Friday, June 22, 2012

Stories that deserve to be made into movies and a little rant

J.K. Rowling has been talking with Warner Brothers this last year about rebooting the entire series
with an all American cast to see how that works (instead of an English one).
How do you feel about that? 
"The Great and Powerful Oz" is an upcoming prequel being filmed by director Sam Raimi. It stars James Franco (Oz), Michelle Williams (who plays Glinda), Rachel Weisz (Evanora), and Mila Kunis (Theodora). The three ladies play the witches that Oz has to deal with in the takeover of the yellow brick road. I know nothing about the plot other than that. Oh and it's supposed to come out in 2013.
The first promo picture for The Great and
Powerful Oz. Franco seems like he's trying
to hard to look sexy which is not what I
associate with the Wizard of Oz.

If you aren't familiar with Sam Raimi's work, you need look no further than the show "Drag Me To Hell" (sucks) or the Evil Dead series (good if you're drunk and with stupid friends--IQ 80 required). You'll either love him or hate him. There is no in-between. But for the record, I think Spider-Man 2 was a masterpiece.

Anyway, this is where I shake my fist at Hollywood. Why are you going to ruin a classic? A prequel to "The Wizard of Oz" is going to lead to a sequel which is basically...a REBOOT of "The Wizard of Oz".

Judy Garland is the only person I can see playing Dorothy. And her singing of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" still makes me pause every single time that I hear it.

And yes, as I discussed earlier this week, Lion's Gate is already planning on rebooting "Twilight" with a whole new cast and "Breaking Dawn, part 2" hasn't even been released yet. Plus you have a reboot of "The Hunger Games" being discussed and the Batman franchise has already been greenlit for a reboot after Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" hits theaters this summer.

Enough already.

There are so many stories that are so amazing that have not been given a silver screen treatment.

Here are just a few on my list:

1) David Eddings' Belgariad could become five blockbuster fantasy movies. As a side note, I hate that Christopher Paolini endorses Eddings on the cover. Eddings is 100 times the writer Paolini will ever be. I tried to read Eragon...what utter crap. Yet it got a movie treatment. R.I.P. did good. I will miss your stories.
2) What about Neuromancer by William Gibson? It won both the Hugo and the Nebula in the year it was released? Talk about the king of cyberpunk, why the hell has this not been made into a movie?
3) For the vampire enthusiasts, how come the Anita Blake series hasn't ever been cast or discussed? This story by Laurel K. Hamilton is superior to the one by Charlaine Harris in my opinion and she is repeatedly a New York Times bestseller.
4) Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein.
5) The Dragonlance books by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis. Holy cow...this would be incredible!
6) Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality. The story in this was brilliant.
7) Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber. Again, just absolutely mind-blowing in his world-building.
8) Lloyd Alexander's Prydain chronicles. Disney screwed over The Black Cauldron...please, someone with talent make these five books into movies.
This is what I hate most about what capitalism does to art. The artist in me longs for a socialized art/movie industry that uses taxpayer money coupled with money from a fund setup to receive all the profits from successful movie projects to continue to back new projects. In other words, to make the entire movie industry break new boundaries in film.
When this is all that matters, you have to dumb down your
product so that it appeals to as many people as possible to
make the biggest return on investment. To appeal to so many
different tastes in my opinion causes artistic expression to go
out of the window and into the trash can. Hence why Madagascar 3
continuously beat Prometheus in theaters. One is G-Rated and the
other is rated-R. But Ridley Scott took more of a risk with
Prometheus...a thing for which I am thankful. And he made a
far superior and more artistic creation.
In my socialized art/movie industry, we would say "No. 'Twilight' has already had a run. It's very successful and generated two billion dollars for the fund. We will not be rebooting it with a new cast. Instead, we are using the remaining funds after all invested parties have been paid handsomely to invest in a book that has never had a movie treatment. An entirely new story if you will. I'm sorry if that disappoints you."

