Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Great (film) Debates vol. 98

There’s nothing like a movie made from a book to open your mind. ;-)

What book do you want to see made as a movie?





Panelist: Tennessee Jed

I have read and loved every novel in author James Clavell's Asian series. King Rat, Shogun, Tai-Pan, and Noble House were made into either standard theatrical films, or "made for television" mini-series. Of the two that were not, I would love to see Gai-Jin which was written in 1993, and set in the 1860's in Yokohama, Jaapan. Involving the Struan family of the Noble House, it explores the end of the Shogunate system in Japan. I'm a sucker for costume period dramas. This story is rich and complex, and might be better done as a premium network mini-series to give it it's due.

Panelist: ScottDS

For novels that I've actually read, I'd love to see some of Michael Crichton's later work made into feature films, specifically Airframe, Prey, and Next. (State of Fear will never happen.) And for novels that I've never read, Gregory Benford's Cosm and Victor Koman's The Jehovah Contract. COSM: When a brilliant young physicist's experiment goes awry, the ensuing explosion leaves behind a wonderful sphere made of nothing yet known to science - an object that opens a vista onto an entirely different universe. THE JEHOVAH CONTRACT: A dying assassin is given one final assignment and one last chance for survival. The job: find God Almighty and destroy Him. The payment: eternal life. With the aid of a mysterious trio of women - a beautiful lady gambler, an ancient Hollywood witch, and a telepathic hooker - Dell Ammo breaches the gates of Heaven and Hell to pull the Cosmic Trigger.

Panelist: Floyd

In this age of terrorism and social upheaval G.K. Chesterton's early 20th century novel about infiltrating anarchists' groups called The Man Who Was Thursday would be timely as both a commentary on terrorism and political upheaval and doubly as a Christian allegory (which it also contains of course). A policeman goes deep into the world of anarchy to gain intelligence and break up the main group. It's said Michael Collins, of the IRA, was inspired to "hide in plain sight" (not philosophically mind you) by the book.

Panelist: BevfromNYC

Okay, this is a really girly thing to want, but Janet Evanovich’s series with Stephanie Plum. The books are funny bounty hunter slash romance novels with great characters and interesting crimes. Though I have to admit. A few years ago, someone did film one “One For The Money” which with Katherine Hagle. She was dreadfully miscast and…well…just dreadful.

Panelist: AndrewPrice

The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. This is one of my favorite fantasty stories and it would make a heck of a film. That or my first book: Without A Hitch. :)

Comments? Thoughts?

86 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

I love all these choices, though I admit I'm not familiar with several of them. Bev - that sounds like it would be fun if done right. Scott, I like the Crochton books in particular. Andrew, I'd go for your own book before the fantasy, but, hey, that may just be me :).

Tennessee Jed said...

Floyd - thats ounds like a great read, and potentially a great film also.

Tennessee Jed said...

Scott - I should add that while I like the Crichton books because I'm familiar with them, The Jehovah Contract is really intriguing, too. Who might you cast?

Dave Olson said...

Cinema hasn't been kind to Nelson Demille. The General's Daughter was a good book but a very, very mediocre movie. "Mayday" and "Word of Honor" were so-so TV movies. His books are good enough to deserve a fine movie be made of them, and I would love to see "The Charm School" or "Plum Island" made into movies.

Dave Olson said...

As for Crichton, he deserves a legacy which is better than "Airframe". That was a book that I liked....right until the last 10 or so pages. I was SO glad that I'd checked it out of a library instead of actually buying the damned thing. It's just a crying shame that "State of Fear" won't be made into a movie, at least not with Hollywood as it is currently structured.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I would go with my own book first too. I think it would make a heck of a movie. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Dave, I've never read Demille. I didn't like The General's Daughter. Crichton's films are kind of hit or miss. We're actually thinking of doing Crichton Thursdays once the James Bond series ends.

Mike said...

I'd like to see just about any of Robt. Heinlein's "juvenile novels" made into movies; a few of the better ones - IMHO- would be Farnham's Freehold, Between Planets or Time for the Stars and I really think that Tunnel in the Sky would make a fantastic movie, especially since survival "reality" shows are still popular.

