FOUNDATION Heading To Big Screen

Posted on 29 July 2008 by Rich Drees

Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, the former New Line Cinema execs who approved the production of Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy, have signed on to produce a film adaptation of another classic genre trilogy- Issac Asimov’s Foundation.

Based loosely on Edward Gibbon’s History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy charted the fall of a great Galactic Empire and the group of academics who not only predicted its collapse, but who struggle to bring about the rise of a new galactic republic.

The project had recently been under development at 20th Century Fox, where producer Vince Gerardis had screenwriter Jeff Vintar condensing the three books down into one film.

Long held a classic of science-fiction literature, studios have been trying to turn the Foundation Trilogy into films for decades. I can remember reading an announcement back in the early 1980s.In 1998, while still at New Line, Shaye and Lynne spent $1.5 million on developing a screenplay before finally passing on the project in favor of making Lord Of The Rings.

But the series poses a number of obstacles outside of the huge special effects budget it would need. The three books cover a range of five centuries and are broken into smaller episodic sections with their own cast of characters. Such a structure was a strength when the BBC adapted the series in 1973 as an eight-part series of hour-long episodes.

Asimov’s other works have also been highly resistant to Hollywood adaptation. I noted in 200- that any resemblance between the Will Smith’s I, Robot and the collection of Asimov short stories it was allegedly based on was purely coincidental. Longtime friend of Asimov, Harlan Ellison has scripted a version of I, Robot back in the late 1970s that plays like a science-fiction version of Citizen Kane, but its cost was considered prohibitive.

Seeing as Ellison has been the only writer to have demonstrated an ability to understand and work with Asimov’s material, perhaps he should be the one approached to work on this.

6 Comments For This Post

  1. J Gibbon Says:

    In many cases, Hollywood has made grievous errors when interpreting and presenting a story of such magnitude. Viewers have often surveyed films as transparent as dollar store tissue paper; devoid of necessary themes and emotions which solidify a riveting story. Of course the films are quickly forgotten. Thankfully, Jackson made the films he wanted when adapting Tolkien’s LOTR trilogy.
    Well-cultured readers know both Gibbon and Asimov painstakingly toiled many years to create epic stories questioning cultural themes of barbarism and Christianity just as Tolkien had done.
    I agree, Ellison would be the right choice to handle such a mammoth, yet monumental adaptation. An established writer himself, Ellison proved his genius with his Hollywood work on The Outer Limits, Star Trek and Babylon 5. If Shaye and Michael Lynne want to do this properly, then asking Ellison to pen the script would be highly logical.

  2. Laura Woodswalker Says:

    The Foundation series would be a natural for the movies, for a generation raised on STAR WARS. I just hope they don’t try to condense it all into one movie. It would take at least 3!

  3. Katharyn Says:

    FINALLY !!!

    I can’t WAIT !!!!

    Asimov is my all-time favourite author !

    I wish someone would do Nightfall right……SERIOUSLY !

    But the Foundation series should be exciting….

  4. Brian Rudzevich Says:

    There’s no way this should be a single film. New Line NEEDS TO THINK BIG! It should at the very least rival Star Wars, which had 6 movies. THIS IS THE GREATEST WORK OF SCIENCE FICTION OF ALL TIME. Hell, I was going to write a screenplay myself and submit it to all and sundry just to get some movement on this. How can it be that it hasn’t been made yet??????

  5. Lypeshiese Says:

    Спасибо за статью. Восхищена как всегда

  6. Ray Says:

    O-M-F-G !

    Like Brian says : New Line NEEDS TO THINK BIG!

    I hope they wouldn’t destroy this monument!

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  1. Geek books that should (not) be movies already | Geekend | Says:

    […] Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov (Overall rank: #3) New Line Cinema is supposedly already producing this as a follow-up to their successful adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, so there may be hope. Then […]

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