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-   -   The Why isn't this Book a Movie Already Thread? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=822096)

swampspruce 03-21-2017 10:23 AM

The Why isn't this Book a Movie Already Thread?
 
I know the usual blah blah blah involves "someone already owns the rights and are sitting on them" crap but there have been several books I read (mostly sci-fi and fantasy) that are compelling stories both on a human level and the Ooo, I want to see that on a screen level. Now there have been a few on screen stinkers like Starship Troopers and several Dean Koontz and Stephen King books but still I'd love to see some great books turned to film.

My contenders are:
Ariel by Steven R Boyett- It has Post Apocalyptic landscapes, a unicorn with an utterly foul mouth and a peppermint candy fetish, a boyish hero who means well, Japanese swordsmanship, and some really kick ass villains. Plus magic.

The Belgariad by David Eddings- More swords and sorcery , interesting characters and probably better in a format like GoT, it would still make a great trilogy of big screen movies.

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen r Donaldson- Again, this would be better as an HBO series but I could see a few big screen movies being made of this.

Rite of Passage- Alexei Panshin A great coming of age novel that would slot in well with fans of Hunger Games and Divergent, etc.

So what do you think should be a movie or series?

Quartz 03-21-2017 10:34 AM

Simon Green's Forest Kingdom series, particularly Blood and Honor. Swords, sorcery, demons, dragons, scary monsters.

Happy Lendervedder 03-21-2017 10:39 AM

Milton's Paradise Lost. It's been 350 years, Hollywood! Let's get this on the big screen!

The Pork-Chop Express 03-21-2017 10:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Happy Lendervedder (Post 20082229)
Milton's Paradise Lost. It's been 350 years, Hollywood! Let's get this on the big screen!

There's an animated film available, I think.

Just Asking Questions 03-21-2017 11:15 AM

Ringworld.

Now that cgi is at the level that this movie could be done, it should be. Sure, there's really no plot to speak of, but there wasn't much of a pot to Titanic, and look how well that did. Visually, it could be a stunning movie. Just the shot of the arch going overhead would be worth the price of admission.

For other classic sci fi with the same issues, there could be movies of

Childhood's End
Rendezvous with Rama

I'm not sure we need everything in Known Space. And reading about a two headed, three legged alien with a voice like Marilyn Monroe works OK, but I think the reality would come across as absurd if you actually make Puppeteers in live action.

Prof. Pepperwinkle 03-21-2017 11:17 AM

The Anubis Gate by Tim Powers

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody by Will Cuppy

digs 03-21-2017 11:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Pork-Chop Express (Post 20082257)
There's an animated film available, I think.

You're thinking of the anime that's an amalgam of Paradise Lost, Purgatorio and Brothers Karamazov. "While its few fans applaud the innovative 'furries on motorcycles chasing up the sides of the giant crystal Stonehenge' scenes, none understand even one hour of the 40-hour epic".


Back on subject, a number of moody thrillers: JK Rowling's Cormoran Stryke trilogy, Lilian Jackson Braun's Jim Qwilleran books, and Koontz's Fear Nothing "trilogy". And why not some old radio detective shows, like "Broadway Is My Beat"?

howye 03-21-2017 11:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions (Post 20082322)
Ringworld.

Now that cgi is at the level that this movie could be done, it should be. Sure, there's really no plot to speak of, but there wasn't much of a pot to Titanic, and look how well that did. Visually, it could be a stunning movie. Just the shot of the arch going overhead would be worth the price of admission.

For other classic sci fi with the same issues, there could be movies of

Childhood's End
Rendezvous with Rama

I'm not sure we need everything in Known Space. And reading about a two headed, three legged alien with a voice like Marilyn Monroe works OK, but I think the reality would come across as absurd if you actually make Puppeteers in live action.

Childhood's End was done as a miniseries by SyFy in 2015. I found it to be ...acceptable. There were changes but there simply had to be for the story to work. The overall plot was kept.

