Posted on Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 by Brendon Connelly
Fox have option the non-fiction book The World Without Us, with the view that it will become a fictionalised, sci-fi tentpole movie. According to The Hollywood Reporter they have Mark Protosevich attached to write, and Francis Lawrence to eventually direct the film.
Alan Weisman‘s original book was Time Magazine’s number-one non fiction pick for 2007, and we all know what perfect taste they have in making such lists. It deals with a simple but profound feat of imagination, exploring how Earth would “respond without the relentless pressure of human presence”. Weisman even went so far as to label Chapter 9, Polymers Are Forever, with a Read this Chapter! tag, so important are its lessons.
So… how would Protosevich and Lawrence go about churning hundreds of millions of dollars of popcorn out of an ecological hypothesis?
From what I read in The Hollywood Reporter, they dont’t really intend to. Well, not quite.
…a fictional feature buttressed by the book’s science. It would, for example, show an event that would lead to man’s disappearance.
So, the book would form some kind of de facto sequel to another end of the world misadventure? Seems like a little bit of a lost opportunity, I’m afraid.
I know that a film without any human(oid) characters, and therefore very little perceivable narrative, would be a truly hard sell – not to mention a nightmare to conceive and execute – but I would hope some element of the book is left intact. If all we get is cross-cutting between a human less world, like some kind of bot-less Wall-E, and the all-too human idiocy that brought it about, then that’s definitely better than just two hours of the human idiocy. The opening section of Twelve Monkeys also offers hints of how this might go, but I don’t think we really want Lawrence attempting another last-man scenario.
This sounds like a genuine storytelling challenge that, providing Protosevich actually tries to take it on head first, could turn out to be a film to get excited about.