Thursday, June 14, 2007

Books that will never be made into movies

I was casting my mind back to some of the books I've read in the past and I was surprised about how many of them had been turned into movies. But there were a few titles which really stood out as unviable as cinematic projects, and I don't see them ever being made into feature films.

The short list:

Book: Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

Thumbnail Sketch of what it is about: Generally speaking, the main narrative darts all around the development and implementation of the V2 rocket during the Second World War but that is just the tip of the iceberg for a book that one member of the Pulitzer committee of 1974 could even get through.

Reasons why it will never be made: First of all, Joel Schumacher bought the rights to make this movie, but part of me thinks he hasn't really read it... because wow, the story is almost all digression, so pulling a cohesive story out of it all... I don't think he has the skills, and I think through the development process this will become more and more apparent. And I have a feeling that if Mr. Schumacher was pitching this story to execs at most of the major studios they'd reject him. (Full Disclosure: I read Gravity's Rainbow a few years ago, and I didn't really dig it, so I may have a bias).


Series: The Gap Series by Stephen R. Donaldson from the early 1990's

Thumbnail Sketch of what it is about: Inspired by the Ring Cycle by Wagner, this is a dark space opera on the grandest of scales. Mankind has colonized vast portions of the galaxy through the actions monopolistic mining corporation who also controls the police in deep space and uses the threat of genetic assimilation from an alien race called the Amnion to maintain its hold on power. But an incident at a deep space mining post involving a young female officer, and two opposing space pirates may change everything.

Reasons why it will never be made: The novella that sets the whole series up, The Real Story, is simply brutal in a way that is really not commercially viable, as the female protagonist is raped repeatedly by another major character, both of whom are important to the overall storyline. At the same time, the events in this book becomes central to everything that is to come later on. But because it isn't implicitly part of the Wagnerian saga, but merely a preamble to the events to come, it could be skipped and have some of its material integrated into the larger story arc later. But given the fact that after that novella, the other 4 novels average about 600 pages a piece and are technically far more demanding, the likelihood that a studio would be willing to outlay so much money on a series that frankly didn't have a large following seems really unlikely.


Book: The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

Thumbnail Sketch of what it is about: Two Anglo-Indian actors miraculously survive a bombing on a flight from India to England, and because of this experience, they each believe themselves to be an archangel and the devil respectively.

Reasons why it will never be made: Do I really need to explain this one? *cough*fatwa*cough*

I bet some of you out there have read some decent books that you think will never made into movies either, for better or worse, and I'm fascinated in what your thoughts on this subject are.


Diesel said...

I admire you for actually making it thru Gravity's Rainbow. I tried twice, and got about 80 pages in both times. That's a weird freaking book. And looooooooonnnnnnnngggggg.

MC said...

There is a specific scene that made me have to put it down during the middle of a reading session... I was just so grossed out.

Blue Sky said...

I have not read any of these books, now I am curious about them.

MC said...

I've heard the last one on my list isn't available in SG.

Julie Schuler said...

Foucault's Pendulum. I think it could probably be an excellent movie, but I can't think of an American director that has the chops for it.

MC said...

But there are still high quality European directors who would have the vision to film that ambitious novel, and the success of the novel of the da vinci code would allow the studios to sell the movie to fans of said book.

Becca said...

***reposting comment due to big typo, guess I shouldn't direct Gravity's Rainbow either***

Wait Joel "I don't seem to have the understanding of anything above the level of a 9 year old" Schumacher wanted to direct Gravity's Rainbow? Has no one in the world other than me seen 8mm? Dear god that's a terrible movie, worse than the rest of his terrible movies.

MC said...

I think Bad Company is worse.