Of course, Hollywood made The Puppet Masters and Starship Troopers into movies, both leaving out many important details in the books, the former making for just a bad movie but the latter was an abomination that deserves to be remade. (there are several others I also think would make for good movies, too, just as long as Paul Verhoeven wouldn't be allowed within a thousand miles of the studio)

AndrewPrice said...

Mike, I have yet to hear from a Heinlein fan who has anything but contempt for Verhoeven... and I can't blame them.

It would be interesting to see some of Heinlein's books brought to life in a serious way. I wonder how the public would react?

Anonymous said...

Wow, these are definitely some excellent choices... While I've only read Shogun out of Clavell's Asian series I've always wanted to read the others and I'm sure they'd make excellent movies. I also read a good bit of Crichton's books, though I've never seen the movies... Well, I did see some of Rising Sun, but I was underwhelmed to say the least. Sean Connery fit my image of John well enough to where I even imagined John as him while reading the book (before seeing part of the movie), but while Tia Carrere looked the part of Theresa well enough she didn't really pull the role off well. It would be nice to see some of his work done well, and I agree State of Fear would never get made. A book casting doubt on global warming in novel form complete with footnotes? Hollywood can't have that, now can they?

COSM, The Jehovah Contract, and The Man Who Was Thursday all sound excellent, too, and Without a Hitch would be cool too. Do you have a cast in mind, Andrew? In any case, it looks like I've got a lot of books to catch up on!

As much reading as I do you'd think I'd have some books to throw in here, but I don't at the moment... I heard about the series I'm reading through now, The Flashman Papers, in a similar post, and while they would be highly entertaining if done right I don't think Hollywood could pull it off. I'm no expert on the subject, nor have I seen the movie itself, but the movie version of the second book, Royal Flash is notoriously awful (a shame, it's one of my favorites in the series). I'm also not sure if the other series I'm going through, the Dresden Files, would work either especially considering how far off base the TV show was. Well, if I think of something I'll be sure to post it!

- Daniel

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, I don't really have a cast list. It was something I talked about with some people when the book was first published, but I haven't really put much thought into it at the moment. I would love to see it made into a film though. :)

On the Dresden Files, my father loves those and he says the same thing about the television show being really off base and how he'd like to see it done right. I keep meaning to read those, but my schedule is so amazingly packed that I can't fit anything in.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, it would definitely be a good movie, though sadly I'm short of cast ideas as well. That's the problem with falling out of movies and TV for a while; you don't have many ideas for who would be good in what role in exercises like this. It doesn't help that my mental images for the three characters that first came to mind, Alex, Theresa, and Molly, don't really match up with any actors or actresses I know of, though it feels like I should have something for Theresa and Bennett (sorry, forgot his first name) at least.

The Dresden Files are definitely a lot of fun and I recommend them, too, though I understand your time constraints. These days I don't have as much time to game or read as I'd like, and I don't have nearly as much on my plate as you do! As far as the show goes I saw parts of a few episodes with my mom, but it just felt so far off to me I couldn't stick with it. Paul Blackstone definitely looked the part for Harry, but most of the other characters were way off... For example, in the books Warden Morgan is basically a cop hardened by many, many years of dealing with magical crimes and he's also an upper-middle-aged white man (either Irish-born or Irish-American, I can't remember which) as opposed to a young, slick-looking black man who is on friendlier terms with Harry. I also remember their take on Bianca the vampire madam, who was one of Harry's worst enemies in the early books but was friendlier to him and a sometimes-lover in the TV series. The actress playing her, Joanne Kelly, did sort-of look the part as well, though the books gave Bianca an, ahem...curvier figure, shall we say. >_> Done right the novels could definitely make some good visual entertainment, whether it's spread across a limited run TV series or condensed into movies, though!

- Daniel

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - I already contacted Ryan Gosling and Rosamund Pike for Corbin and Molly, but if they aren't available or hold out for too much money, would offer the roles to Casey Affleck and either Britt Marling or Cassidy Freeman. Not sure who I want for Beckett. I'd like to cast a younger James Spader type.

Tennessee Jed said...

BTW, I'm just being Hollywood, here. Gosling and Pike were steamy in Fracture, and we need some hot sex in "Hitch" to get the fanboys into the theater! :)

Tennessee Jed said...

