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:58 pm

havocSchultz wrote:
Keepcoolbutcare wrote:wave of the future is going to be remaking adaptations of remade adaptations.


And then they'll make sequels to those...


Which will then be re-imagined... *shudder*
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Postby havocSchultz on Sat Oct 28, 2006 4:37 pm

Tyrone_Shoelaces wrote:
havocSchultz wrote:
Keepcoolbutcare wrote:wave of the future is going to be remaking adaptations of remade adaptations.


And then they'll make sequels to those...


Which will then be re-imagined... *shudder*


And then pre-qualized...
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Sun Nov 05, 2006 1:23 pm

Hey Kids,

I was kicking back and enjoying the sunny London weather with a Terry Pratchett book (Colour of Magic) and wondered why there has been no films made from this guy, even TV based. Such a huge mine of full stories that have only been touched on my a crap cartoon ten years ago.

Another author could be Jasper Fford - could make a trilogy of the Thursday Next series. Fford was a Tv producer before he bagan writing so he thinks visually as it is. Anyone agree??

There's a couple of my suggestions.... so wadda you think?
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Books you'd love to see onscreen, but know would get the sha

Postby Peven on Sun Jan 07, 2007 2:04 am

you know what i mean, a book or series of books that you love, have fantasized seeing made into a film that would capture what you see in your mind when you read it, but when you seriously think about it, you just know in this reality that wouldn't happen and instead it would get butchered.

two series for me fit that category to a T.

first, The Many Colored Land series of 4 sci-fi/fantasy books by Julian May. great books, great story, starting out in the future, with great characters, about time travel, the Pliocene age, telepathic powers, aliens, alien-human hybrids, all woven so cleverly and well as to fit in with mythology and the present. there is just too much complexity to trust any studio in tranlsating well, as well as the fact that it would have to be R-rated to really be faithful to the tone of the books, as much for the sex as the violence. also, there are just too many characters to fit in a movie, yet almost all really play an important part of the quilt of the story told and cutting some out would end up leaving gaps that would weaken the whole, imo.


second, The Book of the New Sun, by Gene Wolfe, another 4 book series. no way would i trust Hollywood to adapt even the first book, Shadow of the Torturer, let alone the whole series. a story told something like 1 million years in the future, yet life on "Urth" has regressed to that of a medieval type of existance, with the exception of the minute number of ultra rich who have access to technology far beyond that which we know now. (though, that is only a very small portion of the storyline)

we're talking about a book written from the first-person, a guy who was raised as a Torturer and calls those he works on "clients" and after he first feels sympathy for one, a woman, he kills her to relieve her pain, and then ends up eating a part of her in a ceremony that translates part of her consciousness into his, and for the rest of the books her thoughts come out as well at intervals. so when the narrator, the protagonist is talking to the reader, she just pops in without warning, and doesn't identify herself either. it is brilliant in its concept and execution, really, but i just don't see how you translate that onscreen.

lets just say they could work that out, and numerous other bizarre aspects of the books, the last several chapters of the 4th book make the ending of 2001 seem clear, concise and easy to understand. ok, that is something of an exageration, but it is pretty heavy duty stuff to wrap your mind around.


so, there are my first two. i would bet that there are some people who really loved the Dune series that are sorry a movie was ever made of it, since so much was lost in the translation. in fact, i know of at least one who has told me that. lets hear about some others....
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Postby Lady Sheridan on Sun Jan 07, 2007 3:36 am

Good question, Peven. The one that leaps immediately to mind is Connie Willis (the author I mention way to much on here)'s "Passage." That book has a great twist in the middle, but I think the rest of it is too weird. And "Doomsday Book" which seems tailor made for the screen would probably star Gwyneth Paltrow and turn into a Timeline cringe-fest.

So many of my favorite books or stories have already been ruined onscreen--Mists of Avalon (datedly feminist though it may be), was a unique take on King Arthur rewritten into a drippy mini-series.

My favorite medieval/Arthurian legend was Tristan and Isolde and I've always wanted to read or see the ultimate version. Thanks alot Kevin Reynolds. :roll:

I still don't have high hopes for Zemeckis' "Beowulf" as adaptations go, but I could eat my words. "Beowulf and Grendel" fell short of the mark too.

I'd love to see "The Odyssey," especially with Sean Bean as Odysseus, but it would end up being as bland as Troy.

