Page to screen projects are everywhere at the moment. Last year we had Kick-Ass and Iron Man 2. This year we’ve just had The Adjustment Bureau and Never Let Me Go.
Every week brings news of yet another novel in development. Particularly in the speculative fiction world. The genre is brimming over with new twists on old themes and dramatically visual ideas that movie makers are spoilt for choice. Those titans of fantasy, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are having to shuffle over and make room for HBO’s A Game of Thrones, from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Vampires stalk the big and small screens with Twilight, Let the Right One In and True Blood. Their Undead zombie cohorts are lurching in with The Walking Dead. And superheroes are all over the place.
And, of course, science fiction is no stranger to snapping up any half decent book and making a movie from it. From the 1950s onwards, many of sci fi’s great (and not-so-great) movies started off life between the pages of a book, from the big classics like Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris and H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds to short stories like Brian Aldiss’ Supertoys Last All Summer Long (filmed as A.I.) and Jack Finney’s The Body Snatchers (filmed as The Invasion of the Body Snatchers). And there seems to be an absolute mission in Hollywood to film every Philip K. Dick story ever written.
So which book-to-movie events am I looking forward to the most? Well, it looks like Justin Cronin’s The Passage will be brought to life by Cloverfield director, Matt Reeves. I’ve only just got around to reading this book (the first of a planned trilogy) and it’s cracking post-apocalyptic stuff. In North America humanity holds on by a thread after a virus has turned people into vampires (no Twilight-style sparkly skin or veggie vamps here – they’re loathsome and lethal). Coming in at roughly 1,000 pages, this is much more than just another vampire novel and I can’t wait for the next book or the movie of this one.
Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies is also in development with Jonathan Levine at the helm. Undead boy is attracted to human girl, but in a non-brain eating way. On paper this sounds like it could be zombie Twilight but it’s actually much deeper than that. The author has fun with some nods to Shakespeare (the zombie narrator is ‘R’, his zombie friend is ‘M’, the object of his attentions is Julie and her boyfriend is Perry), and the story, part-romance, part-existential questioning, is told in a fresh and original approach.
And finally, there had to be a Philip K. Dick adaptation in the works somewhere. Ubik, to be visualised by Michel Gondry, promises to be a treat. Gondry’s style, if he can repeat the inventiveness of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, should be perfectly suited to Dick’s novel of psychic and telepathic cat-and-mouse.
And, finally, when the hell is Twilight Watch (or Dusk Watch, as it’s alternatively known) gonna be put into development? Night Watch and Day Watch (both directed by Timur Bekmambetov) are two terrific movies from books – so where’s the last one, Fox? If you haven’t seen either of these movies yet, here’s the trailer from the first one. This is one awesome and highly recommended Russian movie!