Daniel - if you haven't read the other Clavell stories, they are a treat. Every book has a character who is either an ancestor or descendant of one of the charaters from an earlier book. Gai Jin would have been much better than the Last Samurai

Anonymous said...

I'll probably think of more after I post this but 3 books come immediately to mind.
First, when you guys get the chance you should do yourselves a favor and read Sympathy For The Devil by Kent Anderson. It's about Green Berets in Vietnam but it's not the subject matter that makes it so engrossing,it's the writing. I wasn't in Vietnam,I wasn't in Special Forces,but I am human. I've felt fear,pain,regret and loss and Anderson makes it pour off the page. I gave a copy to a friend of mine who was in Vietnam and he said it rang true.If Anderson could write the screenplay(or maybe consult - he's a novelist,not a screenwriter) it could be great.Here's the problem: to accurately portray the soldiers in the novel the actors playing them would have to be in their mid twenties. What name actors in that age range working today would be believable as Vietnam Green Berets? Alas
continued
GypsyTyger

Mycroft said...

RE: The Dresden Files - I hadn't read the books when I saw a marathon on SF channel and liked it enough to read the books. I understand why book lovers hated the show, but since I saw it first I am able to enjoy both.
I'd love to see The Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia made into a film trilogy. Second choice would be his Monster Hunter International series.

Tennessee Jed said...

Gypsy - sounds like a great book. I was in college during the Vietnam War. I was #16 in the lottery, and became ill with severe Crohn's Disease. I was immediately drafted and classified 1Y. I have lots of classmates who did serve, and spent countless hours listening to their stories. I remember a book titled the 13th Valley written by a vet whose name was, I think, Alex DelVecchio. Same thing … a hauntingly realistic portrayal based on my friends' stories.

Tennessee Jed said...

Mycroft - can you tell a little more about Larry Correia? I am unfamiliar, and could, of course, look him up online, but would rather get your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

The Silmarillion, as long as PJ doesn't fuck with it like he did LOTRs, it would have to be a trilogy or even longer series of movies.

Also The Riftwar Saga would make a great series of movies or another GOT type series.

Scott.

Anonymous said...

Jed, I definitely plan on it once I clear out a few more of the Flashman Papers. I enjoyed Shogun quite a bit, especially when I started learning more about the Warring States Period and was actually able to recognize some of the historical figures the characters were based off of. It's definitely an interesting period of history and the other books sound like they cover interesting times as well.

Additionally, I can definitely see Ryan Gosling as Corbin now that you bring him up, and looking her up I can see Cassidy Freeman as Molly, though for the role you have in mind wouldn't one of the ladies you mention be better for Penny instead? =P Rosamund Pike could definitely pull her off, I think. Having had time to think about it Eve Myles actually matches my mental image of Molly pretty well, though I've only seen about three episodes of Torchwood and don't know enough about her acting ability to offer any input as to whether she could pull off an American accent or the role. I'm still at a loss for the others, though.

- Daniel

Anonymous said...

Just got back. I was going to list all 3 books in one sitting but my wife made me go to the store. :) Jed - I read The 13th Valley years ago. Small world! You're right, it was a great novel about the footsoldier's eye view of Vietnam and I think with the right cast and director it would lend itself very very well to film. Another great Vietnam book was The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien but that wouldn't translate well to film. It wasn't a novel,it was a collection of short stories,but it was very powerful reading.
The second novel that I would like to see made into a movie is Salem's Lot by Stephen King. I know that there was a miniseries( I own it,and I read the novel because of it) but I want to see a big screen treatment with a first rate cast. There are some novels that are so long, or cover such a time span that they can't really be told in one movie. Salem's Lot isn't like that. It could be told in it's entirety,effectively, in one sitting.
While David Soul gave a great performance, and there were some truly terrifying moments, (like the dead boy appearing as a vampire scratching at his friend's window and the old man going upstairs to investigate a noise and finding Geoffrey Lewis sitting silently in the rocking chair) the cast was weak and it suffered from a low budget. I'd like to see it done better.
Third is Northwest Passage. They wouldn't have to do the whole thing,just the St. Francis raid. I think the Spencer Tracy version could be improved on, and besides that, Robert Rogers has been one of my heroes since I was a little boy. The St. Francis Raid is one of the greatest examples of sheer endurance in military history and it's a story I'd like to see told. I remember sitting in the theater watching Gladiator. and thinking "There's Robert Rogers." Crowe's too old now,and again, I don't know who we'd cast. I've always wanted to see it though.
GypsyTyger.

