Posted on Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
Author Joe Haldeman has revealed on his live journal page that Blade Runner scribe David Peoples has already turned in a fourth draft of Ridley Scott‘s big screen adaptation of Haldeman’s 1974 novel The Forever War.
Here is what Haldeman wrote on his website:
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.”
Peoples screenwriting credits also include Unforgiven, Hero, Twelve Monkeys, and Soldier. Thanks to /Film reader John S for the tip.
In 2008, we reported that Fox 2000 has acquired the rights to the 1975 Nebula Award and the 1976 Hugo Award winning novel. The book tells the story of an interstellar war between humanity and the mysterious Tauran species, and deals with themes of the inhumanity of war and the results of time dilation space travel. The novel is also widely perceived to be based on the author’s military service during the Vietnam War. The plot description from the books cover follows:
“Private William Mandella is a hero in spite of himself — a reluctant conscript drafted into an elite military unit, and propelled through space and time to fight in a distant thousand-year conflict. He never wanted to go to war, but the leaders on Earth have drawn a line in the interstellar sand — despite the fact that their fierce alien enemy is unknowable, unconquerable, and very far away. So Mandella will perform his duties without rancor and even rise up through the military’s ranks . . . if he survives. But the true test of his mettle will come when he returns to Earth. Because of the time dilation caused by space travel the loyal soldier is aging months, while his home planet is aging centuries — and the difference will prove the saying: you never can go home. . .”
The war lasts about seven centuries while he only ages about 10 years. So imagine Flight of the Navigator to the 70th degree. The novel spawned two and a half sequels, Forever Free, Forever Peace and the novella A Seperate War (which is set parallel to Forever War). It is not known if Scott has intentions of creating a franchise, I would guess probably not.
It is also unclear when Scott will find time to tackle Forever War. I would assume that Scott will get Nottingham into production before a screenplay is completed. The concept of the book feels like a ig idea sci-fi film that would have been produced in the 1970′s. According to Variety, Scott has wanted to direct a big screen adaptation of Forever War for the last 25 years, but complications with rights holders delayed that from happening until now.
“I first pursued ‘Forever War’ 25 years ago, and the book has only grown more timely and relevant since,” Scott told the trade. “It’s a science-fiction epic, a bit of ‘The Odyssey’ by way of ‘Blade Runner,’ built upon a brilliant, disorienting premise.”
Scott has also stated that he has been impressed with James Cameron’s Avatar, and plans to shoot Forever War using the same 3D technology.