Anyway, that is my rant. I'm just tired of how we are being spoon fed more of the same. Here comes another Snow White comes another reboot of "Total Recall"...

Do you have books in a list that you keep in your head for which you'd like to see a Hollywood treatment? If so, please say so in the comments.

How do you feel about reboots of both Twilight and Harry Potter (with an American cast instead of a British one)? Would you go and see them en-masse if they are released in 2014? Do you think the corporate greed is such that it is destroying creativity by only going for projects that are sure to generate some serious cash?

I honestly think I live in a weird time of human history. I never would have envisioned a time when I thought mass produced entertainment would be stuck on repeat. Don't you people out there ever get tired of seeing the same old thing? Furthermore, can you explain to me why reboots seem to make such huge fists of money? A lack of money is the only thing that is going to kill reboots and make greedy corporate pigs look at investing in other projects and taking risks.

I will leave you with Judy Garland singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", mostly because hearing it brings peace to my mind. If you have time, please go visit Michael Pierce's blog today. He's interviewing me for his Friday Post (and posting a book review of SLIPSTREAM), but at the time of this writing, it isn't up yet. CLICK HERE TO GO TO HIS BLOG.

Have a great weekend.


  1. I think rebooting Harry Potter or almost any film is a terrible idea. I mean the Harry Potter series is perfect, why in the world mess with it? Well of course for more money, geez how much money does that lady need?

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  3. I'm getting sick of reboots too. Disney has already started filming a remake of Sleeping Beauty with Angelina Jolie starring as Maleficent. Granted she looks perfect for the part, but I'd be happy with just a photo shoot. Twilight? Already? And HP? No, just no. I hope they all bomb at the box office. Hollywood just doesn't want to take risks anymore. I should spend more time watching foreign/independent films.

  4. Yes for Neuromancer! yes for Stranger in a Strange Land. And how about Martian Chronicles or Robert Sawyer's

  5. Yes for Neuromancer! yes for Stranger in a Strange Land. And how about Martian Chronicles or Robert Sawyer's

  6. Heh, I'm writing my WIP totally to be a movie!

  7. What I want to see more than anything is Peter Jackson continuing on with the Tolkien stuff and doing stories from the Silmarillion. Beren and Luthian would be awesome!

  8. A reboot of Oz would be wrong, but not a simple prequel. After all, they already did a sequel in 1986 - Return to Oz.
    Reboots like Total Recall annoy me though.
    Be cool to see Brook's Shannara come to life.
    And Evil Dead II is pure genius. Drinking not needed.

  9. I agree with your choices, except for Stranger in a strange land. I couldn't get into that book for some reason. I also agree that we need more variety in movies coming out and I'm tired of reboots. If only they didn't make money. Movies goers are the ones who control what they put out there and they like reboots.

    People are already taxed too much. They would scream at having to pay taxes for art of any kind. A lot of people would scream at no more Twilight too.

  10. More philanthropic bucks come from private citizens vs government and corporations. And it's these private citizens who take their bucks to see inane movies and sports events with their out-of-sight salaries for players. If these people wouldn't go, the movie and sport moguls wouldn't make money. Another Twilight? I've had enough, thank you very much. And I think if the Muppets made a new Harry Potter movie, it would be a blockbuster.

  11. Not sure i like the idea of Harry Potter being redone with an American cast... It's perfect the way it is... why mess with it I say?

    For years I've been asking the same question - why don't they make Laurel Hamilton's series - Anita Blake a movie... I love the books, though they do get very raunch later on.. maybe that's why they've kept away from it.

    I'd love to books by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis on the big screen.

  12. Personally, I don't believe these Twilight and Harry Potter reboots would ever see the light of day. If they somehow manage to, they are only going to fail. Spectacularly.