AndrewPrice said...

Howdy, everyone. Sorry I'm late. :)

Jed, LOL! I'm glad you've got people lined up already.

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel and Jed,

I looked up what we had for casting (with Scott's help). Here’s what we came up with:

Corbin – Chris Evans, Joacquin Phoenix
Beckett – James Spader, Kevin Spacey
Vez – Michael Copon
Molly – Katherine Heigel, Rooney Mara, Lizzy Caplan
Theresa – Maura Tierney, Michelle Forbes
Penny – Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rose Byrne
Blue – Delory Lindo, Charles Dutton
Sgt. Russell – Michael Chiklis, William Fichtner
Officer Webb – Sam Rockwell, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Obviously, this would be the best case scenario. We did the rest too, but they aren't as big character-wise so I haven't listed them.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, We need hot sex in WAH, LOL! That's in the extended version! ;-P

Actually, you would be shocked how many people send me e-mails asking for a sequel. I never thought it was capable of a sequel, but they really seem to want it.

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, There definitely aren't many young actors that I respect at the moment. There are some excellent actors headed into their 50s, but not many in their 20s.... too many pretty boys.

AndrewPrice said...

Mycroft, I haven't read the Dresden books, but I thought the television series was ok... not great, but ok.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, You know that Jackson's going to mess with anything you give him. That said, The Silmarillion struck me as impossible to film. It reads too much like The Bible and doesn't feel like a coherent story to me.

T-Rav said...

There are some good post-apocalyptic novels I would like to see made into movies, but what with the zombie oversaturation and all, I think that whole genre is probably done to death, at least for the moment.

I would like to see a good adaptation of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment.

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, I enjoyed Salem's Lot the miniseries quite a bit. I thought David Soul was excellent and the story worked really well. It would be interesting to see it made into a film.

Did you ever see the remake they did in 2004 with Rob Lowe? It was garbage. LINK

T-Rav said...

GypsyTyger, something good could be probably done with Salem's Lot, as long as they don't let King anywhere near it. Which is kinda true for....most of his stuff, actually.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I would like to see most of the classics handled well. At one point, Masterpiece Theater was doing some of that, but they always seemed to pick obscure stories. I would love to see well-done versions of all the classics.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, LOL! Word!

Anonymous said...

Andrew, I saw part of it. It was just unwatchable. Garbage is a generous word for it.T-Rav, you're absolutely right about King. Salem's Lot was only his second novel. He still had to work at it,and didn't yet have a reputation to live off of. We'd have to pay him off and bar him from any involvement in our production for sure.
GypsyTyger

AndrewPrice said...

Oh, I can't believe I forgot Beaumont: Ice Cube or Common.

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, It was unwatchable.

Totally agree about King. His early stuff was excellent when he still needed to win people over. His later stuff is horrible.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, reference your comment about young actors, that's exactly what I meant! All the masculine actors I can think of are too old for the parts. Let's cast Sympathy For The Devil, which as I said was about Green Berets in Vietnam. We only need 3,Hanson,Quinn and Silver. These were all guys in their 20's,because Hanson joined the Army to avoid being drafted because his college grades weren't high enough to maintain his deferment.Tom Beringer could do it. Too old. I think Robert Downey Jr could do it. Too old. Johnny Depp,if he was sufficiently motivated to stop phoning in Jack Sparrow,could do it,but wait, he's too old. Russell Crowe's too old.Sylvester Stallone played the Green Beret we all think of,John Rambo,but Sly was 36 when he brought John to the screen in 1982. Mel Gibson could do it. Too old. Christian Bale's 39.Brad Pitt's kept in great shape,and he's proven over the years that he's more than a pretty boy,but he's 49 years old. Clancy Brown would be perfect for the part of Quinn,but now he'd have to play his dad. Kurt Russell's too old.
Now for the flip side, name actors that are the right age for the characters. Try and think about Shia LeBoef or Justin Timberlake as Vietnam Green Berets.Now for the real test - try and stop laughing. No,really,stop laughing. I'm getting worried. Breathe into a paper bag. STOP LAUGHING!
It's a sad period in movie history.
GypsyTyger

ScottDS said...

