It is an iron law of the universe that every story could be improved by being set in space. Even the Justin Bieber movie would be tolerable, because in space no one can hear him sing. This law becomes even more powerful with classic stories, if only because their authors could not have foreseen the power of the space setting in their own time. So it is with gleeful pleasure that I tell you that we are getting Moby Dick … IN SPACE!. Oh, they’re not actually calling the project that, but that’s how they’re selling it to us, it’s their short hand description.
Lynne Ramsay, director of Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar, and We Need to Talk About Kevin is tackling the project next. So she’s got some cred with dark and depressing stories, if not science fiction in particular. Here’s what she says about the project:
This is really the first time I’ve spoken about, it’s been very under wraps. It’s more or less inspired by ‘Moby Dick,’ which is a fantastic novel, an American classic, but funnily enough a lot of people haven’t read it. So I’m working on something loosely based on that. And it’s science-fiction, so we’re taking the premise into the galaxy. So we’re creating a whole new world, and a new alien. A very psychological piece, mainly taking place in the ship, a bit like ‘Das Boot,’ so it’s quite claustrophobic.
Well I think the part of the book that undoes most people is the endless pages of detailed description of this part or another of the whaling boat. But being rather taken with science fiction, I would find endless pages of technical description about the workings of a spaceship to be fascinating. So in terms of film, this is going to need to be a documentary to really get it right.
No word yet on which role will be played by Patrick Stewart, or whether Starbuck will be a man or a woman.