treatment of quality
Harlan Ellison wrote an award winning sci-fi piece that was shortened to become one of the best star trek episodes ever, the city on the edge of forever. He has countless other sci-fi masterpieces and Isaac Asimov is in similar company, and just look at the way their work is disdainfully treated in Hollywood.
THis is staggering;
Asimov's "I, Robot" on the big screen at last... sort of (Culture)
Sat Dec 7th, 2002 at 03:34:59 AM EST
Yet another Hollywood travesty. I know a lot of folks out there must be Asimov fans, so I thought you might want to know, a film called "I, Robot" is being made. But according to the news, it's NOT the Ellison treatment, and it's not the Asimov story, even adapted. The studio just bought the rights to the name.
The film, then called "Hardwired", apparently started out as yet another ho-hum robots-trying-to-take-over-the-world film. No big deal there. One more piece of screenplay-by-committee out of Hollywood isn't news.
In the last year, though, someone at Fox came up with a really great marketing idea. Buy the rights to just the name from a famous work of classic science fiction, use that, then make a series of crappy robots-try-to-take-over-the-world movies, but they would almost be guaranteed money-makers because fans would be expecting something good (to wit, the story attached to that title for the last few decades).
The original article on CNN that got me all in a huff is here. Here's a link to the Coming Attractions page on Hardwired, er "I Robot". It has a pretty good history of the project. I tried to link directly to it from within their normal site navigation, but they've got some wacky frame setup. First link is to the main site, second is the page specifically about the film.
The tragedy in all this is that Harlan Ellison wrote up an amazing screenplay based on "I, Robot" something like 20 years ago and the studios have been refusing to move forward with it ever since. Something about actual quality seems to repel most Studio execs like garlic to a vampire. Go figure. In the early 90's, Ellison finally managed to at least get the screenplay published in book form and it is excellent. It would be an amazing movie, and undoubtedly a blockbuster.
Thanks to the special logic used by Hollywood execs, though, we may never see it made.
Perhaps though, if this use-an-existing-famous-title marketing strategy works out for them, we may at least see some other familiar titles. I for one would love to see the Foundation Trilogy. Of course, that title would be attached to a film about robots trying to take over the galaxy.
Perhaps "Atlas Shrugged" could be slapped on Bill Gates' dramatized biography. "Snow Crash" could be used to sell a movie about a virtual reality ski resort where a crazed killer stalks ski bunnies and ski instructors who are up to their usual crazy hijinks. Perhaps the Alan Dean Foster Humanx novel titles could be put on some of the new "Alien" sequels, sell a few more tickets ... people like those titles, right?
Ishtar could be renamed/repacked as "Dune" - they both involve a desert, right?
and they wonder why so many writers become cynical and jaded.
Current Mood: cynical
Current Music: I, ROBOT by the Alan Parsons Project