I was out of town, then I updated my operating system which took a while. :-)

Jed -

I've never read either Cosm or The Jehovah Contract so I couldn't imagine casting them.

Re: Cosm, the reviews on Amazon are quite mixed. Apparently, Gregory Benford (author and real-life astrophysicist) had a few axes to grind with the world of scientists and how it works and how its portrayed in pop culture. And so he spends too much time in the book on that stuff and not enough exploring the central idea.

Re: Jehovah, I wasn't sure how that would play here. :-) I heard about it years ago but have yet to read it. I don't know how it ends - it would have to be either pro-God or anti-God. Either way, a film adaptation would no doubt be controversial.

ScottDS said...

Dave Olson -

SPOILERS

I don't recall specifically the last 10 pages of Airframe, but I do remember the first 10 pages in which our hero is introduced to her new assistant and it's like, "Gee, will he end up being the bad guy at the end?" :-)

I liked Prey but I did not like Next, which is about genetic engineering - a bit meandering and just ho-hum.

T-Rav said...

Scott, I've read Prey and most of Next, and my conclusions were about the same as yours. And speaking of Crichton books, they really need to do a remake of Timeline, because the movie version of that was pretty crappy.

ScottDS said...

T-Rav -

Yeah, the movie wasn't great... I barely remember a thing. I didn't even know Gerard Butler was in it (pre-300) until someone told me.

Looks like the film was massively re-cut at one point. Click here.

And I haven't read the book since the time period they travel back to doesn't interest me. But maybe one day. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, That is a problem. I think you would need to find unknowns because right now the knowns are guys like Ryan Reynolds and Justin Timberlake and Shia Lemanchild who simply don't fit male roles.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott and T-Rav, Timeline the movie stunk.

T-Rav said...

Scott, I think the Hundred Years' War (and the medieval era in general) is very fascinating; unfortunately, this particular movie did nothing to spread that opinion. :-\

Very obscure, but someone is doing a book series right now on the Nephilim. Those are the folk who get mentioned early on in Genesis as human-angel hybrids (or something) that are superhuman or great heroes or....really, that's the only time the Bible mentions them, so we really know nothing about them. But that's an interesting concept, and I think it's a possible a movie could be made about them.

Outlaw13 said...

I would like to see a film be made of the book "House to House" which is about the second battle of Fallujah. It is an awesome book...but they most likely won't make a movie out of it anytime soon because there aren't any war criminals in it.

I second or third the notion that "Starship Troopers" should be re-made by someone who will treat it the way it deserves to be treated.

There's a WWII novel by Martin Cadin called "The Last Dogfight" that would be awesome to see as a film...but the odds are nobody has ever heard of it, much less make a movie from it.

I understand they were trying to make a film out of one of the Mitch Rapp novels but I haven't seen a thing about that lately.

Tennessee Jed said...

I got Amy Acker to test read for "Without A Hitch" and she did great.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I read the abridged version of the Hundred Years War... the 82.5 Years War. ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, Hollywood can always add war criminals.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, You've been busy! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Damn, why didn't I think of some of these? Kevin Spacey, Lizzy Caplan, and Rose Byrne all strike me as good choices and Ice Cube could definitely pull off Beaumont's thuggishness. These things are definitely entertaining to think about.

T-Rav, the concept of the Nephilim has definitely provided me some interesting material to work with in my own writing (ideally a game) project, though I haven't quite fleshed out the idea for it yet. At least a good number in this story are the children of fallen angels and humans, making them very powerful, and very dangerous antagonists, but I can't quite bring myself to make them all that way. Not that I've had much creative juice lately anyway, but you're not the only one who sees potential in the idea.

- Daniel

tryanmax said...

Oh dear, it seems most of what I read either was already made into a movie or has gotten made since. With the exception of the vast majority of Chuck Palinhuik novels, most of which are unsuitable for film adaptation in my estimation. (But, hey, I was proven wrong by Choke.)

About the only thing I've read that hasn't been made into a movie that I think would be truly excellent is The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I linked to the Wikipedia page because it sums it up better than I could. I would take a lot of work to get a good adaptation, but it would be worth it.

Mycroft said...

