News came out recently saying that Michel Gondry is going to adapt and direct a film version of Philip K. Dick’s classic sci-fi novel “Ubik”. Personally, being a great fan of P. K. Dick’s work, this is a project that I’ve been waiting to see for a long time, but is Michel Gondry the right man for the job? I always thought that someone like Terry Gilliam would be the best choice for the task (you wish…). What are your thoughts and expectations about this matter?
Didn’t Philip K. Dick write his own screenplay based on UBIK? Or am I thinking of VALIS?
Either way, Gondry’s take on PKD is one I’d be interested in seeing.
Yes, Dick wrote a screenplay based on his own novel. From what I know it was published some years ago as “Ubik – A screenplay”.
Yeah, Gilliam is probably the best living filmmaker to make Ubik (or VALIS for that matter – actually I’m more a fan of VALIS than Ubik but any Philip is good Philip [for Philip’s sake!]), but Gondry? Er, possibly. I’m always hopeful that a so-so director will make a breakthrough even if unlikely. Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is really his only film that I’d consider good. Not a fan of The Science of Sleep (It annoyed me like Juno annoyed most people here, ha) nor Be Kind Rewind and The Green Hornet?
So, long story short: I’m not too enthused about him attempting a Dickian tale.
Deckard, yeah, I see what you mean. I’d hope Gondry’d preserve Dick’s chill edge, maybe he’s going for a change of pace. Not sure about Gilliam, I have to say.
We’ll see, of course. I just hope Keanu Reeves isn’t involved.
Let us also hope they don’t give Christopher Nolan a second chance…!
I can’t imagine that Nolan would be interested in Philip K. Dick. Dick’s works are far too interesting, funny, and entertaining for Nolan, the High Priest of Phony Solemnity, to deign to take notice of.
Good news. Hope the film is at least half as good as the book.
My fear is that Gondry (like any other director bringing a PKD novel to the screen) is going to over-simplify and leave out either the dark comedic tone of “Ubik” or the frightening reality bending that characterizes it so well. The secret is in the balance between the two vectors. To take that into a film demands great talent, but also a profound comprehension of what makes PKD special as an author.
Carlos, your fears are well-founded, I’d say. We’ll see what happens.
As Carlos said, Dick did his own UBIK adaptation. You can find used copies on Amazon still.
Gondry makes total sense to me…ETERNAL SUNSHINE is very Dicked out, though I’m sure a lot of that can be attributed to Kaufman. Gilliam makes plenty of sense too, what with BRAZIL and TWELVE MONKEYS….also think FEAR AND LOATHING pegs him as a fine candidate for the big, messy, unauthorized-autobiography tone of VALIS (the screenwriter for FEAR AND LOATHING was actually working on the Paul Giamatti/Dick project that appears to have gone nowhere). Kaufman could do a good adaptation too, I’m sure. He’s obviously indebted and would take the material to heart.
Edit: or Cronenberg circa 1983. Down and dirty. Deadpan humorous. Low budget sci fi. VIDEODROME is basically still my favorite Philip K. Dick adaptation, and it’s not even one (Cronenberg wouldn’t read Dick till after the mid-80s).
I can’t imagine that Nolan would be interested in Philip K. Dick. Dick’s works are far too interesting, funny, and entertaining for Nolan, the High Priest of Phony Solemnity, to deign to take notice of.****
Amen. Why so serious, Nolan?
That past version of David Cronenberg would be great for the job (I sure miss him). Nolan has shown that he can deal with the shifting realities theme, but he seems to lack the ability to extract a single smile from his audience That’s not necessarily a bad thing for certain films but, for instance, “Inception” was too stiff for its own good (dreams aren’t the made of precise, mathematic architect fodder, they are dynamic, chaotic and unexpected). I guess he’s so eager to retain control over the material, that he forgets (or simply doesn’t know how to) bringing the fluidity and impact that laughs, mad of happy, offer.
PRAY it’s better than THE GREEN HORNET…
To be fair to Nolan and INCEPTION, he makes it clear that the dreams in the film were specifically designed to be precise and mathematical so that the characters could get their jobs done with a minimum of bother from eruptions of dynamic chaotic stuff. I can’t disagree, though, that in so doing Nolan makes the whole dreamscape idea rather moot.
What ultimately annoyed me was the already noted utter lifelessness and joylessness and humorlessness of the film, and whatever one may say about Philip K. Dick, he’s never lifeless, joyless or humorless.
I suppose it has a better chance with Gondry than with most others, but only if he gets a good screenwriter, and if the producers understand the material enough to let it be.
I agree with Carlos – I’m afraid that Gondry, Gilliam, or pretty much anybody will emphasize the quirky wackiness of the characters but forget the… darkness that permeates it all.
I would like to see a movie of Martian Time Slip, though.
Just read CRAP ARTIST last week and thought it was great. I’d love to see someone tackle his less sci-fi stuff.
I’m cautiously optimistic about this. Too many of PKD’s works get adapted into sterile, serious sci-fi thrillers. This has the potential to maintain his humor and quirkiness, and Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep had some moments of real existential darkness.
Anyone see RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH?
Dick had an idea for the film which involved ‘the film itself appearing to undergo a series of reversions: to black-and-white, then to the awkward jerkiness of very early movies, then to a crookedly jammed frame which proceeds to blacken, bubble and melt away, leaving only the white glare of the projection bulb, which in turn deteriorates to leave the theater in darkness, and might almost leave the moviegoer wondering what sort of dilapidated, antique jalopy he’ll find his car-keys fitting when he goes outside.’
Forget Gondry, let’s have Verhoeven do another PKD adaptation :)
hmmm… I meant to ask if anybody knew if Gondry had any intention of following Dick’s screenplay… not sure why that didn’t get posted.
@ Ben : Confessions of a Crap Artist has been adapted by Jérôme Boivin and Jacques Audiard ‘Confessions d’un Barjo’
PKD did write his own screenplay and Jean-Pierre Gorin (who worked with Godard for a while) was going to adapt it.
Terry Gilliam has said numerous times that he’s a big fan of Dick’s work and if I recall correctly, was planning on adapting “The World Jones Made”. Besides, PKD’s influence on Gilliam is perceptible in most of his films.
As far as I’m concerned, I think Linklater would be the best person to adapt a PKD novel.
I just heard about this a week ago, can’t believe it
I’ll believe it when it actually begins shooting.
Gondry? Oh no,Mr Bill!!!!!!!!!
Nolan’s two great films were Following and Memento. The Dark Knight and Inception were good but they don’t compare to Following and Memento. Insomnia was good too.
The only Gondry movies I’ve seen are The Science of Sleep and Be Kind Rewind. I love The Science of Sleep and Be Kind Rewind was pretty good. I guess I can keep an eye on this one.
Think this could be great if Gondry did it all from an absurdist first person perspective like the few POV moments in MALKOVICH (Jonze would be a good candidate too), jumping around between different characters, always inside someone’s head. (edit: I think I’m also thinking of some moments in SCIENCE OF SLEEP with this effect).