Imagine Entertainment Looks to Bring '1984' Back to the Big Screen
You might know Shepard Fairey as the street artist responsible for the Barack Obama "Hope" poster, or maybe you know him from Banksy's fantastic 2010 documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. But might he soon be known as Shepard Fairey, film producer? Fairey has teamed with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment to snag the rights to George Orwell's dystopian classic 1984 with sights set on a new film adaptation. Orwell's 1948 novel follows a middle-class worker who hopes to rebel against against an oppressive and paranoid society perpetually in a state of war and controlled by the faceless Big Brother.
THR reminds us that 1984 has been adapted a few times before, most recently in the actual year 1984 in a version starring John Hurt and Richard Burton. But the problem with making a fresh adaptation of this story is that Orwell's novel has had such a profound impact on society, science fiction, and culture in general that - much like John Carter - it will seem derivative even though it brought up many of these ideas in the first place. V For Vendetta, for example, is heavily influenced by Orwell's work, and coincidentally also starred John Hurt. Even if the filmmakers added a heavily futuristic spin to this story, it might just appear like a rip-off of the Christian Bale action film Equilibrium. Writers are being sought for as we speak, but it's a tough prospect to bring such an influential classic to the big screen - just ask Andrew Stanton.
Reader Feedback - 17 Comments
Can't wait to hear what sort of supernatural element they will add in order to make this movie more contemporary for modern day audiences.
Michael Lee on Mar 22, 2012
Why "1984"? Why not change year? 1984 is passe'. Next year (assuming we'll survive!) "2012" will be passe' also. They should give it a modern twist and just call it "Big Brother"
Jedibilly on Mar 22, 2012
don't worry about 2012, with daylight savings being established before the calender the date i posted this is June 18 2013
Jericho on Mar 23, 2012
I don't see how they can improve on the first movie version. John Hurt, Richard Burton, You can't do better. Don't even try.
Cinemabandit on Mar 22, 2012
i agree that you probably can't improve on the Hurt / Burton version. if they *are* going to try, they have a tall order indeed. the content, language and themes of the novel are part of every day language, it has influenced so many facets of modern life - and so many other films; how do you avoid over-familiarity? like Shakespeare, if you're going to do 1984 again, you *have* to bring something new to the table. Fairey's stickers and street art have the right Big Brother tone, but would you give source material like this to an unproven talent? it could be utterly inspired, or utterly awful.
son_et_lumiere on Mar 22, 2012
We already live in 1984. CCTV on every corner. Advertising to help us consume, 'reality' tv to take the focus off reality itself. Perpetually in a state of war? Of course. 1984 was so powerful because it only turned up the contrast of what was actually happening at the time of it being written. Shep must have made some loot selling his images if he's producing movies, at least we know the posters will be good, because the propaganda artists that designed the posters he rips off were really good at their jobs.
Crapola on Mar 22, 2012
Agreed, Crapola...1984 arrived a little later, but here we are, living in it. The irony of it is....how many people today have actually _read_ the book? If this film were to come out now, how many would scream, "This is a rip-off of V FOR VENDETTA! (Hell, if critics can call JOHN CARTER a "rip-off of AVATAR, then anything is possible)" Curiously, have you heard about the novel 1Q84 by the Japanese novel Haruki Murakami? I have not read it yet, but from the reviews and notes about the book, it looks like Murakami's take on 1984....
Scopedog on Mar 23, 2012
It can still be called "1984". The whole idea behind the book was that their records of history had been changed so much and so often, that no one could be sure of anything anymore, including what year it was. Yes it's a stretch that people in the year 2055 or whatever would actually believe that it's the year 1984, but the point is that they don't really care. The background history would have to change somewhat, but not much - there could have been some kind of global atomic war to control dwindling natural resources (rather than the ideological one that would have been assumed by readers in the 50s). The idea of Atlantic, Russian and East Asian superstates remaining is still not that farfetched when you look at who the major players are in the world. As for making it stand out from other dystopian movies, they should maintain the retro 50s communist propaganda feel to it, and not try to make it futuristic. My main concern is that they might shy away from political themes and try to water down the ideas so that it doesn't offend anyone's political sensibilities. I'm a lefty myself, but the book is pretty clearly about the failure of socialism (or at least it's corruption - Orwell was a "democratic-socialist" after all). They shouldn't hide from that word or the consequences of it. Don't turn 1984 into "prolefeed".
Boiler Bro Joe on Mar 22, 2012
Pretty interesting suggestions. I remember the TIME issue from 1984 that discussed 1984. That was actually the first time I had ever heard of the book (then again, I was a kid back in '84, so....).
Scopedog on Mar 23, 2012
it was about the politics of fear. socialism had nothing to do with it.
Netherctc on Mar 25, 2012
How inappropriate that a liberal socialist would be behind a project with what should be a subjectively libertarian theme.
Blurb on Mar 22, 2012
dont see the point....its the world we live in today...its all over the news every single day and still no one really cares enough to do anything so what difference is making another movie about it going to make ??? just seems futile....the money could go to making another comic book adventure or a remake of some film that shouldnt really be remade...
thedalisamba on Mar 23, 2012
I think he might get a little blow back from doing this movie from the "Hope" crowd
Deadpool-003 on Mar 23, 2012
This whole concept is nullified by the fact that it is (with extreme irony) being produced by a Bernaysian socialist propagandist.
Alex on Mar 23, 2012
take what you think you know, now think the opposite. ok now you got it.
Netherctc on Mar 25, 2012
We already live in an Orwellian future.
Max Renn on Mar 24, 2012
turn it into a rock opera, I have the soundtrack ready to go!
pudbass on May 1, 2012
Sorry, no commenting is allowed at this time.