Wednesday, March 04, 2015

A Heinlein Film?

     Hollywood's taking on The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress again, after the first two tries melted away in Development Hell.  Jose Molina  Tim Minear (late of Firefly) had written a script a few years ago, but his name's nowhere to be seen on this incarnation.  (Corrected.  I knew better, once.)

     Will Tinseltown mess it up, if indeed the project moves forward?  It's a big, complicated story with a number of elements that are still mostly Big Science.  Minear's script, a sympathetic treatment by a guy who knew the source material, was drastically simplified and featured an old-fashioned printing press for set dressing and a showdown battle with the Warden, so, yeah, I think we can count on it.  If we're lucky, they'll get the look of the places right and maybe even the HOLMES IV, but I wouldn't expect more than that.  Update: Expect less.

     One of the biggest problems with efforts to put SF books on film is that as a general rule "movie" does not equal "novel."  "Novella," maybe, and a short one at that.  The best TV SF and fantasy programs got this right; many a classic Twilight Zone or Tales Of Tomorrow* episode is based on a short or even short-short story.  The movies aim higher -- and nearly always fall short.  Philip K. Dick's work makes it onscreen well -- changed, but it works.  Past that, I can't think of any SF films-from-SF-stories that are really worth watching outside of Destination Moon -- and it's become a period piece.
* TOT is not up to TZ's standard. The sets are often hokey; the acting is frequently not of the highest caliber; the old kinescopes are rough.  But it's almost the only other place you'll find classic SF from the likes of Kornbluth and Sturgeon on the screen.


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

I've long thought that the only real way to handle big SF novels without utterly eviscerating them is via the miniseries route.

With all the streaming services available today, seems like someone like Amazon or Netflix would be interested in a property like that. Or maybe not.

Bob said...

Heinlein done the Hollywood way would mean turning the the script over to SJW's to write - - possibly by that noted Heinlein authority, John Scalzi.

Manny's already diverse line marriage as described by Heinlein would be augmented by an alphabet soup checklist of genders, races and even species.

Warden would probably closely resemble the likely candidate for the 2016 GOP presidential race, and would do horrible things to the hapless loonies. There'll be a shout-out to Michael Brown (hands up don't shoot!) as Loonies are gunned down by Warden's troops, looking much like Ferguson cops.

Simon Jester will be replaced by Guy Fawkes Occupy masks.

It'll be ugly.

Monty James said...

I'm down with that--provided Paul Verhoeven's desiccated head is displayed to the company before every day's shooting as a warning.

Seriously, updating Mike for the story ought to be possible. A root server that emulates every single part of the entire network with nobody noticing or suspecting, not even a little?

And am I the only one who thinks the 1984 version of Dune earns some points for even attempting to turn a 900+ page novel into a movie?

D.W. Drang said...

Concur with FC re: Miniseries.
Me, I want Milius to do the screenplay AND produce.

And the movie version of The Puppet Masters was pretty good. Donald Sutherland was the Boss.

azmountaintroll said...

Kill it NOW, before we get our hopes up.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Bobbi -- Was it Jose Molina or Tim Minear who wrote the screenplay? Googling suggests Tim Minear.

I have the screenplay somewhere but can't find it. I remember being pretty disappointed by it.

Joe in PNG said...

Actually, I'd expect that Manny & Prof would be played by white guys. Hollywood don't do SJW where market demographics are concerned. However, Prof played by either Ian McClellan (likely) or Patrick Stewart (less likely) would be pretty good.
However, they'll probably pick some vapid, far too young, plain vanilla pretty people for Manny and Wyoh.

Bruce Edwards said...

Expect less is right, since they mentioned Starship Troopers in the same article!
Lets hope they can get Josh to do it.

Roberta X said...

Maybe it was Tim Minear -- that's what I get for not looking it up.

Yeah, Manny Davis definitely needs to look like he is described -- and probably won't. Prof is a little easier -- if they'd cast an older guy in a near-lead role. Wyoh may be the easiest to cast, since she's supposed to be pretty. Stu? ...I dunno.

It goes downhill from there.

Jerry said...

Might be good. Could be another "Battle Beyond The Stars" or Will Smith's "I, Robot" where the credits even admit that all they used was the title.

Actually, I'm not sure which I hope for. While solid SF films like "Bicentennial Man" are great, the awful ones are equally entertaining. One of my all time favorites is "Green Slime".

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Hayley Atwell would make a great Wyoh (IMHO). Tough broad with looks.

Joel said...

Am I the only one who thinks the 1984 version of Dune earns some points for even attempting to turn a 900+ page novel into a movie?

No! It's a cautionary tale, slowly and painfully proving Roberta's point.

Damn, I'd have gotten excited about this movie if Minear had done the screenplay. But now I suspect the final product won't be anything like the novel - "Uprising?" Seriously? All I can hope for is that it'll be completely unrecognizable, and nobody will know another RAH novel has been bastardized.