For TN Jed.
Larry Corriea has only been published for 4-5 years and recently been able to quit his day job and write full time. He has 3 series going.
My favorite is the Grimnoir Chronicles (Hard Magic, Spellbound, Warbound) which is a steampunk alt-history set in the 1930's where magic has been around for just over 100 years. The Grimnoir is a secret society that exists to protect magicals from normals and vice versa. FDR is running for his first term and Imperial Japan is out to conquer the world.
His other series are: Monster Hunter International (self-explanatory) and Dead Six (military thriller).

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, I think Ice Cube would be fantastic. He really fits the character. Spacey would be an interesting choice. And yeah, it is definitely fun to think about. :)

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I actually thought Fight Club was a phenomenal movie.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, I agree. It was also based off of Palanhuik's least--shall we say?--vulgar work thus far.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I haven't read his work, so I can't say. I just saw the movie and I thought it was brilliant.

Anonymous said...

That it is, Andrew! Which reminds me, I need to read Wrongful Death as soon as I have the time and money to do so. The premise sounded interesting and besides, why should Without a Hitch get all the movie thoughts?

Mycroft, those books sound very interesting. I was inspired to come up with the concept I mentioned above from playing some video games with a similar setting, a supernatural 1930s alt-history Japan where Emperor Yoshihito never died of pneumonia, consequently keeping Hirohito off the throne. That's another set for my ever-growing to-read list... O_o

- Daniel.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, let's just say that while the core story elements were retained, the screenwriters tidied Fight Club up quite a bit. Palanhuik reportedly loved the changes, however--thought they were an improvement. He knows he's something of a sicko. I can't remember if it was an interview or a prologue of his that I read where he said that he prefers writing books because you can get away with anything in print. However, he still clearly appreciates commercial viability. LOL

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, It's a different style of book, but I think it would also make a good film.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I read that somewhere as well. And yeah, it's funny how art gives way to commercial viability, isn't it?

Tennessee Jed said...

Mycroft - Thanks! :)

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - Ed Nortpn and Philip Seymour Hoffman both expressed interest in Beckett after reading the book!

shawn said...

"Necroscope" by Brian Lumley. Or his Vampire World trilogy.

Add me to those calling for a faithful "Starship Troopers".

Rob S. Rice said...

Well, like any other author, any of mine... particularly now that the CGI is up to creatures such as centaurs, Percy Jackson and the Narnia movies proved that! But other authors... Attend, o Ye Conservatives to THIS forgotten book!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emphyrio

First of all... Jack Vance. Stay close to his perfect dialog, and it's poetry. Second... THE VISUALS! You wouldn't believe them. It's also not like anything done already. Then... the message. Pointed, fascinating, epic. A very sadly forgotten great book.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, LOL! Wouldn't it be great if that were true!

Anonymous said...

Good call on the Necroscope books, Shawn, it had been a while since I read any of them. I left off after Deadspawn, but I enjoyed all of them and their characters. Now you've got me wondering who would be a good Harry, Dragosani, Zekintha, and Faethor, heh. I never did get around to reading Psychamok, but I liked the other two books in the trilogy, Psychomech and Psychosphere, quite a bit. All of these books would make for good, eerie movies if done right.

- Daniel

AndrewPrice said...

shawn, "Starship Troopers" seems to be a very popular choice these days.

I haven't heard of "Necroscope."

AndrewPrice said...

Rob, I'm not familiar with that one.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, the Necroscope books are a horror/sci-fi/adventure series centering around a battle between psychics and vampires with some Cold War intrigue thrown in (the books were written in the late 80s and early 90s). The protagonist of the first five books is Harry Keogh, a psychic with the ability to speak with the dead. These talents get him recruited by the British government to go up against the Soviets and their E-Branch, though the greater threat in the series are vampires.

The vampires in this book, known properly as Wamphyri in the series, are presented with more of a sci-fi take than a supernatural one. A Wamphyri is a human infected by a symbiote that gives it the abilities of the vampires of legends. While some Wamphyri do help Harry out on occasion it's well-established that none of them are trustworthy in the least, creating a lot of drama when Harry has to go to one for help.

