When we last talked to Chuck Palahniuk at Sundance, he told us that a big screen adaptation of Lullaby was set up with a Swedish director he met named Rolf Johansson, who had one more year to get the film into production. Now according to our friends at Film School Rejects who recently spoke to Chuck, Johansson has since secured funding and is currently in the casting stage.
Not much else is known at this time. I’m assuming that the film will be another low budget production like Choke. Actually, I’m not even sure if this Rolf Johansson guy exists. I can’t seem to find any information about the guy outside of the few times Chuck has dropped his name in interviews. Does anyone have any concrete information on this director or the development of this project? Please email us.
At one point Fight Club director David Fincher admitted to MTV that he was “pretty interested in Lullaby” but that it would have to “be dumbed down a bit to work as a movie.” Haven’t read Lullaby? Here is the official plot description:
“Ever heard of a culling song? It’s a lullaby sung in Africa to give a painless death to the old or infirm. The lyrics of a culling song kill, whether spoken or even just thought. You can find one on page 27 of Poems and Rhymes from Around the World, an anthology that is sitting on the shelves of libraries across the country, waiting to be picked up by unsuspecting readers.
Reporter Carl Streator discovers the song’s lethal nature while researching Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and before he knows it, he’s reciting the poem to anyone who bothers him. As the body count rises, Streator glimpses the potential catastrophe if someone truly malicious finds out about the song. The only answer is to find and destroy every copy of the book in the country. Accompanied by a shady real-estate agent, her Wiccan assistant, and the assistant’s truly annoying ecoterrorist boyfriend, Streator begins a desperate cross-country quest to put the culling song to rest.
On one level, Lullaby is a chillingly pertinent parable about the dangers of psychic infection and control in an era of wildly overproliferated information: “Imagine a plague you catch through your ears… imagine an idea that occupies your mind like a city.” But it is also a tightly wound thriller with an intriguing premise and a suspenseful plot full of surprising twists and turns. Finally, because it is a Chuck Palahniuk novel, it is a blackly comic tour de force that reinforces his stature as our funniest nihilist and a contemporary seer.”
I’m really hoping for a Survivor movie, but for now I’d be more than willing to settle for Lullaby.
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As you probably know, I’m a huge fan of Chuck Palahniuk, best known as the author of Fight Club. I’ve attended, god knows how many of his public events over the years, and got the chance to sit down with Palahniuk in Park City Utah at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival to talk about the big screen adaptation of his novel Choke. The photo above was taken at the Choke premiere, the night before this interview. Palahniuk leaned his head across mine right before the flash. “Congratulations, now you have syphilis.” he added. Fans of the author will surely recognize his patented sense of humor.
Palahniuk chats with me about the big screen adaptation of Choke, Heath Ledger – who had died hours earlier and had been at one time attached to the project, the progress of future big screen adaptions including Survivor, Invisible Monsters, Diary and Lullaby, some of the stuff he loved from the film, an idea he wish they had used, and his upcoming book Snuff. Enjoy!
Peter Sciretta: I loved the movie, could you talk a little bit about the process of getting it made. I know it was a really long strugle.
Chuck Palahniuk: Yeah. They had the option for a long time. I talked to Gregg Clark on and off about what he might put into the screenplay, what he might cut. And having a screenplay is like having another draft. So all the sort of spirit of the stairway things that you wanted to put in, but you didn’t think of them until a month after the manuscript went to press…
Peter: Well you said that about the ending of Fight Club, didn’t you?
Palahniuk: You know, I had the back and fourth but the ending was entirely David’s. But I knew that David had to bring up the romance at the end so I could understand why he did. In the same way I can remember why Clark left the stone house stoning scene out. Because there is only so much that can go in a movie before it becomes overload.
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David Fincher sat down with MTV, and boy did he blab about a bunch of potential upcoming projects. First up he confirmed rumors that he wants to bring Fight Club to Broadway in 2009!?
“One of the things I want at the 10-year anniversary is to do “Fight Club” as a musical on Broadway. I love the idea of that.”
Fight Club is one of my favorite films of all time, although I’m not so sure about a musical adaptation. In 2004, author Chuck Palahuik was telling fans that Trent Reznor was writing the soundtrack. I wonder if that is still the case. Fincher says he’d love to work with Palahnuik again, and has been considering brining Lullaby to the big screen.
“I was pretty interested in Lullaby. It almost has to be dumbed down a bit for it to work as a movie. I always love his writing. It cracks me up.”
And with 3D being all the rage now-a-days, even Fincher has caught the fever:
“I’m in talks right now to do a series of CG-animated 3-D films for [fantasy comics magazine] Heavy Metal.”
Fincher has also been trying to get Rendezvous With Rama off the ground for some time now. Arthur C. Clarke’s 1972 novel is set in the 22nd century, a group of human explorers, who intercept a thirty-mile-long cylindrical alien starship that passes through Earth’s solar system, and attempt to unlock its mysteries. The Zodiac director says he’s waiting on a script.
“When they’re happy with it, they’ll send it to me. It’s a project I’ve always loved. It’s probably technologically within striking distance right now. That was always the thing: You couldn’t afford to build these things as sets. It’s just too huge.”
Fincher says they would probably shoot the sequences involving the humans on board the alien ship using motion-capture.
“There’s probably a week or two onboard the ship that you’d have to do the weightlessness and the landing before they get to Rama. We’d probably do it with some kind of performance-capture.”
This project still appears to be a few years off.
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