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Hitchhikers Guide To Be Made Into A Movie 454

Posted by timothy
from the and-not-just-a-miniseries dept.
tonywestonuk writes "The Beeb are reporting that The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series will be made into a Hollywood Movie. Apparently they are getting some other script writer to finish off Douglas Adams' final installment (I pessimistically wonder how awful this will make it.). It seems a shame that Hollywood had to wait until his death before they took him seriously...."
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Hitchhikers Guide To Be Made Into A Movie

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  • by merlyn (9918) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @05:49PM (#4277362) Homepage Journal
    Always check Greg's Previews [yahoo.com] for useful information on upcoming movies. In fact, he used to be upcomingmovies.com, one of my most visited sites.
  • Is it really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by doc_traig (453913)
    It seems a shame that Hollywood had to wait until his death before they took him seriously....

    Let's wait until we see the finished product before saying that. We just may be thankful Mr. Adams didn't have to suffer another Hollywood-ization.

    - DDT

    • another? did he have an earlier Hollywood-ization?

      JoeLinux
  • It seems a shame that Hollywood had to wait until his death before they took him seriously...."

    What are the odds of Holywood taking a guy that's super funny seriously? 1,000 to 1 against.
    • It seems a shame that Hollywood had to wait until his death before they took him seriously....

      More like, it took his death for the rights to transfer to someone who would actually give Hollywood permission to make the movie. DA probably held out. Whoever inherited the rights isn't holding out.

  • Might I suggest Ali G?
    • Actually, I've always seen Jeff Goldblum as Ford Prefect; the description of someone whose social behaviors are just a little 'off', who smiles a little too eagerly and too earnestly, and who very deadpanly explains the end of the world just somehow pings off in my mind as his traits (especially look at his earlier, campier performances, like Buckaroo Banzai or Earth Girls are Easy)
      • Now that you mention it, Jeff Goldblum would make a great Ford Prefect. Great casting call. But what about Arthur and the rest?
        • I'm sure the fellow who played Arthur in the TV series is too old by now, which is a shame. The BBC TV series was pretty awful, with two shining exceptions. Arthur was, just to me, utterly perfect. He looked and spoke just about exactly the way Arthur did in my head.

          The other Great Exception was Slartibartfast, not sure what the actor's name was, but he truly grokked the character.

          • DNA really wanted that guy to be Arthur too, but then again he was expecting Disney to do something with it 20 years ago.
            Yeah, Arthur with grey hair wouldn't work so well.
            I think Ian McKellen? Cellen? mCeLe3n? Whatever. He would be good for Slarty. That's what I kept thinking in LotR whenever Galdalf was being nice and condesending at Frodo. Looked and sounded just like Slarty.
        • I'd give my left nut, well, I suppose I would have to give both to be Marvin.

          Purely for the dialogue about the doors with Ford and Arthur. Damn I loved that. I think that the girl who played Amelie would make a great Trillian, assuming she can speak english with an english accent.

  • Now my friends will finally be happy and I'll stop complaining that a "Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy" would have been a much better move to make then LOTR. (Note: I like LOTR, but I love Hitchiker)

  • oh no! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anzha (138288) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @05:51PM (#4277385) Homepage Journal

    I am having flashbacks of another favourite author's book being made into a non-existant-movie (at least in my world). Heinlein would have mourned _Starship Troopers_ and now its ole Doug's turn to spin in his grave...

    Please. Make the pain...stop. Thinking about this is making me ill...

    There's a glimmer of hope tho with the whole treatment that LotR has received.

    • Re:oh no! (Score:3, Funny)

      by garcia (6573)
      X-men, Spiderman, Hulk.

      LotR, Guide, what's next? Xanth?
      • More likely, Dragonlance with Jeremy Irons as Lord Soth and Matthew Lillard [filmstew.com] as Tasslehoff Burrfoot [brinkster.com]. Sarah Michelle Gellar as Laurana, I'm sure.

        I know, I know... for God's sake, keep my voice down...

      • LotR, Guide, what's next? Xanth?

        Hrmm, given some of the colourful titles [fantafiction.com] in the Xanth series that might not be such a good idea.

