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Producer John Davis on the difficulty of adapting Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles

06.08.2011by: Jake Dee

Given the sprawling text, adapting Ray Bradbury's THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES to the big screen is a mighty tall ask. One person who knows this more intimately than anyone is producer John Davis, who currently has the film set up at Paramount. Well, Davis spoke with our pals over at Collider and broke down some of the difficulties in turning the series of vignettes into a film. Check it...

When asked about the fidelity of text-to-screen translation, Davis responded with:

"We had a conversation with Ray because I wanted his input and all of that stuff. He basically said, “You can stray because you are going to need to do certain things to make a movie.” I would never do anything that he wasn’t 100 percent on board with. Some people are faithful and some people are interpretive. When you have something like this you basically go out to 2 or 3 writers that you really want to work with and they come back to you and you hear their take. You kind of go, “That is the movie I want to make. That is really cool.” Then we will go back to writing. We will go, “Maybe we will do this and this. And we will tell the story from this perspective.” But you have to be true to a lot of the things that make the book great or be really clever on how you bring them in."

About the size and scope of the film version, Davis added:

"Yes. I think it should be a big summer movie. If you think of the idea of terraforming a planet and then colonizing it. In reality, it’s a modern western. It was moving to the west. It was all of the people looking for a second chance. Based on what was going on Earth we had to move somewhere. The Martians were there. We thought they were all dead but we found remnants of the world and all of that stuff. It lends itself to a really interesting summer movie and one with a weighty intellectual background."

I read THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES in college and quite loved it. That being said, faithfully rendering a film version seems a lofty endeavor. I'd love to see it done well, but as is the case with most Bradbury adaptations, I fear it'll come off inferior to the tome. What says you?

Extra Tidbit: Theatrically speaking, Davis last produced MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS, starring the lovely Carla Gugino (above).
Source: Collider



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