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Rumors of Pratchett Film 204

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the silver-screenings dept.
kongjie writes "The BBC reports on the rumored possibility of Terry Pratchett's novel Wee Free Men being made into a Hollywood film, with Raimi attached to it. This would be the first, although in the past his stuff has made the television screen."
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Rumors of Pratchett Film

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  • Disc World (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eebra82 (907996) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @09:37AM (#14526092) Homepage
    I would just love to see a movie about Disc World.. Ever played the game? It's hillarious.
    • If you are looking for a great way to continue the discworld experience (heh), they have finished two complete TV adaptations - those of Soul Music and Wyrd Sisters - I watched them, and they are really high quality and stick with the plot for the most part.

      Soul Music: http://imdb.com/title/tt0159914/ [imdb.com]
      Wyrd Sisters: http://imdb.com/title/tt0159931/ [imdb.com]
  • by Thwomp (773873) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @09:40AM (#14526104) Journal
    Is currently being shown (in the U.K.) on BBC1 on Sunday nights, serialised, for anybody who might be interested.
  • by DreadfulGrape (398188) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @09:42AM (#14526112)
    CRIVENS!!!
  • Additional thoughts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JamesD_UK (721413) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @09:58AM (#14526161) Homepage
    I went to see Terry Pratchett speak at the Oxford Union in December and someone asked him if there were anythought of films in the works. He didn't confirm or deny that he was working on anything just that there was something he didn't want to talk about.
  • by charlie (1328) <`gro.epopitna' `ta' `eilrahc'> on Saturday January 21, 2006 @09:59AM (#14526165) Homepage Journal
    ... in the UK, at least, is huge. To put it in perspective; in the fantasy field, only J. K. Rowling out-sells him -- I'm not certain, but I think he may be ahead of Stephen King, and responsible for a visible percentage of all UK fiction sales.

    This suggests to me that, like Rowling, he now probably has enough clout to prevent his work being butchered by the studios.

    By way of illustrating this point, he tells an amusing story about the first time round the Hollywood block. Someone had optioned "Reaper Man", and was actually putting some money into scriptwriting, preliminary planning, focus groups, and that kind of thing. One evening, he got a phone call from a studio executive. Who began like this: "hi, Terry! Great to talk to you, we here at XXXXX studios really like Reaper Man, and we're looking forward to making it a great movie. However, we'd like to make a few changes. We ran the outline past a focus group in rural Iowa, and they weren't very positive about this 'Death' character. If we just replace him with Tom Cruise ..."

    This is how Hollywood typically deals with SF/F fiction properties.

    And that's why you didn't see a big-budget production of "Reaper Man" (probably re-titled "Die Hard 4: Reap Hard") during the mid-nineties.

    • by ian_mackereth (889101) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @10:32AM (#14526283) Journal
      I was amused when PTerry was talking about the smug way in which the Hollywood ponytails dangled what they considered a huge payment in front of him, assuming that the starving writer would faint dead away at seeing that many zeroes in front of the decimal point.

      He shrugged and told him how much more he'd earned from royalties that month and they first goggled and then shut up!

    • Even over the last 3 years with the movies out?

      I'd be shocked.

      Prachett's popularity has definitely not translated as well to the US. His books do sell, and he is well respected. But I don't know if his sales are all that exceptional here. If he's #2 or #3 the bar must be somewhat low.
      • by po8 (187055) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @02:25PM (#14527521)

        You're joking, right? Terry Pratchett's been putting out an average of a book a year for maybe 20 years, and continues to do so. Tolkien's entire (salable) ouevre consists of four books that have been on sale continuously for something like 30 years. Sure, those four are insanely great books, but market saturation is by now pretty much complete.

        You're only a best-selling author as long as you keep writing things to sell. Stephen King has reportedly stopped writing now. J.K. Rowling reportedly plans to stop after HP #7. If Terry Pratchett keeps turning out books, it is quite likely he'll be the #1 best-selling SF/Fantasy/Horror author in the US in a couple of years.

