Ridley Scott is moving forward on developing Brave New World for Universal Pictures. The book functions almost as a philosophical counterpoint to Orwell’s roughly contemporaneous 1984, presenting a dystopia not of oppression but of mediocrity. Neil Postman famously summed up the two:
“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture.”
There’s almost no information yet on the project since it’s sort of in that hypothetical mode where somebody with pull really wants to do it, but the pieces of the puzzle are still coming together and will probably get thrown in a blender a few times before someone assembles them into a mangled approximation of the picture on the box. Leonardo DiCaprio is linked to it, and might end up starring in it. Oh, and Scott managed to snag the screenwriter from Apocalypto to write a script. I know that’s the guy I’d get on the phone if I got the rights to a film I’d wanted to make for the last two decades.
It sounds like an almost unnecessary project. While 1984 and Brave New World are twin pillars of dystopian thinking, we’ve also had 50 years of films and novels exploring the concept. Is there really much of a chance that this film is going to do something that 20 other films haven’t already done, even if they were cribbing off of the novel Brave New World in the first place?
Check out this headline on SciFi Wire: “Fox executives: We’ll leave Dollhouse alone this time.” Heh heh. Oh Joss, if your wife nails the mail man, the UPS guy, and the FedEx guy, are you really going to be surprised when you come home early and find a DHL delivery van rocking back and forth in your driveway?
NBC President of Prime Time Entertainment Angela Bromstad said “Day One” (scheduled for 2010) is about an alien invasion. She also said that they don’t know if it will come back for a second season, because genre shows always suck after the first season (I’m loosely paraphrasing here). She also said about genre shows in general that “Before ‘Lost’ came on, there wasn’t really that much out there before ‘Lost’ and ‘Heroes.’ Now we’ve got ‘Lost,’ ‘Heroes,’ ‘FlashForward,’ ‘V,’ in addition to great stuff on Syfy. It’s just a really fertile, rich area to channel right now.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m sure glad that “Lost” and “Heroes” invented genre television. Just to be really thorough instead of settling for eye rolling, let’s look at the 2003-2004 network television schedule (“Lost” debuted in the 2004-2005 season). Just on the major networks, we’ve got: “Smallville,” “Charmed,” “Alias,” “Star Trek: Enterprise,” “Angel,” “Jake 2.0,” “Tru Calling,” “Kingdom Hospital,” “Wonderfalls,” and “Joan of Arcadia.” That’s not even getting into the existence of an entire SciFi Channel at the time, which you know, is owned by NBC. I’m going to go invent science fiction novels. It’s gonna be huge.