SFFWorld News – 3/20/11
1) John Scalzi’s SF novel Old Man’s War has been optioned for film by Paramount Pictures. Wolfgang Petersen is attached to direct, with David Self adapting the screenplay. The military SF tale is about older people who volunteer to become soldiers in space in new, younger regenerated bodies, fighting off many different kinds of deadly aliens. Expect lots of humor but not as many poop jokes as you’d imagine.
2) Hiromi Goto’s bestselling YA novel Half World has received the 2010 Sunburst Award and is nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Half World is about a young girl who must find her mother in a phantasmagorical other world and has been getting wild raves from both kids and adults.
3) ABC is trying to launch a new series for this fall, Poe, in which the famed author Edgar Allen Poe is fighting crime and solving mysteries in 1840’s Boston. Actor Christopher Egan has been cast as Poe in the steampunkian series. No word on whether they’ll have him be an opium addict like the real Poe.
4) Director Dario Argento will reimagine Dracula in Dracula 3D. Cult icon Rutger Hauer has been cast to play vampire hunter Van Helsing. The film will shoot in Budapest this year. Dracula has of course been done to death, ahem, and so has 3D, but if Hauer’s in, it might actually be worth watching.
5) Director Guillermo del Toro and Lovecraftian fans are having no luck: del Toro’s $150 million 3D live action project to bring H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness” to the screen has been nixed by Universal Studios because del Toro wanted to go with an R rating for the film, instead of the PG-13 content the studio wanted. The project was to star Tom Cruise and had James Cameron as an executive producer and 3D consultant. So no morphing tentacles, which is a total bummer. Universal hasn’t entirely closed the door, but del Toro is trying to move the project to another big studio. In the meantime, he may direct Universal’s big budget monster movie Pacific Rim.
6) SF author Bruce Sterling has handed over a large chunk of his archives to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, his alma mater, including a set of his novels, notes, draft manuscripts and non-fiction writings on SF and the Internet as part of their collection concerning the cyberpunk canon. Sterling is one of the founding authors of the cyberpunk movement, and has been heavily involved in media design on the Internet. He has taught at the European Graduate School in Switzerland and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. So next time someone sounds off in ignorance about SF and academia and how never the twain meet, you can roll your eyes and suggest they visit the Ransom Center which has one of the largest SF collections in the U.S. Best quote from Sterling: “The cyberpunks are more famous and much more influential than we were in our heyday, because now people respect us and quote us in public. But that’s not very punk.”
7) Author and screenwriter Neil Gaiman has a new job – adapting the Chinese fiction classic Journey to the West for the big screen. James Cameron pops up again as producer because they’re doing it in 3D, along with producer Zhang Jizhong. The story, written in the sixteenth century by the poet Wu Cheng’en, tells of a Buddhist monk who travels with the Monkey King and two helpers to retrieve sacred scripts in India. It has been adapted to comics, anime and other movies, an opera, a t.v. series in China and a video game, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. This new film will be shot in English but will include Chinese actors and be mostly funded by Chinese investment. It is hoped to be the first of three films.
8) The next Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, is kicking into high gear. Christopher Nolan is slated to direct again, possibly for the last time and recent Oscar-winner Christian Bale will reprise his lead role as Bruce Wayne. Nolan has signed up Anne Hathaway to play Selena Kyle/Catwoman and is bringing in his Inception stars: Tom Hardy will play Bane, a villain, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt will play Alberto Falcone, son of mob boss Carmine Falcone, played by Tom Wilkinson in Batman Begins.
9) And speaking of Batman, the wonderful British character actor Michael Gough, who played Alfred the Butler in the 1989-1997 Batman movies, starring variously Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney as the caped crusader, passed away recently at the age of 93. Gough was in numerous SFFH projects over the course of his long career, including The House in the Woods, the 1958 film Dracula, Horrors of the Black Museum, the 1962 film Phantom of the Opera, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, The Skull, The Avengers, They Came From Beyond Space, The Legend of Hell House, Blakes 7, Doctor Who, The Little Vampire, The Haunting of Helen Walker, Nostradamus, and Sleepy Hollow. He won a Tony Award in 1979 for the play Bedroom Farce. His last on screen role was as the voice of the Dodo Bird for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. The man worked it, in other words, and he will be missed.