Fox To 'Chronicle' Ray Bradbury's Mars?

U.S. Editor; Los Angeles, California (@benumstead)
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Fox To 'Chronicle' Ray Bradbury's Mars?
So Steven Seitchick over at the 24 Frames blog on the Los Angeles Times site is running an "exclusive" piece that states since AVATAR was so successful 20th Century Fox is wanting to head back to space, this time via Ray Bradbury's short-story-collection-thinly-veiled-as-a-novel THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES.

Producer, John Davis has just optioned the book rights, so this may not even happen... which also lends to ask the question why someone else didn't have the option for this, quite an obvious property if there ever was one.

Now Ray Bradbury to me is an out right god, the keeper of our collective imagination... he's been a massive influence on me, one of a handful of artists that have literally changed my life.

So you can imagine this news has me both very intrigued and quite concerned. On one hand it makes more sense to treat the stories in MARTIAN CHRONICLES as a television mini-series, although that has in fact been done, back in 1981 on NBC with Rock Hudson in the lead. I have not seen this version, but it seems to be generally deemed a failure.
Taking a couple of the stories or just the general concept of Earthlings colonizing Mars, and the ensuing conflict with the Martians could work and will probably be the route taken if this goes forward.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the stories are not science fiction per se, but more fantasy as Bradbury's Mars has an atmosphere. The stories aren't very conflict driven either, or at least in a very thrilling, action-packed way. They are thrilling to be sure... If anything the overall feeling of the book is that of an allegory of the Europeans colonizing Western America, wiping out the Native Americans (One allusion to this in the book has the Martians dying from chicken pox, a play on when thousands of Native Americans succumbed to small pox).

Fox at the helm has me the most concerned. It'd be easy for them to exploit the book's classic reputation and Bradbury's  legendary status for whatever they fancy. Outside of Searchlight, Fox's track record has been abysmal, and treatment of material and talent perhaps even worse. And then there is Davis, who was behind such productions as ALIEN VS. PREDATOR and I, ROBOT.

But what do you all think? Who might you like to see attached as a writer or director? Or do you even want this to happen?

There's no denying that Bradbury is quite the cinematic writer, and it baffles my mind why there haven't been more adaptations (more successful adaptations) of his work, which is so eclectic and vibrant and movie friendly, that once when Sam Peckinpah was in charge of a film version of Bradbury's SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, he was asked how he was going to adapt the book with the snarly reply, " We'll stuff the pages straight into the camera, of course!" Makes total sense to me. Even Ray himself, has seemed rather game for film versions of his stories.   
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Source: LA Times 24 Frames blog
BlakberiJune 25, 2010 9:30 AM

I love Ray Bradbury and everything he has produced. It shaped my childhood as I would literally hide from the sun and stay indoors just to read his books (along with Dick, Heinlein, Zelazny and Bob Shaw). I think I have seen everything that has been turned into film or TV program. I did catch the Martian Chronicles (the Silver Locusts) on TV - a disappointing yet still captivating series - and like most of what happened to Philip K. Dick's work, it doesn't always transfer to the visual medium although they all get points for trying ('Something Wicked This Way Comes' was as close as they got to getting it right, 'The Illustrated Man' - total let down).

I have yet to see the famed Fahrenheit 451, but I must see it before the 2012 version.

Man, I am getting all nostalgic for those amazing books I had to leave behind in England...

I for one would love to see this film/series get made right

ChevalierAguilaJune 27, 2010 4:04 AM

The book has a very specific atmosphere, they are going to turn into some random sci-fi actioner CGI crap-fest. Just as hollywood usually does.