Posted on Tuesday, August 11th, 2009 by Brendon Connelly
Previously adapted into a truly splendid feature by anime master Satoshi Kon, Yasutaka Tsutsui’s serialized novel Paprika seems set for the big screen again. This time round, we can expect a live action adaptation by Wolfgang Peterson, the perpetrator of Air Force One and Outbreak.
The novel’s story is a chase mystery revolving around a new technology that allows people to enter one another’s dreams, so there’s little wonder that Moviehole (via Firstshowing) invoke the director’s NeverEnding Story in their rumor-starting piece. What I don’t quite get is their assertion that this project would be Petersen “ostensibly out to court the youngsters again.” I guess they don’t really know the project at all. Is psychotherapy and psychosexual nightmare manipulation typically the stuff of kiddie fare? Kon’s film is definitely an adult picture.
Let’s not get tangled up in knots over Petersen but instead focus on the source material. There have been several iterations and, if they care to pay for the rights, the filmmakers will have a lot of material to draw upon. Not only is there the novel, first published in four installments in a magazine, there’s a mid-90s Manga adaptation, Kon’s film and then, most recently, a Manga adaptation of the film. Despite being very familiar with the movie, I don’t know the other Paprikas at all. For all I know, Kon may have taken great liberties and wound up with something very different, perhaps more personal.
There’s a lot of scope for this kind of story, giving the audience a view at fantasy sequences set within dreams and imagination (see The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus for this year’s shining example). There’s also a lot of scope for such films to become expensive and unwieldy, particularly within the studio system. One of Peterson’s key jobs here will be to keep everything streamlined and manageable.
I personally hope Peterson brings his Troy collaborator Roger Pratt along to shoot the film. Pratt’s experience is bang on the nail for this one.