Warner Bros. Adapting Post-Apocalyptic Novel 'The Drowned World'

February 28, 2013
Source: Deadline

The Drowned World

An interesting adaptation to cover, with some early development news. Deadline is reporting that Warner Bros is optioning rights to develop an adaptation of The Drowned World, written by J.G. Ballard in 1952, with Jeffrey Clifford and David Heyman of Heyday Films (Harry Potter franchise, I Am Legend, Gravity) producing. It's an interesting story because it's set in a time, about 132 years in the future, in which global warming has melted the ice caps causing most of places as we know it to be flooded. Except for our main character, a biologist living on the 35th floor of a high-rise, only two floors above the water line. Sounds fun.

For those unfamiliar with the 1952, which just got a 50th anniversary re-print, here's the intro via Amazon:

The Drowned World imagines a terrifying world in which global warming has melted the ice caps and primordial jungles have overrun a tropical London. Set during the year 2145, this novel follows biologist Dr. Robert Kearns and his team of scientists as they confront a cityscape in which nature is on the rampage and giant lizards, dragonflies, and insects fiercely compete for domination. Both an unmatched biological mystery and a brilliant retelling of Heart of Darkness—complete with a mad white hunter and his hordes of native soldiers—this "powerful and beautifully clear" (Brian Aldiss) work becomes a thrilling adventure with "an oppressive power reminiscent of Conrad" (Kingsley Amis).

The update states that Warner Bros is only securing a deal, but no writer has been selected as of yet. We'll have to keep watch as it develops at the studio. With so many interesting Earth-based sci-fi projects like After Earth and Warner Bros own Mad Max: Fury Road in the works coming up, this sounds like another great post-apocalyptic sci-fi follow-up. As long as it doesn't end up turning out like Waterworld (because it certainly has that potential with the way it sounds) I think we'll be in for seeing something really cool in a few years. Now it's a matter of finding the right screenwriter and right director to bring this sci-fi story to life. Could it be made on a small budget? Or will they go all out on a Harry Potter scale? I'm curious to see.

The Drowned World illustration at the top made by "indojo" from deviantArt.

Find more posts: Development, Movie News, Sci-Fi



nothing wrong with Waterworld.

Maverick Pete on Feb 28, 2013


I agree, I liked Waterworld.

JBrotsis on Feb 28, 2013


Exactly! Whilst it may have been hated on at the time I think it has become somewhat of a cult classic. The kids who loved it have now grown up an still enjoy it

Andrew Neil Hooper on Feb 28, 2013


If they do end up making it...I hope there are crocodiles in the floodplains like there is in that picture.

JBrotsis on Feb 28, 2013


Sounds cool. Hope they can do a great job adapting like previous Ballard works such as EMPIRE OF THE SUN and CRASH.

Scopedog on Feb 28, 2013


I think a world overrun by water is a fascinating premise and I'm mad that studios shy away from it for the sole reason that Waterworld was a flop. I'm optimistic that it could still be entertaining if handled correctly.

Matt Peloquin on Feb 28, 2013


I agree, but I dont think the water covered world part was what caused it to be a flop

Tester on Feb 28, 2013


Exactly, and that's why I get so mad when studios treat the IDEA like it has cooties rather than the film itself.

Matt Peloquin on Feb 28, 2013


I concur, the premise has great potential if handled correctly.. Of course that could be said of a great deal of premises

Tester on Feb 28, 2013


This is not a sequel, prequel, reboot, reinvention ?? I'm in !!

Tester on Feb 28, 2013


Surely there can be no film as great as Lost City Raiders? I liked Waterworld, I also like the idea of underwatery worldness.

Carpola on Feb 28, 2013


Why don't they just go ahead and call it "Waterworld: But Good This Time, We Promise"

reeft on Feb 28, 2013

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