Sci-fi is back, baby! At least, that’s what the Hollywood pundits are saying. A slew of recent SF-related movie announcements has people proclaiming Avatar as the saviour of the genre, but I’m not so sure. There were a number of classic sci-fi novels being optioned way before James Cameron’s behemoth was released including Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War, not to mention William Gibson’s Neuromancer. Now we’ve got another seminal sci-fi work to add to the pile of adaptations in development: Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles.
According to 24 Frames, producer John Davis (Predator, Waterworld, I, Robot) has optioned the rights to Bradbury’s 1950 book with the intention of setting it up at Fox. The stories recount a series of human expeditions to Mars where they encounter local inhabitants with telepathic powers and attempt to colonize the planet.
The Martian Chronicles was previously turned into a TV mini-series starring Rock Hudson back in 1980 (which Bradbury himself called “boring”), but it has never been made into a feature film. If I were to point to another film that might have inspired this project, it would probably be Disney’s John Carter of Mars, not Avatar. Of course, 3-D in general has made a lot of fantastical stuff financially viable again, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what Davis has in mind. A writer and director have yet to be determined, but who would you like to see behind the camera on this one? Duncan Jones, perhaps?