I've never managed to watch a version of "Wuthering Heights" because it would ruin the book for me. None that I know of have ever captured the book.

Considering they can't get "The Hobbit" made, I have no hopes for any of The Silmarillion. Somehow I think "Beren and Luthien" would go the way of Tristan and Isolde.
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Postby Al Shut on Sun Jan 07, 2007 7:44 am

My current favourite Rumo & His Miracoulous Adventures. Half of the book or more are backstories and digressions which would be gone for structure and time concerns. And of course that are all the best parts. Also it may be to brutal to not tone it down.


Lady Sheridan wrote: I have no hopes for any of The Silmarillion.


Any take on the Silmarillion would have to include way to much work of a screenwriter. I believe that a good version is possible when I see it, not a second earlier.
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Postby unikrunk on Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:21 am

Al_Shut wrote:Any take on the Silmarillion would have to include way to much work of a screenwriter. I believe that a good version is possible when I see it, not a second earlier.


Yep - KCBC and I spoke of this when I first jumped into the zone.

A literal translation probably could not be brought to the screen; however, I think you could get three great acts from the Quenta Silmarillion and the Book of Akallabêth.

There is a lot of material that would work on screen in those two books, but I think a LOTR type trilogy could capture the essence.

On another note, I would love to see someone tackle The Chronicles of Prydain
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Postby ONeillSG1 on Sun Jan 07, 2007 1:45 pm

Ender's Game. They will never get it right. They can't recreate the coolness factor of reading it and engrossing yourself into that world.
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Postby Peven on Sun Jan 07, 2007 1:50 pm

unikrunk wrote:
On another note, I would love to see someone tackle The Chronicles of Prydain


same here, but those are books that i could actually see being translatable into good movies. which means you should discuss it in the "books i'd love to see made into movies" thread, you inappropriate bastard. :P
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Postby unikrunk on Sun Jan 07, 2007 1:55 pm

Peven wrote:
unikrunk wrote:
On another note, I would love to see someone tackle The Chronicles of Prydain


same here, but those are books that i could actually see being translatable into good movies. which means you should discuss it in the "books i'd love to see made into movies" thread, you inappropriate bastard. :P


Ahhh, you make a sound argument, my dear Pev - this is further proof of the reality of adult onset of thread-retardation (AOTR). Please donate to the fund, as they try to find a cure. I really need it.
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Postby Chilli on Sun Jan 07, 2007 2:09 pm

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Postby HollywoodBabylon on Sun Jan 07, 2007 2:57 pm

Percy Wyndham Lewis's trilogy The Human Age - a completely unclassifible work of brilliance - should, in theory, make an amazing movie but it's so vast and complex that I don't think any director could get to grips with it.
Olaf Stapledon's Star Makeris one of my favourite sci-fi novels but again I don't know how a filmmaker could capture the essence of it's themes of the Cosmos and Infinity and everything inbetween.
And I'd love to see a 3 part definitive movie version of Dante's The Divine Comedy. But I fear an overuse of CGI and the like would swamp the greatness of it's words and story.
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Postby TonyWilson on Sun Jan 07, 2007 2:59 pm

Iain M Banks' Culture Novels would be amazing screen experiences if they let me have total creative control and an unlimited budget, otherwise it would be impossible to convey the sheer wonder at reading emails between quantum functioning AI or the sarcasm to the power of 10 that the drones have.

Damn shame really.
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Postby Chilli on Sun Jan 07, 2007 3:14 pm

TonyWilson wrote:Iain M Banks' Culture Novels would be amazing screen experiences if they let me have total creative control and an unlimited budget, otherwise it would be impossible to convey the sheer wonder at reading emails between quantum functioning AI or the sarcasm to the power of 10 that the drones have.

Damn shame really.


Destroys the less is more approach, but darnit... Hollywood should give us all £10 million to make films.
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Postby TonyWilson on Sun Jan 07, 2007 3:26 pm

I'd need 500 million at least. But damn, I'd think it was worth it. And that's what counts really.
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Postby Wolfpack on Sun Jan 07, 2007 3:50 pm

Any Edward Rutherfurd book. It would have to be a Robert Altman-like ensemble cast due to the number of characters and the fact that his novels cover many centuries of history.
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Postby Seppuku on Sun Jan 07, 2007 5:44 pm

TonyWilson wrote:Iain M Banks' Culture Novels would be amazing screen experiences if they let me have total creative control and an unlimited budget, otherwise it would be impossible to convey the sheer wonder at reading emails between quantum functioning AI or the sarcasm to the power of 10 that the drones have.

