Yes, JMS, the same guy who did Babylon 5, easily one of the greatest SciFi shows out there, is turning his attention to one of my favorite films of all time, and working to update it. This has me very, very excited, because this is one film that I’ve always thought would be a good one to modernize with CGI, and with this news, it’s clear that they’re getting a competent writer.
Here’s the original story:
Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski, who also wrote Clint Eastwood’s upcoming Changeling, is writing a long-in-the-works update of the SF classic Forbidden Planet for Warner Brothers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Joel Silver is producing via Silver Pictures.
Warner picked up the project on the down-low earlier this year. As late as last year, it was set up at DreamWorks, with David Twohy attached to direct. Prior to that, New Line had it. James Cameron, Nelson Gidding and Stirling Silliphant have been associated with the remake over the years.
Released in 1956, Planet told the tale of an expedition sent from Earth to check on a colony of scientists on a far-off planet. They find two members, a man who has found alien technology that doubled his intellect, Dr. Morbius, and his daughter, both of whom have managed to survive an unseen monster roaming the planet. The movie is loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
The movie, directed by Fred Wilcox, starred Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen, but is perhaps best known for the character Robbie the Robot.
Straczynski certainly knows something about the movie – there’s a number of references in B5 in the way that it was filmed and some of universe that he creates – the planet Epsilon (where B5 is located) comes to mind, and I’m sure that there’s a couple of others.
This is SciFi during the golden age – it’s got the ray guns, the robots, confident captains and space ships, not to mention a monster. While it’s certainly cheesy at points, it also has some of the most memorable moments, as well as some of the most basic themes of science fiction – exploration, the unknown, technology – there’s a sense of wonder throughout the film, and it’s for these reasons that the film stands the test of time, even if the technology doesn’t necessarily do so.
Hopefully the film will be faithful to the original, but will be able to stand on its own. And, hopefully Warner will attach a good director to this.