This is a short update of a post from some time ago, about the possible filming of George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides.
Since the earlier post reporting on possible filming of the novel, information has surfaced about the team interested in filming Earth Abides. Two of the principles in the production company won Academy Awards; one was involved in the excellent (and similarly hard to film) Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and has a strong interest in filming science fiction classics.
The team plans to do the film as a mini-series. That’s a good idea, since the highly-competitive premium channels are interested in such stories – consider The Handmaiden’s Tale and HBO’s From the Earth to the Moon — and are always looking for projects to film. A mini-series would be an ideal way to bring the novel to the screen.
The project is still “under development.” That can mean a search for funding, or the talent to turn GRS’s book into a successful film. Development can take a long time – it took years for a successful version of Lord Of The Rings to be produced.
In the case of Stewart’s fine novel, any potential producer will need to work hard to convince the money men that the film can turn a profit.
Earth Abides would be a difficult work to transition to the screen. Much of it is somewhat philosophical, or technical. In a way that is distinctly different from current films, violence and sex are low-key and “off screen.” There are no major battles or graphic sex scenes or gun fights. To add such scenes would change the special nature of the book.
(The danger of a bad film translation can be found in Stewart’s own experience. Stewart’s Fire was filmed twice. The Disney TV version keeps the ecological focus of the novel. The other version, by Paramount, was changed to emphasize sex and violence, and ignored the ecological focus. It became Red Skies of Montana, and a good example of how NOT to translate a novel to the screen.)
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The news about the team is encouraging. But there’s still no word about the actual filming. So we continue to wait with bated breath.