Rama is in production. Last update on IMDB was October of 2016. There are quite a number of classic science fiction titles in one form of production or another. Foundation is supposedly in some sort of development at HBO. Would be surprised to see that happen.

Ringworld does keep popping up as in development. But it never makes it to screen, either tv or movie.

As a John Scalzi fan, he has three properties in development deals that keep not going anywhere. I would be that today's new release will be optioned quickly too.

The problem is that all of these might make good products by the focus is on easily marketed properties with guaranteed profits. Reboots, sequels, and extensions of known franchises meet those criteria for studio execs even if there are the occasional duds.

mikecurtis 03-21-2017 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Prof. Pepperwinkle (Post 20082328)
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

from your lips to. . .http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/liv...at-syfy-947671

mc

Czarcasm 03-21-2017 11:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mikecurtis (Post 20082384)

How many times has this gone from development to development hell so far?

Little Nemo 03-21-2017 11:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions (Post 20082322)
Rendezvous with Rama

Morgan Freeman has the film rights and has been trying to make this movie for over a decade now.

TroutMan 03-21-2017 12:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Czarcasm (Post 20082399)
How many times has this gone from development to development hell so far?

Same story for the top book on my movie wishlist, Neuromancer. Multiple stops and starts, and it never happens. Just make the damn movie already.

Tim R. Mortiss 03-21-2017 12:37 PM

I'd love to see a series of movies based on the Retief books. Or even a television series.

Stranger in a Strange Land would make an awesome movie (in the right directorial hands), but I can't see it as a television show!

Just Asking Questions 03-21-2017 12:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 20082415)
Morgan Freeman has the film rights and has been trying to make this movie for over a decade now.

Quote:

Originally Posted by howye (Post 20082368)
Childhood's End was done as a miniseries by SyFy in 2015..

It seems I missed the production of Childhood's End, so that's one for Hollywood follow through, but "in production" doesn't necessarily mean anything. I have old issues of Starlog that talked about a ton of recognizable, popular sci-fi projects that were "in production", (one of which was Childhood's End, interestingly enough, but a different production) and over the last nearly 40 years almost none of them came out.

Surprisingly, one that never got a single mention as being "in production" was Zelazny's Lord of Light. That one should have gotten noticed, because it was designed to get publicity, but I never even saw even a passing reference. Maybe Starlog was on to the game?

ZipperJJ 03-21-2017 12:44 PM

Any of Neal Stephenson's books, especially Snow Crash and The Baroque Cycle.

StGermain 03-21-2017 12:47 PM

The Vorkosigan Saga. Or Bujold's The Curse of Chalion.

StG

Paintcharge 03-21-2017 12:50 PM

I'd love to see Rainbow's End as a movie.

The politics in Vernor Vinge's other works would be fascinating, but I don't really see sentient packs of dogs or giant spiders as viable characters.

I'd also love to see Monkey Wrench Gang turned into a movie.

CalMeacham 03-21-2017 01:07 PM

As I've argued before, Alfred Bester's the Stars my Destination. I think it can be done, naysayers be damned, and far easier than many other suggestions in this thread.

I'll add in for Rendezvous with Rama, which I think would be better than Chuldhood's End was.


I'd like to see a decent movie made out of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Every adaptation I've seen is either a vehicle for the Star At The Time (Will Rogers, Bing Crosby) or changes the novel so completely that you don't recognize it (PBS, of all groups, various kid's adaptations, lots of popular movies ostensibly based on it). Dammit, Twain's highly comic and dramatic scenes -- the Destruction of Merlin's Tower, the Restoration of the Holy Fountain, the Charge of the Knights on Bicycles -- deserve to be put on screen.

I'd like to see at least one Heinlein novel adapted with something approaching fidelity. There are plenty to choose from, CGI has advanced to the point where you can do it justice. All you need to do is not to be lily-livered about it (Puppet Masters) or to have your own philosophy get in the way ([I]Stormship Troopers[/I). For the record, I think that Stranger in a Strange Land wouldn't be a good choice. Double Star might.