Damn shame really.


Goes without saying I agree with this. But which book though? Consider Phlebas would be too fragmented. Not enough of that good old three-act structure Master Whedon loves so much. Some studio actually has the rights to State of the Art, but I doubt they'll end up doing much with it.

If you ask me, I'd start with something really noiry like Against a Dark Background, but I'm not so sure how mainstream that would be. Let's go with Player of Games as a compromise. Thanks.


AND, what's the end of this thread's title supposed to be Pev? Don't leave a brother hangin' like this. :x
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Postby Peven on Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:54 pm

seppukudkurosawa wrote:
TonyWilson wrote: Iain M Banks' Culture Novels would be amazing screen experiences if they let me have total creative control and an unlimited budget, otherwise it would be impossible to convey the sheer wonder at reading emails between quantum functioning AI or the sarcasm to the power of 10 that the drones have.

Damn shame really.


Goes without saying I agree with this. But which book though? Consider Phlebas would be too fragmented. Not enough of that good old three-act structure Master Whedon loves so much. Some studio actually has the rights to State of the Art, but I doubt they'll end up doing much with it.

If you ask me, I'd start with something really noiry like Against a Dark Background, but I'm not so sure how mainstream that would be. Let's go with Player of Games as a compromise. Thanks.


AND, what's the end of this thread's title supposed to be Pev? Don't leave a brother hangin' like this. :x


"Books you'd love to see onscreen, but know would get the...............






















.....shaft" :lol:
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Postby Orcus on Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:06 am

For me, anything HP Lovecraft since they are period pieces. There were a few pitiful atttempts in the 80's and I think the REANIMATOR series was the most successful.

Delving in the archives of AICN there were some preproduction sketches of the Deep Ones for a HPL project that never came to fruition.
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Tue Jan 09, 2007 11:48 am

This is a the very interesting question, eh Peven?

One a thing, which is a the problem always, is a that trying to condense a the book a down inna to a the 2 hours, she donna always a work out, eh? It's a not a like a the producers anna the directors, they start out a by saying "I'm a gonna to turn a this a book inna to a the pile of a the shit, no?" Of a course, the Dino, he's a had a the moderate success with a the Hannibal Lecter series, no? But a when a you got a the cannibalistic anti-hero atta the core, how can a you go wrong?

Ultimately, to do some of a these a works correctly anna give a them their due, some of a the cable channels, they should a come uppa with a the adaptation mini-series, no?

Think about a the Stephen King's The Stand done onna the HBO as a the 24-part a series or a something, no? Then a you have a the time a to explore alla that a the book, she has a to offer, no? Without a having to worry about alla the censorship of a the networks, either.
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Postby DennisMM on Tue Jan 09, 2007 11:54 am

Lady Sheridan wrote:I still don't have high hopes for Zemeckis' "Beowulf" as adaptations go, but I could eat my words. "Beowulf and Grendel" fell short of the mark too.


Keep your hopes up for Neil Gaiman's animated "Beowulf." I think it has a strong chance of being interesting.

To Your Scattered Bodies Go can still be brilliant, but I fear they'd muck it up as badly as the Sci-Fi channel movie, Riverworld. "Point of View/Identification" character, my ass.
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Postby Fawst on Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:59 pm

Ok, I'll take the honors of dropping the obvious names here:

The Dark Tower by Stephen King
Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
Dragonlance Chronicles by Weiss and Hickman
Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin

On the cusp (could be great, could be crap):

Any book by William Gibson
Necroscope by Brian Lumley (? I forget)
Xanth by Piers Anthony
Prince of the Land of Stench!
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Postby Peven on Wed Jan 10, 2007 3:18 pm

DinoDeLaurentiis wrote:This is a the very interesting question, eh Peven?

One a thing, which is a the problem always, is a that trying to condense a the book a down inna to a the 2 hours, she donna always a work out, eh? It's a not a like a the producers anna the directors, they start out a by saying "I'm a gonna to turn a this a book inna to a the pile of a the shit, no?" Of a course, the Dino, he's a had a the moderate success with a the Hannibal Lecter series, no? But a when a you got a the cannibalistic anti-hero atta the core, how can a you go wrong?

Ultimately, to do some of a these a works correctly anna give a them their due, some of a the cable channels, they should a come uppa with a the adaptation mini-series, no?

