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  1. #1

    We Can Remember It For You Wholesale?

    I randomly read this Phillip K Dick short story yesterday, and today morning I saw a commercial for a new movie based on it. I searched it online and apparently there's been other older movies that were based on it (Total Recall anyone?)


    (I never watched it .. )


    Anyways, what is exactly special about this story that has made it so commercially viable for Hollywood?

    Matter of fact why are Phillip K Dick's works so popular in Hollywood? I just checked Wikipedia and almost all of the big sci fi movies of recent times have been based on his stuff .. (Blade Runner, Minority Report). I'm not being a hater, I'm just wondering ... it's a bit weird. Did he have any special relationship with some big guy in Cali?
    Last edited by Caedus; July 2nd, 2012 at 01:21 PM.

  2. #2
    No, there was no connection to some big Hollywood mogul or anything like that. But, it depends on who you ask, really.

    The most fun conspiracy theory is that because Dick's fiction is all mind-bending and down endings, Hollywood is attracted to them as edgy. However, because Hollywood is so rigid--always happy ending, need to make money, appeal to the biggest possible audience--that by the time the thing is actually written as a script, filmed, edited, and released, all the non-Hollywood bits are ground out--except for the initial mind-bending concept that is. This is my favorite. And most likely.
    Last edited by KatG; July 3rd, 2012 at 02:32 PM. Reason: We have two words you can't say, even with symbols.

  3. #3
    Well, Dick was furious over the treatment of his first story, Blade Runner. He thought they removed all subtlety and nuance (Hollywood? Really??). However, he was living at the poverty level almost his whole life, so he was not about to turn down money. Dick died right before Blade Runner came out, but he did sell the rights for Total Recall just before he died.

    Then, short story is that Total Recall was the biggest hit of the year when it came out, and everyone realized that dozens of PKD stories had the same quality and potential. His estate was in probate for 11 years, hence the big gap, but right after that was resolved Hollywood optioned a bunch of his movies (A Scanner Darkly, Paycheck, etc.) and has been churning them out ever since.

  4. #4
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    Well, Dick was furious over the treatment of his first story, Blade Runner. He thought they removed all subtlety and nuance (Hollywood? Really??).
    Really, Phil?

    THIS LINK might suggest different, although it is possible, I guess, that he was just schmoozing up to corporate big business...

    Ridley Scott seems to think Philip was impressed too, having seen a cut of the film just before he died, I thought.

    Mark
    Mark

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    Mystic and Misfit Gkarlives's Avatar
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    Yes and No

    Having seen Ridley talk about Blade Runner, Philip was initially upset with the screenplay but when he saw a clip of the special effects for making the urban sprall, he was happy.

  6. #6
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    Red face

    Thanks for clearing that up. Guess we're both right: result!

    Mark
    Mark

  7. #7
    I based my comment on the final interview with PKD where he says
    I had this vision in my mind then that I would go up there and be introduced to Ridley Scott, and be introduced to Harrison Ford, who's the lead character, and I'd just be so dazzled I'd be like Mr. Toad seeing the motorcar for the first time. My eyes would be wide as saucers and I'd just be standing there completely mesmerized. Then I would watch a scene being shot. And Harrison Ford would say, "Lower that blast-pistol or you're a dead android!" And I would just leap across that special effects set like a veritable gazelle and seize him by the throat and start battering him against the wall. They'd have to run in and throw a blanket over me and call the security guards to bring in the Thorazine. And I'd be screaming, "You've destroyed my book!"


    That would be a little item in the newspaper: "Obscure Author Becomes Psychotic on H'wood Set; Minor Damage, Mostly to the Author." They'd have to ship me back to Orange County in a crate full of air holes. And I'd still be screaming.


    I started drinking a whole lot of scotch. I went from a thimbleful to a jigger glass and finally to two wine glasses of scotch every night. Last Memorial Day I started bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding. And it was because of drinking scotch and taking aspirin constantly and worrying about this whole goddamned thing. I said, "Hollywood is gonna kill me by remote control!"
    He does imply he's over it later, but it's pretty strong stuff!

  8. #8
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caedus View Post
    Matter of fact why are Phillip K Dick's works so popular in Hollywood?
    I don't understand it either.

    The liberal arts perspective of science fiction is kind of peculiar. Style is very important to them.

    Watch the very first Star Trek pilot, "The Cage". Then ask yourself why the studio said it was "too cerebral" and ordered another one.

    psik

  9. #9
    Registered User JunkMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    I don't understand it either.

    The liberal arts perspective of science fiction is kind of peculiar. Style is very important to them.

