and Green Mile
writer-director Frank Darabont has been speaking to Shock Till You Drop and SCI FI Wire at the 35th annual Saturn Awards, and he has revealed the present status of his proposed adaptations of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
and Stephen King’s The Long Walk
Regarding the first of these two projects, Darabont remarked that “Fahrenheit
is the thing I’m trying to get up next, which is casting-dependent, so it’s one of those.”
And with Bradbury’s novel portraying a dystopian future-world in which the responsibility of the fire service is to burn all books, rather than extinguish fires, Darabont admitted studios are nervous about such ideologically-charged source material.
“Hollywood doesn’t trust smart material. I actually had a studio head read that script and say ‘Wow, that’s the best and smartest script that I’ve read since running this studio but I can’t possibly greenlight it.’ I asked why and he says ‘How am I going to get 13 year-olds to show up at the theatre?’ And I said ‘Well, let’s make a good movie and I bet that will take care of itself.’ But that argument cut absolutely no ice.”
But despite such struggles, Darabont apparently remains determined to bring the story to the big screen; “Boy, do I want to make that movie. I’m not giving up.”
The movie version of The Long Walk
would see Darabont in more familiar territory, being based on an old Stephen King book (albeit one penned under his Richard Bachman pseudonym). The story revolves around a last man standing-competition, in which the participants are required to simply keep walking until only one remains upright. But any competitors who drop out face death, as do those slowing below a speed of four miles-an-hour. Of this project, Darabont notes;
“The Long Walk
is a bit on my back burner at the moment. I won’t spend too many more years before I make it, it’s going to be coming up I think pretty shortly... we’ll make it down and dirty and cheap and hopefully good.” Fahrenheit 451
was famously brought to the screen in the 60s by Francois Truffaut, the science fiction elements mostly giving way to a bourgeois-satire more akin to Godard’s Week End
. Mel Gibson subsequently mulled over directing a new version in the mid-90s, noting at the time that his film would definitely feature the Hound, the mechanical monster which constitutes so striking an element of the book but which was absent from the Truffaut movie.
But while Darabont’s screenplay for Fahrenheit
sounds promising - and without wanting to urinate on the director’s deep-fried potatoes - surely the kind of flattery he received from the unnamed movie exec is merely the de rigueur patter of those reptiles; “It’s great! It’s amazing! It’s wonderful... pass.” It’s shameless script-teasing, and you bloody fell for it Frank, you poor trusting fool.
Sources: Slash Film, Shock Till You Drop, Dark Horizons