        • I dunno about insanely great. They're great.

          But the movies came out, that usually expands the markets (thus undoing the market saturation), and sells more books.

          Like I said, I'm a bit surprised Pratchett outsold Tolkien in the last 3 years. Before that, I'm not much surprised.

          I know he's done some good stuff of course.
  • sweet (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fractilian (704807) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @10:00AM (#14526168) Journal
    I love his books. I think Small Gods would be great to see. If that made it to screen the religious community would go bonkers!(did I mention I like to instigate) Some of his book would make a great Anime feature too.
    • by ErikZ (55491)
      'Small Gods' is my favorite Pratchet book. I'm not too sure how it would work on the screen though.

      Terry Pratchet's work performs best in the book medium. If he were to try to make a movie, my suggestion would be for him to write a movie script. A completely new work. Get together with a good director and play the film medium to it's strengths.
      • Terry Pratchet's work performs best in the book medium.

        Well, I have to admit, I don't think things like the puns that work in both Latin and English would translate to the screen, but to me, his books always felt like a movie. The pacing, the scope and scale, the constant cross-cuts between different subplots, it always feels like your in the middle of a really great movie. Of course, I don't think more than a handful of movies have _ever_ been made that would be as good as an average Pratchett book. Plu
        • by ErikZ (55491)
          Plus, I'd be afraid they'd give the characters American accents, which would be 4 strikes out of 3 from the get-go.

          As a cost cutting measure, they'll only be using Indian actors. ;)

          If the budget comes through, they might splurge and hire Canadians.
    • bah!

      Religious community? Methinks not. At my church, just about everyone I know that has children between say, eight and 18, has read (with or without their children) Harry Potter. They all love it. I haven't met anyone at my church that does that kind of reaction. I know that their are folks out their that are like that, but they are hardly a majority. Most folks I know that are religious are quite even keeled in that regard. That said, the morons that are that way always get my scorn.

      A good story i
      • Yes, but that's not a very good example, because the Harry Potter books don't satirise religion. They don't even have any (overt) religion in them!

  • What about Mort? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jjeffrey (558890) * <slash@@@jamesjeffrey...co...uk> on Saturday January 21, 2006 @10:14AM (#14526226) Homepage
    I'd much prefer to see a film done about another Pratchett book - Mort.

    Everyone I know says that's the best of the Discworld books to start with, as it's the most accessible, and the characters are the most recognisable. Everyone for some reason identifies with Mort as he confronts, literally, death. It's funny, it's clever, and you don't need to be a discworld fan to love it - lets convert some people.
  • by DarkClown (7673) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @10:25AM (#14526257) Homepage
    I guess Gilliam bailed out - funding I Imagine.
    But wee free men (and maurice and a hat full of sky [amazon.com]) would be nice, they are fun offshoots from the discworld series that would lend themselves well to film - for that matter the bromeliad trilogy (truckers, diggers, and thieves [amazon.com]) would be great as well. Seems like the main discworld strain would be spottyish - I think that all the guards and the witch books would do well, as well as some of the standalone ones, especially small gods [amazon.com]..
    • Neil Gaiman did a few trips to Hollywood over "Good Omens" (he and Pratchett wrote it together) and has put a few of his frustrating experiences into some funny short stories (eg, the one about going to Hollywood with a horror story idea where dozens of Charles Manson's clones grow up).
  • by Channard (693317) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @10:37AM (#14526303) Journal
    "A production company was put together and there was US and Scandinavian and European involvement, and I wrote a couple of script drafts which went down well and everything was looking fine and then the US people said "Hey, we've been doing market research in Power Cable, Nebraska, and other centres of culture, and the Death/skeleton bit doesn't work for us, it's a bit of a downer, we have a prarm with it, so lose the skeleton". The rest of the consortium said, did you read the script? The Americans said: sure, we LOVE it, it's GREAT, it's HIGH CONCEPT. Just lose the Death angle, guys. Whereupon, I'm happy to say, they were told to keep on with the medication and come back in a hundred years." - Terry Pratchett. So either things have changed, or the movie will end up being a sequel to Charlie and Chocolate Factory or something.. 'Hey, Wee Free Men? Those are kind of like Ooompah Loompahs, right?'
  • This reminds me (Score:3, Informative)