        Would you tell your girlfriend you and the guys were off to see "The Color of Her Panties"? I'd love to see that... somehow I don't think you'd have long to live though.

      • by Zoop (59907)
        Not Xanth, DareDevil [imdb.com].

        And yet another try at Solaris [imdb.com] with...George Clooney???

        Of course, it's been done [imdb.com], though you have to have a love of montages, a good eye for Soviet counterculture, and a seriously strong bladder to get it.
    • Does that mean that Uncle Orson has to kick it before we get to see "Ender's Game" onscreen?
  • I can't help but wonder how good the movies can be when the books are transferred to the big screen. I know this can be said of almost any book, but I think this would be especially hard. A lot of the humour in the Hitchhiker's Guide was in the way Adams described things, and unless the movie is narrated I don't see how that part of the books can be retained. I've seen the BBC miniseries [imdb.com] and I certainly didn't think it could compare to the books.
    • How soon we forget: The books were novelizations of the Hith-hikers Radio Scripts, a 12-installment radio programme.

      "We had nothing in common: I liked watching movies made from books I'd read. She like reading novelizations of movies. It's no wonder she finished Lord of the Rings so fast."
  • The scriptwriter for Chicken Run, Karey Kirkpatrick, is to complete the script from a draft version written by author Douglas Adams before his death
    last year.

    Really not sure how to take this one: Chicken Run was funny and well-made, but... It must difficult for Kirkpatrick to step in and finish something a lot of people consider a masterpiece. I don't envy his job.
    Austin Powers director Jay Roach is to direct, and Adams will be posthumously credited as an executive producer.
    Joy Roach is a good director (did a fabulous job on Austin Powers; although he did have a good cast and excellent script).

    I have a lot of hope for this project. It's nice to see Hollywood making at least one "non-teen-idol goes on a road trip/goes to college and finds them self" movie for next year.
  • by Irvu (248207) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @06:02PM (#4277482)
    It seems that he's sold and re-sold the script several times. Each time the project appears and gets cancelled for one reason or another, usually a total lack of comprehension.

    He told a story about the time he sold it to one producer (if memory serves it was James Cameron of Aliens and Titanic fame). Anyway he worked on the script for a while in preparation for his first meeting with the producer.

    When thay meeting came around the first thing that he discovered was that the producer (cameron) the man who had bought the screenplay, had never read the book. When he was talling it, Adams allowed as how the book was very long and the great man might not be able to spare the time.

    However, he had read the executive treatment of the book (doubtless by the cliffs notes people), and he was very excited about the prospects for the film. But, before they could get going he wanted to discuss a few questions about the script.

    He began by asserting that he loved the fact that the earth blew up in the beginning that big, powerful, awesome, domething that would grab them into their seats. However, he had a real problem with the fact that they didn't get it back. He felt that they should devote a little more time in the script to a quest to regain the lost earth (he didn't specify how). But, he said that they could deal with it.

    The real issue was that whole question of life, the meaning of life was an important quest, a noble quest. It was big, and it would keep people emotionally in the movie. He also felt that it was good that they found it eventually... but... 42? Isn't that really...anticlimactic? Why isn't it an important message, meaningful, or something?

    Apparently there were some other sticking points too about how little of a role Arthur Dent played. The producer really felt that he should be leading the charge more rather than hiding. In short he really felt that Arthur Dent should be more Arnold Schwartzenegger.

    According to Douglas Adams it fell apart after that.
    • Reminds me of a story I heard about a Terry Pratchett book. Supposedly a Hollywood movie company was negotiating about making a movie out of "Mort". At some point in the discussion, the director said that he really liked the story, but wasn't there something that could be done about this whole Death angle? Apparently, people want an upbeat story and Death is a real "downer"..

      (the above may be completely apocryphal, but I found it amusing..)

      Daniel
    • Actually, the producer who thought 42 was an anticlimax was Ivan Reitman.
  • There is a truely excellent BBC version of this already made for TV [amazon.com] back in the 80's

    The Hollywood version is sure to disappoint after this practically word for word BBC version.