The books really are fascinating, especially with the way Harry establishes himself as a friend and highly respected figure among the dead. He always visits their graves when possible, a gesture the dead regard as a sign of great respect. Contrasting Harry's treatment of the dead are the necromancers in the series, many of whom are vampires. Their savage evisceration of the dead to learn the information Harry might get through persuasion is considered horrific torture. In fact Harry's first major enemy in the series is a Soviet necromancer, Boris Dragosani, who's a nasty, creepy character. The first book's opening with him performing necromancy would be a chilling scene in a movie if done right.

This thread's really adding to a lot of people's possible books to read list, isn't it? O_o

- Daniel

Anonymous said...

Andrew, they once said LOTR was impossible to film. And they would have to skip parts like the sart of the book and just start it with an introduction
and then get into the battles.

And yes PJ would go to far with it and change things that didn't need changing for whatever reason he wants to. But better that than nothing.

Scott.

Dwizzum said...

@ Bob S. Rice Love Emphyrio, but I think The Demon Princes books would be much better suited for a movie. One survivor from a massacre must take revenge against the five most notorious super criminals in the Galaxy using his wits and deadly fighting skills.

I also think the Dying Earth stories would make a great mini series. You could really play that out and could probably do it for cheap.

I actually read The Jehovah Contract back in college. I don't remember much, but I do remember hating it. The concept is so interesting, but the execution sucked.

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, It really has. Every time we talk about books, my kindle grows. I just can never find the time to read anything. I really need to take a week off and go sit on an island or something away from the net.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, True, but personally, I don't see how they do this one.

Mycroft said...

The Takeshi Kovacs novels (particularly Altered Carbon) by Richard Morgan would make interesting movies.
Altered Carbon is sort of a Mickey Spillane SF novel where the hard boiled detective is in a world where a person can be downloaded to a "stack" and uploaded back into any "sleeve" (human/robot body) that is available. Takeshi is hired by the richest man on Earth to solve his own murder. After a backup of his personality is loaded into a cloned body, he is adamant that he didn't commit suicide (the most likely event according to the police).
Since people can change bodies as needed, using multiple actors for each character is even easier to explain away than for Dr Who.

Rob S. Rice said...

Dwizzum, at a recent panel memorializing Vance at MileHiCon 45 I suggested that The Demon Princes would make superb anime, just that kind of vibe... If I were to do a live-action version, it would have to be 'The Face.' Great action of all kinds, danger, culture, a genuine freak--and one of the great endings in SF literature.

Glenn said...

So many of my favorite books have already been made into movies from Marathon Man, Princess Bride, Gore Vidal's Lincoln (TV mini-series), most of Raymond Chandler's books and now Ender's Game which is coming out in November.

What I'd really like to see is Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch books made into a series of movies. They're done his Lincoln Lawyer book which turned out well, but Bosch would be great.

Also, John Connelly has a series of Charlie Parker detective novels based in Maine. He's got some really fascinating series characters who would be amazing to see on screen. He adds a lot of supernatural elements and one of his novels does include elements of the Nephilim. Look him up, he's a great writer.

Glenn

El Gordo said...

Andrew, you mentioned the Sharpe television movies in the Goldeneye review. That reminded me. I wish the first three Sharpe novels (chronologically first, though published in the late 90s) would get the big budget movie treatment. Starring a young Sean Bean (hey, we can dream).

The novels are Sharpe´s Tiger, Sharpe´s Triumph and Sharpe´s Fortress. Set in India, they show Sharpe starting out as a common illiterate soldier. These novels are incredibly colorful, cinematic, violent and action packed. They really "jump off the page". And Cornwell is one of us: When asked what the British were doing in India, Sharpe´s mentor delivers a passionate defense of trade that just made my day.

Cornwell´s Warlord chronicles would also be fantastic material for a LOTR-style trilogy. It is a realistic retelling of the Arthurian legend (without the magic). It would take a genius to get it right, though. The novels make the famous characters and their world plausible, gritty and real while keeping the heroism, tragedy and grandeur of the myth intact. Quite wonderful but a movie would probably require the kind of budget that would guarantee its dumbing-down.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, I haven't read the books, though they are on my list. I've enjoyed the shows they've made out of them immensely and I would love to see someone like HBO tackle the series with a real budget.

I haven't read the Warlord Chronicles.

AndrewPrice said...

Glenn, I've heard that The Princess Bride is a very difficult book?