    by imipak (254310) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @10:51AM (#14526355) Journal
    I wrote a (not very good) review of 'Going Postal' for Slashdot, because it turns out to be about hackers and geeks and the Internet. The goodies are a secret nderground of 'information wants to be #Free' types called "the Smoking GNU". When I got to that point of the book I switched from thinking Pratchett might possibly be making vague allusions to the popular (public) perception of "hackers"; after reading the Smoking GNU bit I realised that he was actually talking about the "private" sense of "hacker". Anyway I got discouraged with the amount of polishing it needed, then started a new job, so it wsa never finished. Anyway, so - check out "Going Postal", it's jolly good, and as with a lot of his recent stuff is a bit more ambitious than 'send up Tolkein-esque fantasy fiction"
    • Re:This reminds me (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Fred_A (10934)
      Since Pratchett has been posting on Usenet forever and has been on the net for ages, it's more than likely that the double entendre in that book means exactly what you think it does ;)

      Regarding the movie project, Raimi could possibly be a good choice, although I'm not entirely convinced that the idea is very sound to begin with. The Good Omens project by Gilliams sounded much more promising. Apparently it's still "in the works" while funding is slowly being gathered... So someday, maybe...
  • by BitterAndDrunk (799378) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @11:18AM (#14526479) Homepage Journal
    Not trolling, not trying to start a flame war, not even trying to just piss my opinion all over the net.

    I really want to get into him. Anyone, anything to be an (in)adequate replacement for Douglas Adams' sensibilities. God I miss that guy.

    I've read Kingdom For Sale and attempted to read one other novel by him. Oh, and I read Good Omens (w/Gaiman) and it was OK. GO really bugged me though; it was such a meaty bone, and I feel like they nibbled on it and threw it to the dogs. So much more they could have done; it was a topic that lent itself to humor. Compared to Inferno by Niven and Pourneille, for instance, it was weaksauce.

    So here's my question:
    If I were to give Pratchett another shot, what books should I pick up? What are his top two? I'm unsure if he writes series, but if so don't provide me with two books in the same series, give me something more broad. (If I like the first book I'll burn through the rest; I'm loyal like that)

    I'd really like to fill the void of humorous fiction; I'm assuming I've picked crappy books and that's my issue. I can't believe I'm missing the boat because it's too subtle or too British, but maybe that's the case. Anyway, insights are very welcome.

    • by PonyHome (625218) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @11:24AM (#14526511)
      I really want to get into him. Anyone, anything to be an (in)adequate replacement for Douglas Adams' sensibilities. God I miss that guy.

      I've read Kingdom For Sale

      IF you want to get into Terry Pratchett, why are you reading books by Terry BROOKS?
    • First off, (Magic) Kingdom for Sale isn't Terry Pratchett. That's Terry Brooks.

      90% of Pratchett's work is set in Discworld, and they're not "series" as such. Whichever set of his characters he's most interested in at the time, he publishes a book about. So, sometimes it's hit-and-miss.

      From *this* fan's perspective, you should read (in descending order of importance):

      1. Small Gods (funny book, doesn't require a lot of prior DW knowledge)
      2. Feet of Clay (my first discworld read, also very accessible).
      3. In

      • by mindriot (96208)

        I started with "The Colour of Magic" and "The Light Fantastic," which were the first two Discworld books he wrote. They do a good job of getting you started. But you could start with (almost) any book. The reading order guides [lspace.org] on lspace should give you a decent overview -- try any of the books marked in orange.

        • I disagree completely! Those first two books were pretty much straight satire -- of well-known fantasy styles and authors (Tolkien, McCaffrey, Lieber, etc.). If you know the style it's parodying at each point, then you may well appreciate it. I didn't, and was rather nonplussed by quite a bit in those two books. It was only after that that he really found his own style and voice, and the parody gave way to genuine originality.

