Isaac Asimov's sci-fi trilogy "Foundation" coming to the big screen...

Discussion in 'Movies' started by TerryRL, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. TerryRL

    TerryRL Producer

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    Roland Emmerich finds 'Foundation' - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety

    Roland Emmerich finds 'Foundation'
    Columbia wins auction for Asimov's sci-fi trilogy
    By MICHAEL FLEMING

    Columbia won an auction late Thursday for screen rights to "Foundation," Isaac Asimov's ground breaking science fiction trilogy. The film will be developed as a directing vehicle for Roland Emmerich.
    Emmerich and his Centropolis partner Michael Wimer will produce the film. The deal was mid six-figures against low seven figures.

    Originally published as a series of eight short stories in Astounding Magazine beginning in 1942, "Foundation" is a complex saga about humans who are scattered on planets throughout the galaxy, living under the rule of the Galactic Empire.

    A psycho-historian who can scientifically read the future sees an imminent empire collapse, and sets to work preparing to save the knowledge of mankind.

    The emergence of Sony and Emmerich at the controls of "Foundation" is a surprise development, and one that owes at least a bit to the animosity between Warner Bros. and Fox over "Watchmen."

    The property, originally developed by Fox and producer Vince Gerardis, found its way to New Line, and then to Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne as the first major project announcement after the former heads of New Line formed Unique Pictures at WB.

    Gerardis, whose Created By formerly repped the Asimov estate and who is producing an adaptation of Asimov's "The End of Eternity" at New Regency, was attached as producer. And Fox would have had to be compensated for its development costs. That became a problem for WB, and the studio allowed its option to lapse, expecting to quietly make a new deal with a clear chain of rights that would have left Fox and Gerardis on the outside.

    It turned into a spirited auction. WB bid for Unique and director Alex Proyas, Fox bid for Gerardis. Emmerich and Sony were the surprise entrants. Turns out that Wimer had been tracking the availability of the rights since he was Emmerich's agent at CAA, and Columbia Pictures president Matt Tolmach pounced. Emmerich and Wimer just completed "2012" at Sony.

    CAA and Trident Media's Dan Strone brokered the deal on behalf of the Asimov estate.
     
  2. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Horrible mismatch of story to director. Proyas, though probably not ideal, would have been much better.

    Debacle.
     
  3. Brian^K

    Brian^K Supporting Actor

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    Have the movie rights ever been made available before? Or is this the first time?
     
  4. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    It's been in development forever/several times before. Eventually, folks realize that there's just not a movie in it.

    I can see why Emmerich would be interested in it on a superficial level - the original trilogy has the world ending multiple times! - but this is a story where the hero is a mathematician who is only shown on a video screen at the ends of episodes.
     
  5. Brian^K

    Brian^K Supporting Actor

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    I wonder how much lee-way the contract offers. In some cases, I suspect, the more time that passes, the more lee-way property owners might offer. Beyond a certain point, an "unmake-able" film becomes "make-able", by changing, perhaps, the context of the story.

    For example, one thing that might make the story "make-able" is to leave Seldon as a mythical or historical character, in the context of the film, focusing only on the trials and tribulations of Terminus, itself, with the whole context of how the Foundation is intended to short-circuit 30,000 years of barbarism, de-emphasized, in favor of focusing on the action and political intrigue. (Note that the portions of the story that dealt with what happened before Terminus was established were actually added on to the story afterward; they were not part of the original publication of the short stories in Astounding Magazine.) The more liberties the producers, writer and director are allowed to take with the story, the more likely it is that a decent film will be "make-able".
     
  6. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    I was fairly intrigued until I saw Emmerich is involved. It'll be a mess.
     
  7. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

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    I've read almost all of the Asimov books and would have been very interested in watching a Foundation movie. Seeing Emmerich listed as the director killed that interest completely. Too bad they chose him.
     
  8. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Flipping through the books at the shop this afternoon, I was reminded just how much of the trilogy's latter half was devoted to The Mule. I suspect that there might be a movie in that, and it could be a pretty darn entertaining space opera. You'd probably lose the scope of the series, but I don't know that you'd get a bad movie out of it.

    If Emmerich has been tracking this for a long time, then I've got a bit of hope that this might be a labor of love for him and he'll make a movie that defies his track record. Bummer about Proyas missing out - I suspect he wanted to stick it to Fox as much as WB did, since he has, IIRC, been pretty open about I, Robot being a lousy experience and wishing he could have stayed closer to the source material.

    Not hopeful, but I figure we'll see the Fincher-Freeman Rendezvous with Rama before this anyway.
     
  9. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    This is the type of project that I could see someone like Aronofsky helming, but Emmerich? Not likely. With him at the helm I can see this being a disaster.
     
  10. Nathan Eddy

    Nathan Eddy Second Unit

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    Adrian Brody would make a nice Mule. I can barely remember any other characters. But then, Asimov wasn't about character, was he?

    I'd rather see Stephen R. Donaldson's The Gap Sequence filmed. There's definitely a movie "in there!"
     

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