Posted on Monday, July 20th, 2009 by Russ Fischer
The original five-season show The Twilight Zone (’59-’64) has been reborn in multiple incarnations: two additional television series, in 1985 and 2002, multiple book anthologies and comic books, and a disastrous movie released in 1983. (Not to mention a pretty amazing pinball machine, which is where the article’s image originated.) Now, according to Variety, Leonardo DiCaprio’s company Appian Way is moving forward with a new Twilight Zone film, and has just hired a writer: Rand Ravich, writer/director of The Astronaut’s Wife, producer of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. What shape will his version of the series take?
The original series, created, hosted and often written by Rod Serling, featured a mixture of original screenplays and stories adapted from authors like Richard Matheson, who also wrote many of the show’s scripts. Remakes of episodes from the original series have dominated the brand since. The two televised revivals featured both new stories and remakes of classic episodes, and the 1983 feature had four stories, three of which were remakes of original episodes. So it’s easy to assumed that Rand Ravich will go back to Rod Serling’s well for some of his material. At this point, differentiating the name The Twilight Zone from Serling’s influence and those original stories is almost impossible (And foolish — Serling was the show’s identity). Indeed, when so many other forms of sci-fi and unusual television storytelling have taken the series’ ideas much further, returning to The Twilight Zone seems almost quaint.
That’s leaving out the fact that the last time a Twilight Zone movie came to screens, things didn’t work out so well. Three actors – Vic Morrow and two illegally-hired children – were killed when a setpiece involving a helicopter went horribly wrong on the set of the segment directed by John Landis. That makes an adaptation of the television series a loaded prospect, as an accident like that isn’t something Hollywood ever forgets.
Watch some of the classic episodes from original seasons one, two and three at the CBS website.