One was a pulp writer who died in miserable obscurity. The other played Richie Cunningham. So could there be a more logical creative marriage than H. P. Lovecraft and Ron Howard? Ron sure don’t think so. Which is why the Angels & Demons
and Apollo 13
director has been blabbing to the Los Angeles Times
about his proposed adaptation of Image Comics’ The Strange Adventures of H. P. Lovecraft
The comic book was conceived by writer Mac Carter and cover artist Adam Byrne, and details a fictionalised version of Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s life as a young adult – one which uses elements of autobiography in weaving a supernatural tale. Byrne described the project thusly to Comic Book Resources;
“It’s really about taking H. P. Lovecraft, the writer and his troubled history, and asking the question: what if the inspiration for his unique fiction came from some irrational, unexplainable horror mixed up in his real life? We've tried to take Lovecraft's biography - he's such a compelling character - and blend it with his bizarre mythology, which is vast and mind-bending. You might think of the story like Shakespeare in Love
, but instead of Shakespeare it’s Lovecraft, and instead of Romeo and Juliet
it's the cosmic horror of Cthulhu.”
Maybe not the most obvious of fits for the film-maker who brought us Parenthood
, and indeed Howard concedes that “this is new territory for me.” However he certainly expresses enthusiasm for the potential of the graphic novel source material.
“Look, it’s challenging, but if we get it right, it could be really original and psychologically interesting and scary in a great way.”
Howard also seems enticed by the prospect of blending the mythology surrounding Lovecraft as an individual with the mythology of his strange tales.
“It very cleverly uses H. P. Lovecraft in a fictional way, but there’s some loose biographical elements. But it certainly has the flavour and the tone of Lovecraft.”
There is no doubt that Lovecraft’s real-life experiences were unusual, with the writer living as an almost total recluse from ages 18 to 23, as well as harbouring some suspect racial views which creep into his fiction on occasion and make for distinctly uncomfortable reading. But, as you might expect from a man raised by Tom Bosley, Howard sees mainly positives in this retooling of Lovecraft’s formative years.
“It is kind of fun, but you know Freud has been used that way and Einstein in the past... I'm very encouraged by it so far, the approach and the possibilities.”
I must confess I am not entirely convinced by a fusion between the creative sensibilities of Howard Phillips and Howard, Ron. Someone taking a big-budget punt on the Lovecraft oeuvre has been a very long time in coming though, and with Guillermo del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness
adaptation apparently stalled, it seems it may be down to Dan Brown’s cinematic chronicler to finally get the ball rolling.
Sources: Los Angeles Times
, Bloody Disgusting
, Comic Book Resources