Posted on Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 by Russ Fischer
I’m crediting — or blaming — The Hunger Games for this one. Gary Ross’ film adaptation of the Suzanne Collins best-seller has undeniable reflections of George Orwell‘s nightmarish vision of totalitarian information control and thought suppression, and now, just hours before that film is released to the public, we have news of a new film version of his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, often simply called 1984.
There aren’t many details at this point, but Imagine Entertainment, the company run by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, has joined forces with LBI Entertainment to develop a new version of 1984. THR has the announcement, but that’s about it. I hope no one needs a recap of what 1984 is about, but just in case:
The novel is set in an imaginary future world that is dominated by three perpetually warring totalitarian police states. The book’s hero, Winston Smith, is a minor party functionary in one of these states. His longing for truth and decency leads him to secretly rebel against the government. Smith has a love affair with a like-minded woman, but they are both arrested by the Thought Police. The ensuing imprisonment, torture, and reeducation of Smith are intended not merely to break him physically or make him submit but to root out his independent mental existence and his spiritual dignity.
We don’t know what might be done to the story — the book seemed like a bleak vision of the future when first published, and caused legitimate anxiety in the public as the titular date approached. And now, almost thirty years later, so many small aspects of Orwell’s vision have come to pass, albeit not quite as he predicted.
(We’re so far into a post-Orwellian future at this point that his signature construct of fear and control — Big Brother — is better known as the name of a goddamned reality TV show. We assimilate and normalize the things we fear.)
Maybe whatever studio ends up aligning with Imagine on this one can figure out a way to put werewolves or vampires or something similarly stupid into the tale. One interesting point is that artist Shepard Fairey could end up being a producer on the film — can we assume that the propaganda graphics in the resulting movie might bear his imprint? That would represent a certain circular influence, if so, given that Fairey’s own art is heavily influenced by ideas born of Orwell.
1984 last hit film in the year of its title, written and directed by Michael Radford and starring John Hurt, Richard Burton, and Suzanna Hamilton, with a score by the Eurythmics.
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