And I've long wanted to adapt Fredric Brown's classic story Arena for the screen. It's been done wrong often enough. And you can do it justice (without padding it out) as a movie.

gonzoron 03-21-2017 01:21 PM

I wish that so much of the B-plot of The Doomsday Book didn't revolve around
SPOILER:
mobile phones not existing


But with some structural changes to account for that, I think it could be an amazingly powerful movie.

DrDeth 03-21-2017 01:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 20082222)
Simon Green's Forest Kingdom series, particularly Blood and Honor. Swords, sorcery, demons, dragons, scary monsters.

Yes, excellent choice, or the related Hawk & Fisher series.

DrDeth 03-21-2017 01:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CalMeacham (Post 20082616)
A

I'd like to see at least one Heinlein novel adapted with something approaching fidelity. There are plenty to choose from, CGI has advanced to the point where you can do it justice. All you need to do is not to be lily-livered about it (Puppet Masters) or to have your own philosophy get in the way ([I]Stormship Troopers[/I). For the record, I think that Stranger in a Strange Land wouldn't be a good choice. Double Star might..

Most of his later Juveniles would work. Door Into Summer?

What would NOT work for a Movie (maybe a mini series?) is the Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

Terminus Est 03-21-2017 01:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CalMeacham (Post 20082616)
And I've long wanted to adapt Fredric Brown's classic story Arena for the screen. It's been done wrong often enough. And you can do it justice (without padding it out) as a movie.

There was barely enough to make a Star Trek episode. How would you make it a full movie without padding?

Morbo 03-21-2017 01:40 PM

Iain Banks' Culture novels turned into a series by an HBO or Starz with a large Sci-Fi budget would be my Number 1. Number 2 would be a stand-alone movie of The Algebraist.

Barkis is Willin' 03-21-2017 01:46 PM

Fevre Dream, by George RR Martin, could be a great movie.

I would also mention Ready Player One, by Ernie Cline. But it looks that one will be hitting the big screen in about a year.

CalMeacham 03-21-2017 01:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Terminus Est (Post 20082704)
There was barely enough to make a Star Trek episode. How would you make it a full movie without padding?

There was more than enough to fill the time of the Star Trek episode -- which a.) really wasn't an adaptation -- they were already writing it when someone noticed the similarity to Brown's story; and b.) therefore doesn't have a LOT of stuff that's in the story; c.) most notably the ending, which is completely different (No gunpowder from scratch, and what the hero does is different than what Kirk does with the Gorn).

You can do it, and to do it justice, you need time. Without letting it drag.

CalMeacham 03-21-2017 01:54 PM

I'm a little surprised that more of Clive Cussler's novels haven't been filmed. They're incredibly dumb and clichéd, but they're very cinematic. Cussler himself is said to be one reason -- he makes himself a pain, apparently. It doesn't help that the only two Cussler movies -- Raise the Titanic and Sahara -- both tanked. But You'd think, with the already pre-sold market for these a set of well-made movies would turn a decent profit.

For that matter, why not the equally outrageous novels of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs, both together and separately? So far all they've made has been The Relic, but I thought that did decently. With the success of the Oak Island series on cable, you'd think that their novel Riptide would do well. (Just stat away from the damned Agent Pendergast books)

Jonathan Chance 03-21-2017 02:03 PM

Justice for Pern! Dragons fighting thread is cinematic as hell.

Horatius 03-21-2017 02:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by StGermain (Post 20082554)
The Vorkosigan Saga.



I always thought that Aron Eisenberg from Deep Space 9 could pull off playing Miles, but alas, he's probably way too old for the role now.


Just watch the last 40 seconds or so of this, and tell me that's not Miles-like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8hcHXwqPEo

CalMeacham 03-21-2017 02:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance (Post 20082785)
Justice for Pern! Dragons fighting thread is cinematic as hell.

Dragons fighting dragons are cinematic. Dragons fighting thread might not be so. Thread looks like ... well ... thread. If I were filming it, I'd jazz it up somehow.