Think about a the Stephen King's The Stand done onna the HBO as a the 24-part a series or a something, no? Then a you have a the time a to explore alla that a the book, she has a to offer, no? Without a having to worry about alla the censorship of a the networks, either.


very good points, Dino. it is a shame HBO doesn't do the mini-series thing, because if they did and at the same level of quality of shows like Deadwood, The Sopranos, etc, we would get to see some great fictional works brought to life well. then again, given a decent budget and real dedication a long, unwieldy book can be translated into a great movie, as PJ and Co proved with LOTR.
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Postby godzillasushi on Wed Jan 10, 2007 3:22 pm

Since this thread is up here....Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. I love the character, hes very kind and very brave! But it would be very easy to screw it up or turn it into a Sixth Sense clone...
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Postby MasterWhedon on Wed Jan 10, 2007 3:24 pm

seppukudkurosawa wrote:Not enough of that good old three-act structure Master Whedon loves so much.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! I love being structure guy! :twisted:
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Postby DennisMM on Wed Jan 10, 2007 3:35 pm

You're not alone. Fucking David Lynch.
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Postby Anti-Christ on Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:09 am

I'd love to see a theatrical version of Lovecraft's "Shadow Out of Time". But Hollywood in general, and the cinema specifically, have had problems with Lovecraftian tales. Still, the idea is epic enough to carry a flick.
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Postby LaDracul on Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:32 am

On Sommers' to-do list, there is "Magic Kingdom for Sale-SOLD!" written by Terry Brooks with a screenplay by Lowell Gantz and Babaloo Mandel. (Man, don't you love that name?) However, these two decided that Ben, the main character, should have two teenage kids instead of being alone. I think it's a lousy idea. Isn't the reason he goes to the land in the first place because he had nothing holding him back? I hope they ditch the kids and order a rewrite. The rest of the book, however, is fab.
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Postby Adam Balm on Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:03 am

BUMP

Anti-Christ wrote:I'd love Turtledove's "WorldWar" series to go to screen. Lizards with machine guns. Come on!
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Postby LaDracul on Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:51 am

I'm just wanting Sommers to get his ass going on "Magic Kingdom for Sale-SOLD!" and to get rid of the two teenagers they added in the script.

But, I want-
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Postby pomeroy on Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:11 pm

Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman.

It's the only book he's written that I think could be adapted...and I'd love to see him adapt it. It's a great story.

And, I'm officially stoked for the Temeraire flick. I doubt it'll be as good as I imagined it in my head, but it sounds hot.
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Re:Harlan Ellison's I, Robot script

Postby TheButcher on Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:29 am

DennisMM wrote:[url]I, Robot[/url] (Harlan Ellison's script)

Harlan Ellison's I, Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay
Galen Strickland wrote:
Sometime late in 1977, Harlan Ellison encountered a film producer in the Warner Brothers studio commissary, and the conversation eventually came around to the fact that Warners had optioned Isaac Asimov's I, Robot but had yet to see an acceptable screenplay. When it became apparent that Harlan was both exceedingly familiar with the stories, and also had a definite idea of how it should be adapted to the screen, he was asked to take a crack at a script.

Touching base with Asimov himself on several occasions, Ellison devoted nearly a year to the project, working on it exclusively and putting several other stories and script ideas on hold for the interim. When it was complete and had received Asimov's complete support, Harlan began a series of frustrating meetings with Warners executives. Many changes were suggested, none of which Ellison was willing to implement. As written, his concept of the stories would have been a bold, mature, and complex examination of the life of Susan Calvin, a "robo-psychologist" in the employ of U. S. Robots and Mechanical Men, the world's largest manufacturer of robots.

[PLEASE NOTE: The 2004 film that starred Will Smith was not based on this screenplay, and from what I have read was not even originally based on Asimov's stories. Instead, changes were made to an existing script to add the elements of Asimov's Laws of Robotics and acquire rights to use the title.]

The studio heads, of course, knew exactly what was wrong with the script. It didn't feature cute and comical robots as had become enormously popular the previous year in the original Star Wars film, now known as Episode IV: A New Hope. Nothing Ellison could say was going to alter their perception of the film, so his script was shelved and they went looking for other writers. Several times over the next few years different directors were also approached in connection with the project, and on more than one occasion they asked to see Ellison's script but were informed his version was unacceptable and would not be used. Years later, when it seemed apparent a production based on his script was not likely to be undertaken, Ellison was still anxious for the general SF audience to be able to read and appreciate his work. He was successful in persuading Warner Brothers to allow the screenplay to be printed in a serialized version in Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, and it appeared in the November, December and Holiday issues of 1987. In 1994, Warner Books also issued a hardcover edition of the script, with both color and black-and-white illustrations by Mark Zug.