    Since Hitchhiker's was originally a radio play it would be a lot of fun to start a pool on what a hollywood screen writer will have to do to the story to make it "work" for film :-)

    • Clearly this is some new meaning of the phrase 'truely excellent' that I was previously unaware of.

      Anyone who loved the radio series and the books found the TV series... well, disappointing at best.

      There is just too much surrealism to make the transfer to cellulose, or even the small screen, all but impossible.

      Take the moments after Arthur and Ford are picked up by the Heart of Gold: it is full of wonderful images like Southend washing up and down while the water remains still and the infinite monkeys that have just completed the works of Shakespeare. Remove the wonderful, joyeous surrealism and the books become suddenly much more ordinary.

      That said, I will watch the movie. And probably cringe, too.
      • Ahh, but as Canadian from a small town my first exposure to Hitchhiker's was when TVO played the BBC series. Maybe I'm biased because I saw it on the small screen first.

        I have heard this "the radio play was much better" from several Brits so I'll take your word for it.

        The book was indeed pretty good :-)

        • The radio play was much, much better. The actors in the TV series (most of them from the radio show) weren't terribly good as TV actors, and the production values were basically Doctor Who (i.e., god-awful). I just can't call the TV series "good." It's just a little less demanding than listening to the radio series (and even less demanding than reading the book).

  • Two words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Schnapple (262314) <tomkidd@viatexas.cPERIODom minus punct> on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @06:04PM (#4277498) Homepage
    Terry Gilliam [imdb.com].
  • w00t! (Score:4, Funny)

    by blazin (119416) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @06:04PM (#4277500) Homepage Journal
    42nd post!!!
  • by OzPeter (195038) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @06:05PM (#4277504)
    The movie of the original radio plays?
    The movie of the books of the original radio plays?
    The movie of the TV series of the books of the orginal radio plays?

    Because they were ALL different. And I much prefer the radio plays.

    (And I think there was also a soundtrack recording of the TV series in there as well)
  • I'm thinking Dana Carvey should shoehorn himself into this role and redeem his "Master of Surprise".

    Robin Williams would probably be a better choice, though.

    The Rolling Stones(old and dead) would make a good Disaster Area, or perhaps The Who...(loud and louder)

    • Gotta be someone Six feet tall ; P and they gotta look like an ape... any suggestions?
    • I'm thinking Dana Carvey should shoehorn himself into this role and redeem his "Master of Surprise".

      I don't seem him being able to get past his own ego/personna. Dent was 1) British, and 2) didn't make silly child voices.

      Robin Williams would probably be a better choice, though.

      Arthur "Patch Adams" Dent we don't need. Again, Dent didn't make silly voices and mug for the camera. He cowered and wimpered and was a very small fish out of very large water. I wouldn't mind seeing Alan Cumming [imdb.com] play Dent. He can "seem small" well enough I think.

      Jim Carey as Zaphod would truly suck. I can't think of who would not suck, though.

      How about Steven Root [imdb.com] as the Vogon Captain? Every see Tripping the Rift [trippingtherift.com]?

      The Rolling Stones(old and dead) would make a good Disaster Area, or perhaps The Who...(loud and louder)

      I think you hit this one dead on.

      -B

      • How about Steven Root [imdb.com] as the Vogon Captain? Every see Tripping the Rift [trippingtherift.com]?

        But...but...but...they had me move the planet 4 times already, and they took my stapler...and...and....well, I guess I'm going to have to burn the planet down [imdb.com]...

        • Now Milton, we're going to have you move down to Storage B. Yeah... Get yourself a flashlight and a pry bar and go through all those old file cabinets. We, ah, need to find the work order to destroy Earth. Yeah, we've had some complaints that the paperwork has been too hard to find... Yeah...

          Oh, and Milton? I'm going to need to have you come in on second and third shift too. Yeah... We had to "let go" of some people via the airlock, see, and we kind of have to play catch-up, M'kay?

          Thanks, Milton...

          -B

    • Gotta be a Brit, I'm afraid. Just wouldn't be the same otherwise.

