I saw a bit of Legends of the Seeker, adapted from Terry Goodkind’s books. The whole series while rather entertaining if for nothing else for the constant stream of look-alike blond action babes who trot across the screen. Can anybody actually tell the difference between Denna, Cara, Corlinda, Nicci incarnation two to name just a few? Whoever is casting the series has tunnel vision.
Much of the story seemed to be adaptations of Stephen R. Donaldson’s Thomas Covenenant novels. In just one example, the Mord’Sith seem a near clone of the Bloodguard but with breasts.
Which set me to asking myself whatever happened to a film version of Stephen R. Donaldson’s Thomas Covenenant Trilogies (there’s three of them)? The Thomas Convenant novels are fantasy for grown-ups dealing with issues such as acceptance and exclusion via physical metaphors like lepresy. The sex lives are also very complex, exploring the breakdown of the physical elements of love over time.
Despite some heavy hitters signing up to develop such a film, no studio signed off on it. Here are Stephen R. Donaldson’s own notes on the subject.
"Covenant" film news: it’s over. The producers who optioned "Lord Foul’s Bane" have tried everything they could think of, without success. Now their option has expired, and they have declined to renew it. Bury it now, folks, ’cause it’s dead. 1/29/07
Possible "Lord Foul’s Bane" film: bad news. It doesn’t look good. So far, the project has been rejected by Fox, Sony, and Dreamworks. "Too dark." "Too much like LOTR." The prospective producers have decided to change their tactics. They are now hoping to get a reputable director "on board." If they succeed, this may increase the project’s credibility.
I’ll post more news when I have some. 2005
This past week, "The Hollywood Reporter" announced that "Covenant" is coming to the big screen. This is both premature and misleading. Here are the facts to date.
The production team of Mark Gordon ("Saving Private Ryan") and Peter Winther ("Independence Day") is quite serious about wanting to make a "Covenant" film. "Revelstone Development" has a design in place and a screenwriter on board (John Orloff, "Band of Brothers"). What Gordon and Winther do *not* have is a studio (i.e. money); and without a studio little or nothing is likely to happen. Since Hollywood basically shuts down in December, Gordon and Winther plan to start approaching studios in January.
I would like to emphasize that I have no control over any aspect of this process. After all, the film rights are held by Ballantine Books, not by me. I’ve met Winther and Orloff, and I’m convinced that their respect for and excitement about "Covenant" is genuine: for that reason, I’m starting to get excited myself. And I have no doubt that Revelstone Development will consult with me from time to time, and will take whatever I have to say seriously. But I have no actual power here. Nor do I want any. In fact, I’ve refused every offer to give me any power. I love movies; I hope a "Covenant" movie (or several) will be made; I hope it will be good; and I hope it will be successful. But I’m simply not qualified, either by experience or by personality, to make the kinds of decisions–and compromises–which are essential to film-making. And I have my own work to do, work which pretty much consumes all of my creative energy. So I’m rooting hard for Revelstone Development; and if Gordon, Winther, and Orloff ever want my opinion, I’ll give it to them. But really this is all out of my hands.
More news as it develops….
P.S. I’m just guessing here; but I suspect that peculiar references to "Saturn" in "The Hollywood Reporter" are a confused conflation of "Satan" and "Sauron." I can’t think of any other explanation.
As it happens, Russell Crowe has decided NOT to take on the role of Thomas Covenant, no doubt (drum-roll, please) because he considered it too taxing. Imagine my surprise. As you may know, money people typically commit to a movie, not because they like the project, but because a "bankable" star has agreed to participate. Therefore the "Covenant" film remains purely hypothetical.
I’m amazed that the Thomas Convenant series has never been made into a motion picture considering how far near the bottom of the barrel Hollywood scraped for its Lord of the Rings lookalikes in the boom years. Or that it hasn’t been picked up for a television series.
Ann McAffrey’s Dragon series made it to the big screen on a large scale. Even latecomer to the screen Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea trilogy made it Sci Fi channel in 2004. Surely somebody has to get around to the Thomas Covenant Chronicles eventually even if they end up simplifying and whitewashing some of the darker elements.