    As for the Oz prequel, they had better keep it at that, a prequel, not another franchise waiting to happen. Sam Raimi is a very competent director in my eyes, but even he might not be able to save the movie from being viewed as a cheap money grab.

  13. No, I don't think they should make Harry Potter into an American version. NO. Yes, there are so many others that would be good movies.

    Thanks for this list of books I haven't read.


  14. It's to the point now where I can't watch any movie more than 5 years old and wonder if and how they're going to reboot it. I heard they're doing a Robocop reboot and my thought was, "What the hell took so long?" I'd really like some decent Prydain movies, but Hollywood would probably fuck it up. I keep wondering when they'll reboot "Highlander" because that seems like another obvious one. And when will Lucas get desperate enough to reboot Star Wars? Or maybe after he dies Fox will reboot it.

    Anyway, these ones for Twilight and Harry Potter don't make much sense. I can see with comics how you can reboot them because most have been around 40 years or longer so there's a lot of stuff to draw from. But how are they going to do Twilight any differently? Cast competent actors? That seems unlikely. I mean the book is the book and it's only been around for less than a decade, so what else can you do with it?

  15. No no no no no no no. <- Here are my opinions on remaking classics. Why in the world would anyone mess with the Harry Potter movies? And remaking Wizard of Oz is blasphemous.

  16. Yeah, Hollywood is going to greed themselves straight into the ground. They're remaking so many 80's movies right now that you'd think the guys in charge were locked away in a time capsule in 1985 and no one told them the 80's were over. There are so many great novels that could be made into movies. One recent read I loved was The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I've already cast it in my head.

    Oh, and Neuromancer was made into a film. It's called The Matrix. :P

  17. Rebooting this soon is just stupid. Why mess with a good thing? (thinking Harry Potter not Twilight)
    Now if 40 years had passed, sure reboot. But now, seriously?

    I don't have a list, but anything sci fi would get my vote. :)

  18. It's all about safe, mass appeal, most dollars earned. That goes for the Big Six as well as movies. We've forgotten how to dream new, instead we choose to remake the same movies.

  19. I'm sick of all the remakes as well. I 'd love to see the Anita Blake books brought to life. I heard a british tv station was going to make them into a tv series but never saw the series anywhere.

  20. Yesterday I saw a commerical for another Spiderman movie. Why?!

  21. I agree with a lot of what you've said. This is why I read.

  22. I'm so tired of Hollywood rebooting old BS. Have you seen the cartoon film of Dragonlance, BTW? It's absolutely pathetic. Bleeding from your eye-sockets horrible.

  23. There are so many amazing stories told, why reboot the old ones.

    Oh yeah, I forgot. Hollywood is all about big business and they think reboots are some sort of insurance plan for making lots of money.

  24. I think the biggest issue to getting new projects underway are the lack of champions for them. LotR only got made because Peter Jackson campaigned to do it. Hollywood goes with big time books because they have a built-in audience all set to go, so they're "safe." Even if what they make sucks, a bajillion people will go see it based on the franchise. The whole system really sucks.

    I would love to see The Belgariad on the screen, but it's day is long past, just like Jordan's WoT gave way to Martin. People don't know what it is anymore, so Hollywood won't risk it.

  25. The idea to already reboot Harry Potter is ridiculous! It just further proves my theory that Hollywood is running out of original ideas. I mean we are already kind of used to the idea of them remaking movies but they normally wait at least a decade. They can't even do that for this one. Harry Potter is such a staple if they don't want to upset the entire world off they really need to wait at least 10 years from the end of the entire saga before they begin the remakes. Although there is no way they will ever be able to top the originals. The american cast idea is just dumb, Harry is British, he will always be British. And the Twilight Saga is even worse, at least Harry Potter finished. Part 2 hasn't been released yet, I mean what the heck. Give the fans some time! Some people are still heart broken over the saga ending.

