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03 August 2010 @ 02:36 pm
The Forever War screenplay  
[Somebody wrote into sff.net offering to write a screenplay for THE FOREVER WAR. . . ]

860, Tue 03 Aug 2010 01:29:43p

Andrew, anybody can write a script for any book, especially THE FOREVER WAR,
but it might not be a productive use of one's time. Scott has a script; last
I heard, it was the fourth rewrite. I've talked to the writer -- he has good
credits, like "Unforgiven."

I'm not among the people who assume that the novel will be desecrated by the
movie. It will be interesting to see somebody else's take on it.

Incidentally, I wasn't asked to submit a screenplay, though I've been a member
of the Writers Guild for almost thirty years and have solid production credits.
No surprise. They don't want the book's author saying "Hold it! I wrote the
book, and that's not the way it goes."
his wholiness the rev drjon: Skrabbyledrjon on August 3rd, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)
Hee. Gotta be one of the best answers to that question I've ever seen.
also_hueyalso_huey on August 4th, 2010 01:36 am (UTC)

I've had a rough day at work, I came home to a neighbor cutting down trees into my yard, and I've had quite a bit to drink. Normally, any two of these things would convince me that it's not a great idea to try to be intelligent in public, but this pretty much commanded a response:

I'm not among the people who assume that the novel will be desecrated by the movie.

You probably don't remember me, and I can only assume that the only reason we've spoken in the past is that you had a grad student trolling usenet for mentions of your name, but we had a pleasant (if somewhat fanboyish on my part) exchange of emails following a usenet comment I made about Veerhoven's complete desecration of "Starship Troopers", but suffice it to say that he took that movie in a direction that I found completely objectionable. And being someone who enjoyed "Forever War" perhaps more than I enjoyed "Starship Troopers", I have to say that I lack your confidence.

I'm a software designer by trade, and the most important thing in my business is to understand "What is the point of this? What is this supposed to do?". And I think that's applicable here: there is a point to "Forever War", and someone who fundamentally disagrees with you on what that point is, I think, will be likely to produce a screenplay that will not only not look favorably upon the book, but may in fact run completely counter to it -- in short: something that people who love the book will hate, and something that people who love the screenplay will come to the book and think "this is all wrong".

I'd love to see a "Forever War" movie, perhaps more so than my third favorite book in that genre, John Steakley's "Armor", but if and only if I don't walk out of the theater afterward muttering about how the spirit of the story was not essentially killed by the movie's "artistic vision".

At one of Orson Scott Card's book-signings, I asked him "What guarantee do you have that a movie adaptation of "Ender's Game" won't wind up getting the 'Starship Troopers' treatment?", and his answer was this: "Essentially none. The writer in cases like this has essentially no power." If that's the case, and I have no reason to doubt him here, I can only promise that, as someone who loved a particular piece of art, I will spend no money to see a horrible adaptation of it.

This is why I've never seen the Robert Downey Jr "Singing Detective", and I don't think I ever will. The original Michael Gambon version? Brilliant. One of my favorite movies of all time. How could a quarter-length made-for-Americans adaptation possibly be anything but a letdown?
(Anonymous) on August 16th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC)
yes Huey
Just ask Ursula LeGuin about what SyFy did to her Earthsea trilogy. I know that was tv, but still. I was so pissed after trying to watch the first installment.

et in Arcadia egobooapostle_of_eris on August 4th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC)
“Unforgiven” was stunning. I'm old school enough to still insist that tv is not movies. (reconfirmed by seeing 8½ a couple days ago in a movie theater!) Some movies are ok in disc, but “Unforgiven” is at the opposite end of the scale.
When the book is written on Clint Eastwood's career, it's going to be really something.
joe_haldeman: pic#101547315joe_haldeman on August 5th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
The Forever War screenplay
Oops ... hold it . . . Gay points out that I made a mistake . . . the _last_ time The Forever War was sold to the movies, the screenwriter was the guy who did _Tombstone_. But not this time. I don't know anything about the identity of this writer, only that it has supposedly gone through four drafts.

(Anonymous) on August 6th, 2010 12:56 am (UTC)
Re: The Forever War screenplay
According to IMDB, David Peoples did indeed write "Unforgiven," as well as "Blade Runner" and "Ladyhawke" among other films. -- Les Roth
qdemn7 on August 5th, 2010 08:01 pm (UTC)
The Forever War screenplay
Well, given the general Progressive viewpoint in Hollywood, and given the anti-war nature of The Forever War, I would hope they wouldn't screw it up as badly as was done with Starship Troopers. Frankly, I never understood why Verhoeven decided to adapt that book as a film.

However, having said that, if there is no use of Fighting Suits in The Forever War film, I won't go see it. I want to see some frigging Powered Armor in a live action film, not just in anime.
(Anonymous) on August 5th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC)
Fingers Crossed ...
The Forever War is on my "10 Best Books I've Ever Read" list, so I really hope they get it right. Having Ridley Scott and David Peoples on the team certainly is a good start.
(Anonymous) on August 6th, 2010 03:25 pm (UTC)
I just picked up a copy of "The Forever War" just yesterday at Borders. I have not started reading it yet but from all the good things I've been hearing about it and loving Science Fiction/Military genre I am sure it will be great. Thanks for the book Mr. Haldeman, and thank you for your service. My brother was an 11B in the Army, and was blinded by an EFP while serving in Iraq 2008. I hope the best for all wounded veterans, and a wonderful life ahead of them.

kastaspellakastaspella on August 11th, 2010 10:21 am (UTC)
Please get involved Joe!
I have seen a number of movies in last few years where the writer took a back seat on the film production, "Percy Jackson and the lightning thief" comes immediately to mind. What a balls-up! Nothing was right, from actors to screen-play.

Please don't let them kill the forever war!

Let them start with something like "A !Tangled Web", and see how they go with that first.

joe_haldemanjoe_haldeman on August 11th, 2010 11:25 am (UTC)
Re: Please get involved Joe!
James, I'm afraid that would be like a flea telling the elephant which way to turn. At best, he might get slapped.

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ван дер Бомберgans_gunner on February 1st, 2011 04:50 pm (UTC)
wery interesting. Users opinions gone as ships that pass in the night.
In Russia, same years ago was created a film by one of famoses SF book from soviet-time autors Strugatskie brothers name "inhabited island"


and a film is biiig differ than book. Shure, paper wersion is better than movie. Reaaly like film and book by "starship troopers".