      I'd suggest Robert Llewellyn [imdb.com] ("Kryten" on Red Dwarf, also the early, and IMO the best, host of Junkyard Wars (aka Scrapheap))

      Someone also suggested Chris Barrie [imdb.com] ("Rimmer" on Red Dwarf, "Hilary" in Tomb Raider) who'd probably also be a good candidate.

      I also see a part for Rowan Atkinson [imdb.com] as the captain of the Golgafrinchum "B" ark.

      Stephen Fry [imdb.com] would make a great maitre d' for The Restaurant at the End Of The Universe.
    • John Cleese?

      He's probably too old now, but perhaps circa Fish Called Wanda I think he would have had something to offer.

      Alan Cumming?

      For Zaphod, one that comes to mind is Billy Connoly. He's a Scott, but has a certain odd quality that I think would be fun.

    • Just so long as it's not Keanu Reeves.

      Ewen McGregor maybe? Kinda short, but...

      Jason Mewes looks a little too pathetic...

      I'm going to get flamed to a crisp for this, but my choice is: Tom Hanks. And don't look at me funny until you think about it. He's got the right appearance, he's a hell of an actor, and it's been awhile since he's done a good comedy....
  • by sydb (176695) <michael@w d 2 1 . c o .uk> on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @06:07PM (#4277521)
    H2G2's first incarnation was as a radio series. I'm pretty sure it's also the best way to enjoy Adams' work.

    The asides into the eponymous electronic 'Guide' seem a more natural fit to the dramatic medium of radio than to the books Adams released later (though I have read and enjoyed them all). Like a book, you get to use your imagination, unlike a book, you get an atmospheric soundtrack (and nice Vogon voices).

    The BBC sell the tapes of the original series. Also available as illegal MP3s at a P2P network near you...
  • Cast? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by idiotnot (302133)
    It'd be interesting to see who they'll cast in it.

    Dent: gotta be someone who can play "a complete kneebiter." British. I'm out of ideas on this one.
    Trillian: Elizabeth Hurley?
    Zaphod: No need to actually hire someone, just do some computer modifications to John Travolta's character from Battlefield Earth.
    Slartibartfast: Anthony Hopkins or William Shatner.

    Any other ideas?
    • What about Slashdot in the role of the Guide? Sure, the Web itself was born to play the part, with entries on everything and plenty of erroneous information, but it's probably too pricey and prone to litigation.

      Actually, I wonder if the average movie fan might mistake the Guide for a cheesy and obviously fabricated Hollywood analogy for the internet. I can just imagine an uninformed movie critic discussing the symbolism of the Guide as a social commentary on the web. Even worse would be if a director or studio exec decided to intentionally play that angle (or the movie was rejected on those grounds). Sounds silly, but I could see it happening.
    • by lowe0 (136140) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @08:11PM (#4278345) Homepage
      Clearly, the only man who can play Zaphod is Bruce Campbell. Just pull out your copy and let his voice read some of the lines in your head. Trust me, Bruce is the only man who could deliver, "If there's anything more important than me, I want it caught and shot." (Yeah, I probably misquoted. I'm too lazy to reach the two feet away my copy is sitting and look it up.)

      I hope someone gets this script to Bruce... I'd love to see the role go to him.
    • I think they need to come up with a way to bring in the surviving monty python members.
  • by ocie (6659) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @06:10PM (#4277547) Homepage
    I've never quite gotten the hang of Thursdays.
  • Brainfart (Score:4, Funny)

    by ForceOfWill (79529) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @06:20PM (#4277618) Homepage
    When I first read the title, I thought "Hitchhiker's Guide To Being Made Into A Movie" like the article was about a howto on being turned into a movie :)

    on topic:
    Wasn't there already a movie made of this? Or was it just one book? (sorry for my ignorant attempt at on-topic-ness :)

    • Wasn't there already a movie made of this? Or was it just one book?
      There was an awful BBC miniseries based off the first book and parts of the second book. (Adams said it was actually based off the radio series, but that it also included the revised parts in the books.) A lot of video places bill it as a movie, but it's just a miniseries.