    Watch the very first Star Trek pilot, "The Cage". Then ask yourself why the studio said it was "too cerebral" and ordered another one.

    psik
    I don't understand why they just mess them up so comprehensively. I would love to know the chain of thought, story conferences, and rewrites that took his 30 page short story The Golden Man about a post-nuclear war world in which genetic mutations are ruthlessly suppressed and the first Homo Superior is discovered: a lion-maned, golden-furred, totally silent creature that appears to have the ability to see into the future - and turn it into a modern day action thriller with French terrorists planting a nuclear bomb in LA.

    How? I mean How?

  10. #10
    Registered User JunkMonkey's Avatar
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    ...and is anyone else here feeling really old as you realise that Total Recall has, apparently, been forgotten?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by JunkMonkey View Post
    ...and is anyone else here feeling really old as you realise that Total Recall has, apparently, been forgotten?
    It came out in 1990, 22 years ago, which is pretty old to me. I've seen it pop up on cable a couple of times but I've never really watched it. I didn't know A Scanner Darkly was based on a novel of his either. I only watched the movie, it was pretty cool, ensemble cast, dug the visuals. It's crazy that so many movies are based on his stuff. Sad that the man didn't live long enough to see blade runner because from what I've read online it looks like he was basically living like a pauper for most of his life (all in the name of advancing the genre).

  12. #12
    Registered User JunkMonkey's Avatar
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    I wasn't getting at you, Caedus, I was just boggling at the way time flies as you get older. 22 years ago I was, I suspect, older than you are now. I think of Total Recall as a recent film - as opposed to a 'modern' film or even a 'new' film.

    Forbidden Planet is an 'older' film to me. which was based on a Shakespeare play but despite it's transmogrification from 17th C mystical island to 23 C alien planet still manages to be more faithful to its source than most PKD adaptations.

  13. #13
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkMonkey View Post
    ...and is anyone else here feeling really old as you realise that Total Recall has, apparently, been forgotten?
    It should be forgotten. However, the remake comes out this year, so I'm guessing it will get renewed attention.

    My favorite is The Adjustment Bureau, which they basically completely changed into a romantic thriller. It was a cute movie, but I suspect Dick would have hated it.

    One of the reasons that Dick is popular in Hollywood is that he wrote near future dystopias, which are the easiest, cheapest sort of SF setting for them to do on film. Another is because Bladerunner developed a huge cult following after initially not doing so well and because Dick is studied in universities. So there's an audience built-in that will come to see a movie based on Dick's work. Anything with a guaranteed audience is attractive to Hollywood -- it's often why they bother to do book adaptations, and it's thus also easier to get a greenlight on a project. Since Dick wrote a lot of short stories with good plot concepts, and since directors love his stuff, he became a go-to guy, especially when some of the movies were hits.

  14. #14
    Man in the High Castle Awesomov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KatG View Post
    My favorite is The Adjustment Bureau, which they basically completely changed into a romantic thriller. It was a cute movie, but I suspect Dick would have hated it.
    I'm sure of that as well. Philip K. Dick had a more deterministic philosophy in his works, and the films based on his work tend to deviate from that perspective; The Adjustment Bureau and The Minority Report are prime examples.

    He also tended to be satirical in his implications, much like Total Recall was, but he was more subtle in his comedic aspects (if situations were outrageous, they still had a serious air to them, and were treated as serious by the characters). For instance, he wrote stories in which, for example, some government leaders attempt to kill one man by bombing a whole mountain range, another which involved people thinking they were plants, and another about sentient gumballs taking over by breeding like rabbits. The same is the case for this short story as well.

    Anyway, I figure Hollywood likes him because he usually came up with unique and interesting ideas (Hollywood, after all, generally seems to be in a creative rut these days), and that's one of the reasons I like him as well. This story in particular was the first of his that I read, and it's been heavily inspiring to me in a variety of ways.
    Last edited by Awesomov; July 3rd, 2012 at 05:02 PM.

  15. #15
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkMonkey View Post
    ...and is anyone else here feeling really old as you realise that Total Recall has, apparently, been forgotten?
    I think there is more to it than just the time. It is the amount of media material that is produced and how it has been steadily increasing for I don't know how long. I remember 5 channels on TV when I was a kid and nothing being good on Sunday afternoons. Who can watch golf? I couldn't even stand to watch baseball.

    I don't even know how many channels there are now. So everything gets lost in the clutter, no matter how good or bad. How much stuff are kids bombarded with today? No wonder they get ADHD.

    psik

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