In his introduction, Ellison expressed the desire for readers who enjoyed the book to contact Warner Brothers and petition them to use his script for a production of the film. This book was out of print for several years, and since back-issues of 23-year old Asimov's would be extremely difficult to find, it is fortunate it has recently been reprinted by I-Books. Now you don't have to take my word for it to understand why this is possibly the greatest SF film never made.

When first informed of the project Ellison correctly surmised the basic mistake other screenwriters had made with their scripts. Since I, Robot is a collection of short stories rather than a continuous novel storyline, most had envisioned it as an omnibus type of film, i.e. an anthology of short vignettes. Even though Ellison also took an episodic approach, his screenplay focused on the character he felt was the most important to the whole saga, that of Susan Calvin. For book publication, Asimov had added connecting passages between many of the stories that related the efforts of a reporter to interview Calvin on the occasion of her retirement from the robot firm for which she had worked her entire adult life. This gave Ellison the idea of emulating one of his favorite films, Citizen Kane, in which a reporter interviews friends and acquainances of Charles Foster Kane following the death of the reclusive tycoon.

An early segment of the screenplay recounts the events of the story "Robbie," with an alteration that replaces Gloria Weston with the young Susan Calvin as the child whose nanny was a robot. It was the devotion of Robbie to young Susan, and her to it, that compells her to pursue a career in robotics. I have read I, Robot several times, and I have also read a few of Asimov's other robot stories, however I have not read them all, which were collected as The Complete Robot in 1982. Ellison used some elements from some of these extra stories in his screenplay, but because of my lack of reading experience with all of the stories I am not sure if some scenes were creations of Ellison himself or based on stories I have not read.

Two different stories in the original I, Robot concerned Stephen Byerly, a lawyer who was suspected of being a robot in disguise and who later entered a career in politics and eventually became chairman of the World Council. Ellison's screenplay begins with the announcement of the death of Byerly, who is described as a chairman of the Galactic Council. Many aspects of Byerly's life had been shrouded in mystery for many years, and an enterprising reporter sets his sights on penetrating these mysteries when he encounters Susan Calvin at the memorial services. Rumors had been rife concerning a possible relationship between Calvin and Byerly, and the reporter figures to uncover truths about the man by probing into the life of Calvin.

She rejects his bid for an interview, so instead he embarks on the task of interviewing co-workers of Calvin's, among them Gregory Powell and Michael Donovan, trouble-shooters for the robot manufacturing firm. In a flashback to their younger days, they tell the reporter of an occasion in which they had observed the ingenuity and strength of will Calvin brought to her profession as robo-psychologist, a discipline which had made her the most knowledgeable authority on the positronic brains of the robots. The story Ellison used for this segment, "Runaround," was one in which Calvin was not featured, however her inclusion in the script version of this story was handled with complete logic.

Another segment of the script is a recreation of the story "Liar." This time the flashback is related by another of Calvin's colleagues, the mathematician Peter Bogert, who is temporarily revived from cryonic suspension for the interview. This is an element I am assuming was a construct of Ellison's that had not appeared in one of the stories, but I may be wrong about that.

The usual instructions for screenwriting is not to include too much description of the scenery, and certainly not camera movements and placement, which is the prerogative of the director and his cinematographer. Thankfully, Ellison has ignored this advice and given an excellent description of this scene. It would have been very easy to visualize it even without Mark Zug's illustrations, but I am glad they were included because they are as masterful an interpretation of Ellison's ideas as Ellison's words are of Asimov's original stories. I have no idea if Harlan had another film in mind when he wrote this scene, but it reminded me of John Carpenter's first film, Dark Star, in which a starship crewman converses with his "dead," cryonically frozen commander.

"Liar" is my favorite of the robot stories, one in which a unknown element in the manufacture of a robotic prototype has rendered the machine capable of reading the minds of its human creators. Herbie, as the robot is known, constrained from harming humans by the restrictions of the Three Laws of Robotics ¹, is forced to lie to them in order to protect them from what it considers information that would harm them psychologically. Even though Herbie knows the reason behind his unusual ability, he witholds this information from Bogert and executive officer Alfred Lanning, since he realizes this information would damage the humans' self-esteem.

