Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lost in Development

It's nearly four years since we read the announcements that Zack Snyder was going to direct The Illustrated Man. It's getting on for ten years since we read that, first, Mel Gibson, and latterly Frank Darabont were going to film Fahrenheit 451.

Unfortunately, that's the way it goes in the movie business. It's not that it actually takes four years (or ten years) to make a movie, just that the wheels turn ever so slowly. What I've always found most bizarre is how long Hollywood will spend trying to perfect a script... and rarely succeeding.

We know that both Bradbury himself, and Frank Darabont, have written perfectly viable screen versions of Fahrenheit 451, for example. And yet I bet - if the film ever does get made - it will be neither Bradbury's nor Darabont's name on the screenwriter credit.

According to IMDB, The Illustrated Man is now estimated for release in 2013. And Fahrenheit 451? For years, IMDB has been showing a future date. Right now it says (and I quote), "????"

The Martian Chronicles took 22 years to make it to the screen. Bradbury's first stab at adapting it (for television) was in 1957. He then wrote complete movie screenplays around 1961, 1964 and 1978. It finally got made, inadequately, in 1979, from a teleplay by Richard Matheson.

This is why I refuse to get excited when I read that Xxxx has been signed to make a film of Yyyy. There is, it seems, a 90% chance that it will never happen!

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