    I have heard about this 'The Great and Powerful Oz' prequel but personally I would be slightly more interested in seeing the 'Dorothy Of Oz' animated sequel. This may be more due to my fan girl obsession with Lea Michele (glee) and the fact that Megan Hilty (Smash), Martin Short, and Bernadette Peters will all be featured. Plus I dislike James Franco and Dorothy Of Oz seems more kid friendly for my munchkins. And no one does Somewhere Over The Rainbow like Judy Garland. Will always be my favorite part of Oz.

    P.S~Thanks so much for the comment and the follow on my blog BEING Out Of Focus.

  26. ...wait, they're seriously rebooting Twilight?

    I should check out some of these books you listed, then let you know if I agree ;)

  27. Wait, why are they wanting to reboot all these movies with new casts? What's wrong with the current casts? Ugh, I don't get it. Sounds like a waste of money to me!

  28. As a kid, I read the other Oz books and lurrrrved them. I'd love to see all the books made into movies! Heck, I'd be keen to see a remake of the original, as long as there's no Johnny Depp. Or anyone from Glee. Or songs. I don't think there should be songs. And I should direct. :-)

  29. I so agree with you. Who was the idiot who rebooted Psycho? Why screw with perfection. Besides, as you mentioned there are many other stories out there. Tanya Huff's Confederation novels come to mind, Lois McMaster Bujold, I'd love to see Neverwhere. I heard there was one, but not much noise. So do another.

  30. heinlein's book was made into a [bad] movie, starring david bowie... nuff said

    some of your other ideas i can agree with

    what i really wanna see on the silver screen is about 5-6 hours of 'the wizard of id'...

  31. I hope they don't end up making a reboot of Harry Potter. I think the British cast helped--an American one would take away part of the overall feel. Of course, I'd probably watch the movies anyway . . . just to see if they're as good.

    One book I really want to see turned into a movie is The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. It is a bit of a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, but the plot and characters are drastically different; the following books in the trilogy diverge even further from the original.

  32. I come across stories all the time that would make fantastic films, but it doesn't happen. I read somewhere that the current issue of The New Yorker has an article about Ben Stiller, what it takes to get a movie made in Hollywood, and how the suits in Hollywood want a safe bet so they stick to formulas. Once in a while an original, intelligent movie gets made, but these are the exception. Drives me nuts.

  33. I would absolutely lovelovelove to see Anita Blake, Stranger in a Strange Land, or the Prydain Chronicles on film.

    I'm over Harry Potter now. I was a huge fan & that's great, but I've read the books and I've seen the movies, and I've played the games, and I'm done.

    I think you're being a bit unfair on Eragon though. I think Paolini definitely tried to bite off more than he could chew with that one, and it definitely smacks of a potpourri of other works that obviously influenced him. I've written about this before, so I won't go on a rant about it here. But I still think that Paolini has a lot of potential as a writer, and I hope he keeps writing because he could write something great, as long as he doesn't peak with the Eragon series.

    That can be said of a lot of writers, probably. Especially those of use who are young and don't have a lot of experience yet (in life or otherwise) and such. I hope what I'm writing now isn't the best work I'll ever do.

  34. Reboot Harry Potter? No no no. I wish Hollywood was run differently.

  35. The thing about movies and the people who make them is that this is a business run by people who are afraid of losing their jobs. Any movie that doesn't have a built-in audience is such a huge risk, and when that risk doesn't pay off, the scared suits get more scared. They are looking for a sure thing.

    Of course, there are no sure things. Art needs risks or it dies. Art can't be run like a business. Too many people think running things like a business is the solution when instead it is indicative of the problem.

    I have so many thoughts about this, but it's Friday, the day when I'm an idiot, so I can't express what I mean to say. Ah well. Maybe tomorrow...

  36. I totally agree. I feel that Hollywood is just going through all the movies and making them all over again. We haven't run out of ideas yet!