When Herbie learns that Susan Calvin harbors an infatuation with another of her colleagues, Milton Ashe, the robot informs her that Ashe is secretly in love with her but is too shy to broach the subject himself. Normally shy and reclusive herself, Calvin eventually begins to believe this lie, but before she is able to open up to Ashe about her feelings he informs her that he is considering marriage to someone else. Devastated by this revelation, Calvin confronts Herbie about the lie. She is able to drive the robot into a catatonic state when it realizes its lies have harmed the humans as much as the truth would have, and thus it has inadvertantly broken the First Law.

One of the Susan Calvin stories not included in I, Robot but that Ellison incorporated into his script is "Lenny." Lenny is another robot prototype which suffers from an error in its manufacture, the error in this case rendering its positronic brain into the semblance of a human infant. All of the robots' brains had been designed for specific purposes, such as off-world mining operations or an intricate manufacturing procedure. Lenny's malfunction occured as a result of a child's random keystrokes on a keyboard inadvertantly left open during a school group's tour of the robot factory. Every official with the company but one feels that Lenny should be destroyed since he would be unable to perform the function intended. Calvin argues in his defense that it is the perfect opportunity to see if a positronic brain could be trained from scratch much as a child learns from its experiences. Her speculation was that such a procedure might result in a multi-purpose, versatile robot capable of learning many tasks. The others relent, and Calvin devotes the rest of her professional life to Lenny's training.

The original story ended there with no indication of whether her experiment was successful or not, but with the implied assumption that anything to which Calvin set her mind would be accomplished. Ellison used this idea as a springboard to tie it into the previously mentioned stories about Stephen Byerly. Toward the end of the screenplay, Calvin finally relents and allows an interview with the crusading reporter. As she tells the story of Lenny it gradually dawns on the reporter what Byerly's great secret had been all along. He was indeed a robot, in fact was the mature Lenny. The most fantastic story of the reporter's career is one he has difficulty accepting himself.

Byerly had been the most successful and respected statesman Earth had ever produced, one who had led humanity into a bold new future that spanned many star systems and had encountered multitudes of other sentient species. To realize that it was a robot that had shaped man's destiny to such a remarkable degree was more than most people would be willing to tolerate, as the hatred of robots was still extremely strong among those who had never ventured off-world where robots were commonplace.

Since reading this screenplay, I have often wondered if some of the ideas presented by Ellison had possibly influenced Asimov in the creation of the series of novels he produced in the 80's which bridged the gap between the robot stories and those of the Foundation series, which had previously not been thematically connected. I have not read all of them either, but one aspect of them that I do know is that Asimov presented the concept that the robots helped create the Galactic Empire as a way to assure the survival of the human species, which the robots felt to be essential in order to literally comply with the First Law.

Regrettably, a film based on Ellison's screenplay may never be produced. Even if another film of I, Robot is ever made using his script as a guideline it would more than likely be re-written by so many other writers, directors and/or producers into such a state as to make it practically unrecognizable to Ellison as his own work, and what is worse it would probably resemble Asimov's stories even less. I was fortunate to be able to obtain this book from the Science Fiction Book Club several years ago, but it is no longer offered by them, in fact at the current time they do not offer any of Ellison's titles and very few of Asimov's either. It is currently available from amazon.com in paperback, plus I am sure you could find it new or used through other online sellers. It is a perfect compliment to the Asimov collection, and it is also an insight into what is really wrong with the production process of Hollywood. This is a film that cries out to be made, just as Ellison envisioned it!
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Re: Wild Cards

Postby TheButcher on Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:30 am

'Game of Thrones' Author's Superhero Anthology 'Wild Cards' Headed to Big Screen (Heat Vision Exclusive)
Borys Kit wrote:With author George R.R. Martin's HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones one of the hottest things on TV right now, it's fitting that another Martin-penned project has caught Hollywood's eye.

Syfy Films, the theatrical division created in December 2010 as a joint venture between Syfy and Universal Pictures, has acquired the screen rights to Wild Cards, a superhero anthology edited, co-created and co-written by Martin.

Melinda Snodgrass, one of the co-creators and co-writers, has been tapped to pen the screenplay for the project, which marks Syfy Films' first acquisition. Martin and Snodgrass will executive produce.