PapSett 03-21-2017 03:23 PM

Two of my favorite Stephen King novels have not been made into movies yet- The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and Gerald's Game.

His books don't always translate well onto film, and since both of these basically center around a single character, not really sure how they would stack up. Another is his short story Survivor Type, but again, revolves around a single character. And it's quite possible that what you can conjure up in your mind for these 3 are way worse than anything they could film...

Wednesday Evening 03-21-2017 03:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance (Post 20082785)
Justice for Pern! Dragons fighting thread is cinematic as hell.

I came in here to post Dragonflight. I've been wanting a movie of it ever since I first read it some 30-odd years ago.

Occasionally while reading a book I think "Hey, this might make a good movie". I am currently reading Ted Dekker's Circle Series and had that thought.

How about Tad Williams's Sorrow, Memoery and Thorn series? It is a little unwieldly, but a fantastic story. Cut out some of the sub-plots, perhaps?

I'm on board with any movie featuring Miles Vorkosigan. It would be so much fun to watch.

Sattua 03-21-2017 03:34 PM

Waverly. It's big-screen gold and no one is jumping for it. Not after Braveheart. Not after Fifty Shades of Plaid. Why not? You get to draw and quarter the hero at the end. C'mon, people.

Little Nemo 03-21-2017 03:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CalMeacham (Post 20082616)
And I've long wanted to adapt Fredric Brown's classic story Arena for the screen. It's been done wrong often enough. And you can do it justice (without padding it out) as a movie.

This is a rare case where I feel meddling with the story improved it. I like Gene Coon's ending better than I like Brown's original.

CalMeacham 03-21-2017 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 20083087)
This is a rare case where I feel meddling with the story improved it. I like Gene Coon's ending better than I like Brown's original.

Not me. And I hate the way they fundamentally changed the nature of the story.

Of course, I understand why -- you couldn't depict things on TV then with the effects available. Even when Marvel adapted it for the comics they gave the Outsider a T. Rex head (maybe in homage to the Star Trek version). But nowadays you can create the visuals you want with the CGI available.

Czarcasm 03-21-2017 03:46 PM

I wish to ghod someone would do Riverworld right, just once.

Little Nemo 03-21-2017 03:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CalMeacham (Post 20082755)
I'm a little surprised that more of Clive Cussler's novels haven't been filmed. They're incredibly dumb and clichéd, but they're very cinematic. Cussler himself is said to be one reason -- he makes himself a pain, apparently. It doesn't help that the only two Cussler movies -- Raise the Titanic and Sahara -- both tanked. But You'd think, with the already pre-sold market for these a set of well-made movies would turn a decent profit.

From what I've heard nobody in Hollywood wants to ever work with Cussler again. By all accounts, he is virtually impossible to work with. He insists on complete control over any movie based on one of his works and wants the movie to be made his way even though he has no experience in filmmaking.

TimeWinder 03-21-2017 03:49 PM

Startide Rising. Another space opera that couldn't be done until recently (dolphins make up a fair chunk of the character base), but would translate fantastically to the screen.

Mind's Eye, Watering 03-21-2017 03:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TroutMan (Post 20082509)
Same story for the top book on my movie wishlist, Neuromancer. Multiple stops and starts, and it never happens. Just make the damn movie already.

Second Neuromancer.

Also, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

Mind's Eye, Watering 03-21-2017 03:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 20082669)
What would NOT work for a Movie (maybe a mini series?) is the Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

Why?

Darth_Hamsandwich 03-21-2017 03:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PapSett (Post 20083046)
Two of my favorite Stephen King novels have not been made into movies yet- The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and Gerald's Game.

His books don't always translate well onto film, and since both of these basically center around a single character, not really sure how they would stack up. Another is his short story Survivor Type, but again, revolves around a single character. And it's quite possible that what you can conjure up in your mind for these 3 are way worse than anything they could film...


For my money, I'm betting that The Eyes of the Dragon would make a great flick.

DrDeth 03-21-2017 03:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mind's Eye, Watering (Post 20083124)
Why?

