George Orwell

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.

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Culture Warrior

Most dystopian science-fiction narratives feature stories in which a protagonist experiences a process of ‘waking up,’ transitioning from a state of blind ignorance to one of newfound enlightenment. The protagonists of The Matrix (1999), Brazil (1985), and the ur-text for dystopian futures, George Orwell’s 1984 (and its numerous film adaptations), all feature primary characters who transition from a state of passivity and complicity in an oppressive and manufactured society and transition to a newly critical, empowered state of being in which they are able to see beyond the veil of ignorance and witness the world for what it ‘really’ is for the first time. These protagonists are made capable of seeing beyond the structures of propaganda and carefully constructed illusion that they previously accepted to be objective reality and develop a political impetus in direct reaction to their previous state of complicity and ignorance. As someone previously uninitiated to the world of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games (I hadn’t read any of the books prior to seeing the film), what struck me most about Gary Ross’s adaptation is the spin it puts on the typical ignorance-to-enlightenment narrative of dystopian science-fiction.

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Not only is George Orwell‘s “1984″ a formidable classic on paper, it’s also iconic in film form as well. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Imagine Entertainment – the production house led by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard – wants to take another stab at it on the big screen. Apparently they’ve been hunting down the rights alongside graffiti artist Shepard Fairey and LBI Entertainment’s Julie Yorn. It’s unclear why Fairey was involved in the process, since he isn’t traditionally involved with film production past the point of designing posters and appearing in documentaries. It also seems unlikely that Howard and Grazer would need Fairey’s assistance in getting the rights from the Orwell Estate, which means that the partnership is based on something creative and far more fascinating. Although, the THR piece says Fairey was “instrumental” in the deal being struck and might get a producer credit if and when everything is finalized. The big question, of course, is whether this is a necessary remake or re-adaptation or whatever they’d like to call it now. It seems wholly uninspired, especially when the 1984 flick starring John Hurt was such a fantastic vision of the book. What’s to be gained by following in its big footsteps?

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Everybody knows Andy Serkis as being the man who provides the motion capture performances for the revolutionary CG characters in Peter Jackson’s films. He was responsible for Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, he was the guy that made King Kong possible, and he’s playing the super smart ape Caesar in the upcoming Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which Jackson’s company WETA did the effects work on. So news that he is being looked at to bring another computer animated character to life should come as no surprise. In the most recent issue of “Empire”, which includes a lengthy feature on Apes, they talked to the film’s director Rupert Wyatt about what he was planning on doing next. He says that he’s looking to work with Serkis again to bring a classic work of literature to the big screen. The two want to make an adaptation of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”; the story set on an English farm that details the overthrow of the farmers by the animals and the subsequent corruption of the pig Napoleon when he becomes mad with power. You see, the animals are proletariat, the farmers are bourgeoisie, and the pig is like Stalin… you know what I’m talking about, you probably read this in high school English and remember it better than I do. The potential project is a ways off still and will probably hinge largely on the success or failure of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. But as […]

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This trailer is a trip. It seems completely unnecessary considering the source material but absolutely believable considering the year of release. Nineteen Eighty-Four is an incredible film, but it’s not one you want to show at two in the morning when everyone’s already feeling sleepy. It’s a slow-burn featuring some damnable performances from John Hurt, Suzanna Hamilton, and Richard Burton (in his last film appearance). There are a ton of fascinating things about this adaptation of George Owell‘s seminal novel, but the best piece of trivia involves the shooting schedule. As most know it was released in 1984, but it was also shot in 1984, and the days (which you can keep track of by watching Winston write in his journal) are the actual days they filmed on. An example? When Winston jots down that it’s April 4, 1984, it’s because the cast and crew were shooting that scene on April 4, 1984. Pretty clever. Has any other movie shot in fake real-time?

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