      There was a story on /. a while back about this miniseries hitting DVD in the U.S., but you're better off pretending it didn't exist. The only parts I found funny were the foreword added by Douglas Adams (done in Star Wars giant-scrolling-letters-style where he declared that the proceeds from the sale of the video would, in fact, be donated to himself), and war between two civilizations being depicited as a video game, where after the narrator talks about coming to a truce and "evening the score" one civilization shoots the other's ship to literally even the score.

  • "...before they took him seriously...."

    If they're taking him seriously, they're even more insane than I thought! (I got a headache just trying to read it!) Although, it would explain a lot about Hollywood...
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Tuesday September 17, 2002 @06:34PM (#4277733)
    Apparently they are getting some other script writer to finish off Douglas Adams final installment

    This makes no sense at all. How many book do they intend to span with the first movie? I would think they would have a hard time doing justice to even the first book in a single movie. If they are going to get to the final book it will be a disaster. There is certainly no reason to do anything with the final book until after they see if the first movie is a hit.

    • It's not the final book. Whoever contributed this story has it wrong.

      The movie is a retelling of the first book, but likely with some major changes.

      -- Yoz, who worked at The Digital Village while DNA was working on the drafts
    • No, probably just most of the first book, a little of the second, and bits and pieces of the others. Read A Salmon of Doubt for some hints.
    • The contributor was wrong. As usual, RTFA. :) Adams wrote a script, but it wasn't quite "complete" before his death-- it was edited, but I guess not final yet. So the head scriptwriter for Chicken Run is finishing it up.
  • The BEEB made a five-part serial of it over twenty years ago. The quality is Doctor Who circa 1970's quality so it's got zero chance of ever being shown on anything other than BBC, PBS or TVO but it's just perfect in my mind.

    It's been about fifteen years since I saw it and from what I recollect it was fairly true to the original story, I seem to recall they stole some small bits from "Restaurant at the end of the Universe".

    Personally, I don't think it should go through the Hollywood Bland-o-Mizer(tm). Douglas Adams just writes things into stories that you just can't act out-- like in "Mostly Harmless" where they find that guy on the beach 'who lives inside his house which is really outside of the rest of the world'-- it's just much much more fun to read.

    It won't make any difference to me if they make a movie for HHGTTG becuase there is no way you could convince me it's better than reading the book!

  • ... that this happens time and time again: Great artists aren't recognized until after they're dead.
  • As a mini series... I've seen it, and it does no justice to the book. I think I fell asleep during watching it more than once.

    IMDB Entry [imdb.com]

  • it seems a shame that Hollywood had to wait until his death before they took him seriously...

    You're not supposed to take him seriously; he is (was) a comedy writer.

    RMN
    ~~~
  • The Beeb are reporting that The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy series will be made into a Hollywood Movie.

    Doesn't anybody remember what they made of the Dr Who movie? It was terrible. Totally not in style of Dr Who... I'm sorry to everybody who thinks this is a good idea, but it most likely will become a waste of money and the disaster to the image of the HHGTTG.
  • How many people saw the early 80s mini-series of THGTTG. On the whole, I rather liked it. It had a lot of the same people as the radio series, Simon Jones as the Book, Peter Jones as Arthur and the same guy for Ford Prefect.

  • Web Site (Score:2, Informative)

    by Bobulusman (467474)
    In case anyone is not aware, the HGTTG web site the article mentions is http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/ [bbc.co.uk]. It's the most ambitious, IMHO, of Douglas Adam's projects. Basically, it's an online Guide that you submit information to, the way the Guide in the books is described. It's been running for a few years now, and has quite a bit of stuff.

    The page that DNA submitted about the site can be found here [bbc.co.uk].

    Of course, I'm such a nerd that I've actually submitted an article [bbc.co.uk]. Yes, I know I'm a geek....
  • "The vogon ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't."

    This illustrates why a movie version will never approach the quality of the written one.
  • by Nept (21497)
    but yea, I mean, it will take for ever for it to come out. I mean think of all that waiting...oh god, I'm so depressed. I'm not getting you down am I? I mean, you think you have problems, what are you supposed to do with a manically depressed robot?

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