All Talking, no action. And not even talking person to person, a man talking to a computer.

Robot Arm 03-21-2017 04:07 PM

It's probably impossible to make of movie of Infinite Jest. Hell, you'd have to cut some stuff just to to fit it into a mini-series. But at least we have this.

Czarcasm 03-21-2017 04:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 20083133)
All Talking, no action. And not even talking person to person, a man talking to a computer.

As much as I love Bester's The Demolished Man I think it would also make a horrible movie for the same reason...only people would be thinking at each other a lot instead of talking.

EinsteinsHund 03-21-2017 04:15 PM

H. P. Lovecraft's "At The Mountains Of Madness". Though there's faint hope that Guillermo del Toro will try it one more time. From wiki:

Quote:

Originally Posted by wikipedia
Director Guillermo del Toro and screenwriter Matthew Robbins wrote a screenplay based on Lovecraft's story in 2006, but had trouble getting Warner Bros. to finance the project. Del Toro wrote, "The studio is very nervous about the cost and it not having a love story or a happy ending, but it's impossible to do either in the Lovecraft universe."[31] In July 2010 it was announced that the film would be made in 3D and that James Cameron would become producer,[32] and Tom Cruise was attached to star.[33] This "was a startling prospect considering Lovecraft's tale had long been considered unfilmable."[33] Del Toro confirmed that the film would begin production as early as May 2011 and start filming in June.[34] However, in March 2011, it was announced that "Universal Studios refused to greenlight the project due to del Toro's insistence that it be released with an R rating rather than a PG-13."[33] According to Salon.com, "Universal wants to hold onto the project in the event that it changes its mind and decides to make it later, either as an R or PG-13 movie. But del Toro is already trying to set up Mountains at another studio (possibly 20th Century Fox).[33] However, in April 2012, del Toro posted that, due to the resemblance in premise with the Ridley Scott film Prometheus, the project would probably face a "long pause—if not demise".[35][36] In January 2013, del Toro stated in an interview that he would try one more time to get the picture made.

I like it that del Toro refused to work in a romance or a happy ending though, that'd be ridiculous. Better not done at all than as a travesty.

CalMeacham 03-21-2017 04:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 20083133)
All Talking, no action. And not even talking person to person, a man talking to a computer.

Really? Is that what you got from the novel?

no panoramic shots of the Lunar cities? The drama as the Revolution unfolds, the invasion of Luna City by Earth forces, the building of the electric catapults and their use in shelling earth, the dramatic journey of Mannie and Doc to Earth and confronting the Earth government, Mannie and Wyoh and Manny's homelife?


You reduce all that to "A Man Talking to a Computer?"


You got no imagination and no soul.


And I think you haven't watched enough Man (or Woman) Talking to a Computer movies

2001
2010
Colossus: The Forbin Project
Demon Seed



et cetera et cetera.

pohjonen 03-21-2017 05:07 PM

Lucifer's Hammer. That reminds me - time to read it again.

Barkis is Willin' 03-21-2017 05:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Robot Arm (Post 20083154)
It's probably impossible to make of movie of Infinite Jest. Hell, you'd have to cut some stuff just to to fit it into a mini-series. But at least we have this.

Sorta kinda along those lines I would have thought Cloud Atlas would be utterly impossible to make into a movie. But they managed to do a pretty decent job with it.

Derleth 03-21-2017 05:22 PM

Something I think would be a good miniseries as opposed to a movie would be Wasp by Eric Frank Russell: It's an action-oriented story with a number of individual incidents connected by an over-arching plot.

TroutMan 03-21-2017 05:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Barkis is Willin' (Post 20083327)
Sorta kinda along those lines I would have thought Cloud Atlas would be utterly impossible to make into a movie. But they managed to do a pretty decent job with it.

On those lines, I think The Bone Clocks would be challenging but could make a great movie with the right writer and director.

Just Asking Questions 03-21-2017 05:29 PM

How about a decent version of I, Robot? It could be a miniseries - each story its own episode. It was practically written that way anyway.


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