  37. I've said it before, and I'll say it again... "You know about EVERYTHING!" Yes, I am slightly jealous, and NO, I don't want another Harry Potter set in English. Not yet. Maybe quite a few years down the road, but not yet.

  38. I read that Lion's Gate released a statement saying they weren't rebooting Twilight...hopefully that's true. The Harry Potter films are sooo good, there is almost no way they're going to make them any better. But they would make a crapload of money, unfortunately. I'd love to see the Chronicles of Amber made into movies. have a great weekend! :)

  39. its called 'the man who fell to earth'... and so similar to 'stranger', i was confused...

    "05 May 2009

    "by Patrick Shepherd

    "Although there have been several attempts at getting 'Stranger' on the screen, none of them has actually made it.

    "The movie, "The Man Who Fell to Earth", starring David Bowie, while not directly based on Stranger (it was adapted from a Walter Tevis book), addresses at least some of the same themes: i.e. our world visited by a total stranger to our culture, and the impact he has on said culture.

    "When you finish this book, I recommend you also read, "The Martian Named Smith: Critical Perspectives on Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land", by William Patterson.

    "This book will bring to light a whole host of things buried in Stranger you, more than likely, missed while reading it.

    "Stranger is, perhaps, Heinlein's best and most controversial book (though some would argue for Starship Troopers (the book - not the really terrible movie of that name), The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, or Time Enough for Love in that role), and while some of the ideas and concepts he introduces in it might seem a little dated now - note: he started writing this in 1949 - there's no denying he caught the massive sea change of cultural mores several years before Flower Power came into being - some would say he helped cause that massive change."

  40. Paolini really is an utter crapfest of a writer. And that said by me who actually is his translator for my country :)) I think I died at least five to six times while translating ERAGON fourth part. It has almost 900 Word pages! And not a single one interesting :)
    I am excited to see the three lovely ladies playing witches, although that Franco brat is something we don't need in the film. It will be a film of Oz's origins.

  41. I agree with you Michael. It's sad. But they'd rather go with a film they know will make money than take a chance with something new. Blake Snyder breaks it down nicely in Save the Cat. BUt I wish your way had a chance too. That's why we have to support indies!

  42. You are so right! Lately, movies have been a huge disappointment. They keep making more Batman and Spiderman movies, remaking old movies when there are a ton of books out there that would make great films.

    I'd watch anything based on a Baldacci Book. I'd be frightened to watch any of Konrath's work in film, but would pay to see it anyway.

    I have a long list... but you are so, so right!

  43. I would really like to see several classics made into movies - not the overly sexualized kind, but something that can show the story in a great light. I'm curious to see how Gatsby does. But honestly, I've had so many book into movie disappointments that I'm hesitant for them to be done at all.

  44. Hear! Hear! to Spiderman 2. With you on the rest of SR's work. I think the HP reboot is way too soon, and a pretty horrid idea in general.

    Now if JK were to write a new American spinoff series and have movies for those ... YES PLEASE!

    Have a sister-in-law who loves the Anita Blake series. She says they've lost some of their shine of late, but otherwise have been very good.

    When we become rich and famous we'll pool our resources and get that Dragonlance franchise off the ground. Deal.

  45. I think there are a couple of series by Tamora Pierce I'd like to see made into movies... pretty much anything from her Tortall world. I'd love to see the books after Golden Compass - I liked the first one and would enjoy seeing the remainder of the series completed. I also want to see the "So You Want to Be a Wizard" series on the big screen.
    I agree with you about Zelazny - Amber is amazing!!! Heinlein for sure. Prydain - I've been wishing for that for ages and ages.

