According to Deadline Oceania, Imagine Entertainment has come one step closer to our totalitarian future-past. Noah Oppenheim has been chosen to pen the script for the upcoming remake of 1984. To quote Deadline, this film is a “cautionary tale about a totalitarian future society, and a man whose job it is to rewrite history tries a bit of rebellion by falling in love, a move that runs afoul of Big Brother.”
Okay, so there’s a lot more to it than that Mickey Mouse explanation. George Orwell’s dystopian classic novel from 1948 is a seminal piece of literature about the dangers of government intrusion, totalitarian rule, and the control of the media. It’s not as much a love story but rather one about a world where free thought is crushed, and one man dares to love. You should really just read the book.
Orwell’s novel has been adapted for the screen a few times already, most notably in 1984 itself by British director Michael Radford. That version, which starred John Hurt as a cog in the government’s revisionist history wheel, was not a huge moneymaker, grossing less than $9m. However, its bleak look at totalitarianism, brainwashing, and lack of privacy enjoyed mostly positive reviews and has since become a classic.
Fans of the book should feel a mix of emotions, doublefeel if you will, at this news. On one hand, it’s been almost 30 years since Radford’s 1984 was released, so it could do with an update. On the other hand, that version was extremely true to the book and would not benefit from modern theatrical advancements. It’s not like they’ll need CGI dinosaurs running around or anything.
God, we hope not.
This stab at 1984 will be produced by Brian Grazer, along with Julie Yorn (Bride Wars, Red Riding Hood) and Rick Yorn (The Wolfman, Max Payne). Additional producers will be Gina Rosenblum, who produced the 1984 film, and street artist Shepard Fairey.
Of course, as with any film, it all starts with the script. Oppenheim, who is currently writing the biopic-turned-action-thriller The Secret Life of Houdini in which Harry Houdini is a spy, has a lot on his shoulders. Considering the fact that unless someone like Clint Eastwood, Ridley Scott, or Ron Howard is attached to direct, Imagine Entertainment doesn’t seem to rise above Tower Heist and The Cat in the Hat.
Let’s hope they don’t cast Will Smith or Ben Stiller in the lead role and put the 3D summer tent-pole sequel 1985 in development before shooting even begins.
Be careful with your adaptation, Oppenheim. Little Brother is watching you.