Wild Cards is a series of books and stories set in a shared universe where an alien virus has been unleashed over New York City. Those who survived were turned into either a class of beings named Jokers, mostly deformed creatures, (or more rarely) Aces, who have special powers.

The first book was published in 1987, around the same time as such work as Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore's The Watchmen were being hailed as revolutionizing the comics scene.

The tales, written initially by science fiction and fantasy authors who also included Roger Zelazny and Lewis Shiner, among others, provided an alternate history of Earth and told superhero stories grounded in realism, a strategy that would be emulated in both comics and, later, in movies such as the recent Christopher Nolan-directed Batman films.

"We had a love of comics books and superheroes that we grew up on," Martin, who had fan letter published in a Marvel comic in the 1960s, tells The Hollywood Reporter. "But we approached the material differently. We wanted to do it in a grittier, more adult manner than what we were seeing in the '80s. It's something that many other people have been doing in the decades ever since."

One of the unique aspects of the books ­ (the series has changed publishers several times, it is now on volume 22) is the way the characters evolve. Some age, some marry, some die, new ones are introduced, building a tapestry of stories. Meanwhile, on the author front, the senior generation of writers has made way for new ones such as Paul Cornell (Doctor Who) and Carrie Vaughn (the Kitty Norville book series). The many creators were one reason why dealmaking took months to wrap up before THR was able to exclusively report the news of the film project.

Martin says the multiple voices makes the series stand out and allows newer characters to interact with older ones.

"One of the things we have going is the sense of history," he says. "The comics in the mainstream are doing retcons [retroactive continuity] all the time. [Heroes] get married, then one day, the publisher changes his mind, and then they're no longer married. To my mind, it's very frustrating. [Our stories] are in real time. It's a world that is changing in parallel to our own."

"This is, beyond Marvel and DC, really the only universe where you have fully realized, fully integrated characters that have been built and developed over the course of 25 years," says Gregory Noveck, Syfy Films' senior vp production who joined the division in May and who targeted the books for acquisition. "The trick for us is to find what's the best movie."

Martin is revealing little in the way of which stories or characters will be featured in a film script, but he does say the setting would be contemporary. He also lets slip that The Sleeper, a character who is one of the first to become an Ace and whose power consists of having a new face and ability every time he wakes up from a hibernation-like sleep, would be in the roll call.

Syfy Films, which, like Universal, is owned by NBCUniversal, has been tasked to make modest-budgeted movies. Wild Cards may sound tentpole-sized, but Noveck says modest budgeted need not mean small in scope, pointing to such movies such as Neill Blomkamp's District 9, the Summit thriller Source Code and even Children of Men as examples of movies telling genre stories on a grand scale but through a tight lens.

Martin says the book series has been optioned before but that this is the biggest step taken so far with Wild Cards.

"We hope this is the first of a long presence in film and perhaps even television down the line," he says.

That, of course, will depend on the success of the first film.
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Re: Wish List for Book to Movie Adaptations

Postby Wolfpack on Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:42 pm

David Wingrove's 8 book "Chung Kuo" saga is ripe for epic goodness.

Also, I'd welcome the adaptation of ANY novel written by the young adult's supernatural suspense author of yore, John Bellairs.
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Re: Wish List for Book to Movie Adaptations

Postby Bloo on Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:57 pm

one of my favorite books is The Alienist by Caleb Carr, I'd love to see it and it's sequel The Angel of Darkness

Heck I wouldn't mind if they used his Sherlock Holmes book The Italian Secretary for a future Sherlock Holmes (RDJ/Law or SHERLOCK) adaption.
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Re: Wish List for Book to Movie Adaptations

Postby Ribbons on Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:17 pm

Bloo wrote:one of my favorite books is The Alienist by Caleb Carr, I'd love to see it


I actually just read an article about this very subject in Entertainment Weekly, apparently the book was being developed into a film a few years ago but Carr called the deal off when he didn't like the direction they were taking it in. Unfortunately I threw out the magazine already and the article doesn't seem to be online, but it was pretty interesting. They namechecked a couple other books (like The Corrections and Kavalier & Clay) that have had long, bumpy roads to the big screen. The Corrections is now over at HBO and will probably end up being turned into a miniseries, and Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliott, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close) recently said he wants to do the same thing with Kavalier & Clay, so maybe there's still hope for The Alienist on TV.
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