    I do want to point out, that from time to time a re-boot is good. Example: Narnia.
    The original movies were done by the BBC and were really dry, long, and the lower production quality of the Brits. I loved them growing up, because Narnia was one of my favorite places to go. However, the Hollywood re-boot rocked my world! The CGI and (IMHO) better acting really made it come to life! It didn't stick to the books as perfectly as the BBC shows did, but they were still really amazing.
    Lesson to be taken away from this: If the first attempt sucked, it was a long time ago, and adding tons of modern graphics will drastically improve the show... Go for it!
    Example 2: "The Borrowers" turned into the Ghibli film "The Secret World of Arietty"
    The Borrowers I watched as a kid (based on a favorite book, of course) was a BBC version. They later did something here in Hollywood. Slightly, but not significantly better. Then, the Japanese crew at Ghibli studios took it on, and with animation did what the other shows struggled with... captured my imagination in the way the book did.
    Lesson to be taken away from this: If someone can take a show that had been made previously and was only okay, and animate it in a really good quality way, perhaps it can lend itself to the magic a bit and "fix" what was wrong in the first attempt(s).
    Example: Clash of the Titans
    The original movie was a trend-setter, cutting edge, amazing! (in its own time) When they decided to re-boot it, it had totally been set aside as an archived classic... ignored by pretty much everyone. They had tons of new special effects, and the story was strong to begin with... so a re-boot made sense. Take an amazing movie, old and close-to-forgotten... re-make it with modern technology and breath new life into it. Makes sense.
    Harry Potter? No need... it was great, but it's not old.
    Total Recall? No need, it's getting on in years, but it wasn't *that* great to begin with.
    Snow White? Haven't we had enough already? Mirror Mirror, The Huntsman, and don't forget Once Upon a Time on TV. *sigh*
    Then there was Beastly and Red Riding hood. Are they seriously trying to overkill EVERY idea that comes through Hollywood?
    Next will be overkill on the Grimm fairy tales and the Hans Christian Anderson tales...
    Enough already!
    There are PLENTY of authors and books out there, pick something else!

  46. Agreed on all counts, Mike. I believe there have been efforts to bring Neuromancer to the big screen, but it's caught in development hell. Eddings' books as well as Dragonlance would make kickass TV series. Perhaps that possibility now exists because of the success of Game of Thrones.

    I definitely am getting reboot fatigue, especially when the new filmmakers are basically ignoring the premise of the original. A prime example is the Michael Bay-helmed Turtles remake (which I believe was recently put on hold). Basically, he has it in mind to "reimagine" the turles as aliens. Oh, and they won't be teens. So basically, this remake has all the earmarks of a debacle of Highlander 2 proportions. We'll see what happens, I suppose. In the meantime, though, don't forget to remember Zeist.

  47. I hate reboots. I won't see any movies that are just repeats of the same old. One of my favorite movies of all time is 'An Affair to Remember' and when they remade that, I just gagged.
    btw: saw Prometheus and I really liked it. Thanks for the reviews which gave me some confidence to go! Cheers!

  48. As a person who grew up loving all the Oz books, I have to agree that the original movie did do a great job and Judy Garland was superb. Sadly, however, even your post leaves out the most important part of the equation. The reason we're all here. The reason we're friends. To support writers especially when they are not mentioned. Thank you Frank Baum for changing my life.

  49. there is nothing new under the sun...the Old Testament tells us that.

  50. I'm hoping the reboot plans fall apart after The Amazing Spiderman flops. I mean, c'mon. Didn't Spidey 3 just come out last week or something? All I remember is that awe-inspiring dance number...

  51. Ugh. Honestly I think it's at least a little vulgar.

    I mean, a reboot is fine after ten years or so. But immediately after?

    Maybe because I like to live under the illusion that the movie industry was at least a little bit about the art. No. Apparently not. I honestly can say that I hope the Reboots fail.

    Maybe then people will snap out of it and go after discovering new stories for me to see.

  52. Oh my gosh! I'm dying with the Johnny Depp thing... TOO FUNNY! And I agree with everyone above... I think it's an awful idea! :/

  53. It's sad that original ideas aren't being given much of a chance anymore, and instead we're rahashing old stuff to death. Maybe one day we'll see the error of our ways.