Glenn said...

Andrew: Not sure what "difficult" means exactly. It's one of the funniest books I've ever read. The movie was very good, but only about half as good as the book. Goldman has a unique sense of humor throughout all of his novels and screenplays that I love.

El Gordo: I've read Cornwell's War Lord series and I agree, it would make a great series of movies. It's narrated by one of Arthur's warriors, which gives it an interested focus. There are a number of other Cornwell historical novels that would make great movies as well. We can only wish.

AndrewPrice said...

Glenn, I've heard it's packed with political theory and history, though I haven't read it so I can't verify that.

Glenn said...

Andrew: Since the whole novel is a made up fairy tale, the history is a made up history of a fairy tale kingdom. Not sure about political theory since I read it years ago when I was much younger and probably couldn't understand a political theory hiding in a comic novel if it was knocking me between the eyes. However, I'll likely be re-reading the book again soon so I'll see if anything strikes me as politically relevant. At the time I just thought it was hilarious and endearing.

AndrewPrice said...

Glenn, Let me know if you think of it. I've never read it, but this is what I was told so I've never thought to read it. It would be interesting to know if this is true or not.

Glenn said...

Will do.

Glenn said...

Andrew: Okay, finished rereading Princess Bride and it's still a fun read, although since I know the story so well by now, the fun of discovery was lost.

If you've seen the movie, it pretty much follows the book perfectly, except the book has much more detail about the history and background of all the main
characters. A few scenes are left out of the movie likely because they would have probably cost a fortune to film, but otherwise they are the same, which
isn't surprising since Goldman wrote both the book and screenplay.

So, if you consider the film "political" in any way, then I guess the book would be considered the same. For me, it's about as non-political as you can get since it's a made up fairy tale. As with any fairy tale, there's a king and a prince and a princess and two fictional countries that are usually at war. There's not really any real history, just the made up stuff of these two fairy tale kingdoms.

I think where someone might get in trouble with the book is if they take any of it serious. William Goldman has been one of my favorite writers since I first
read Marathon Man way back in, what, the late sixties, early seventies. He does have a unique sense of humour, which I really enjoy in both his novels and screenplays and non-fiction books (i.e. Adventures in the Screen Trade etc. which is just hilarious).

I'm fairly knowledgeable when it comes to Canadian and U.S. politics, and sure, Goldman is probably a Democrat, but I've never really detected any political overtones to any of his writing. Of course, he hasn't written any novels in many years, so when I read them, I was much less politically aware, but for me, he's just a great writer and story teller and his insights into the movie business are enlightening and fun to read.

Of course, he did win the Academy Award for writing the screenplay for All The President's Men which was obviously a very political book, but that was
Woodward and Bernstein's original work. Having just read your list of the top 25 westerns, I was surprised by the assertion that the Butch Cassidy & The
Sundance Kid tried to kill the Western genre. If that was the perception, I don't think it was intentional, but then, I'm not as astute on the cultural ramifications of movies as you are, so who knows, but I do appreciate your thoughtful evaluation.

Butch and Sundance is actually one of my favorite movies of all time. I just consider it a funny western with a dark undertone that showed the transition to the modern world from the days of the old west. Besides, Redford was fairly new at the time and not well know for the political jerk he is now. So I can watch and enjoy the movie in that light.

I've seen all the westerns on your list except one, and yes, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is definitely the best western of all time. Always been one of my favorites. I'm doing a lot of catching up on your past lists and reviews and really appreciate your insights.

AndrewPrice said...

Glenn, Thanks! As I said, I've never read the book, but the one person I know who has said it was a very dense book which went into political philosophy. It sounds like that's not accurate. And it really doesn't make a lot of sense that it would be like that because the film strikes me as totally apolitical.

I've never gotten a sense of politics out of Goldman either.

I'm glad you like the site! :) On Butch Cassidy, the film has always struck me as a tad insulting to westerns, even before I started thinking about the political implications of films. Then I read a criticism somewhere that talked about how the film is meant to show that westerns are a thing of the past. The bicycle, for example, is meant to show the replacement of the horse, etc.

Later, I read an interview with Redford (pre-Silverardo) where he was much more direct about saying that the they thought the western was dead and Butch Cassidy was meant to move on from westerns.

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