          So, like me, a random reader might not appreciate those first two books. An

      • 3. Interesting Times (IMNSHO, the funniest DW book).

        IMHO your IMHO sux :)

        Soul Music is the best DiscWorld novel ever, but maybe because I come from a long line of Jazz musicians I really appreciated all the references... especially those pertaining to Monk and The Blues Brothers.

    • I used to be in your position too - really wanted to get in to Pratchett but was pretty daunted by the sheer weight of his main contribution to literature, the Disc World - it's such a massive series of books. You say you're not sure if he writes series so I'll assume you're not too familiar with DW. If it helps, don't think of it as one simple, linear series; across 30 books, it's grown to be more than that, littered with dozens of different sub plots and characters that pop up incidentally in one book but
      • I used to be in your position too - really wanted to get in to Pratchett but was pretty daunted by the sheer weight of his main contribution to literature, the Disc World - it's such a massive series of books.

        from that perspective then, I was lucky... you see, there was only the one Pratchett book available when I started reading them... my copy of "The Colour of Magic" is from the first edition...

        • Might be worth something one day ;)

          Perhaps I'm doing TP a disservice -- I know lots of people will disagree, but I just didn't think CoM was that good. Some great ideas but not nearly as well written as later books. Plus, I think a big problem was that I was familiar with a more evolved version of the characters (Death is a very different character in later books, for instance).
    • As others have written, the Discworld is more of a universe than a series. There are 4 major "plot series" in it, though: The Wizards, The Witches, The Watch, and Death

      Some books overlap these "series", some don't mention them, and some have small tie-ins. If you want to start with the standalone books, "Small Gods" is a good pick.

      For the others, "The Colour of Magic" is good for the Wizards, "Equal Rites" is great for the Witches, "Guards! Guards!" for the Watch, and "Mort" for Death. My personal preferenc
    • If I were to give Pratchett another shot, what books should I pick up? what are his top two?

      I'd start with his early stuff, which to me was more "laugh out loud" than his later works (which are still better than 99% of the Science Fiction/Fantasy work being put out these days IMHO): "The colour of magic", and "Sourcery" are great starting points.

      In fact, as much as I love all Pratchetts stuff, he's never beat Rincewind & Twoflower in my opinion. They were just the perfect "odd couple" for the Disc
    • Personally I'd start at the beginning and keep at it from there ;) That would be "The Colour of Magic" followed by "The Light Fantastic".

      These were the first two Discworld books... but to be honest if you wanted to see more "mature" Discworld novels when Terry Pratchett had really grown into a better writer (the first two books were good conceptually but failed somewhat in the narrative), then I'd probably recommend "Guards, Guards" as the first book to read. Why? Well, it really sets up some more of the re
    • If you dislike Pratchett, and thought Good Omens was okay, then perhaps you should read some more Neil Gaiman. Try to dig up a Sandman book or two sometime.

      Most would put Good Omens in the top two of Pratchett's works. You could also try Dark Side Of The Sun, which is a standalone work in a completely different fictional universe and predates his Discworld stuff. Or Interesting Times, which is Discworld, but stands alone well...

    • Colour of Magic.

      Don't like that, and small gods, then you probably just not going to be a fan.

      However, there is a chance you may like one of the other "Sets"

      Gaurds! Gaurds! - Sam Vimes is a great character. Beat up, burned out Gaurd.

      Equal RItes - It's about witches, also some excellent charracters.

      The writing and humor can be subtle. I have been known to re-read one and still catch references.

      He may not be for everybody, but I got to love a guy who writes:
      "If it were funny, Clowns wouldn't be doing it."
    • by quantax (12175)
      I thought you should know 'Kingdom for Sale' is by Terry Brooks (not Pratchett, very different writer) and as far as fantasy-humor goes, is not very good in my opinion though his Shannarra series is entertaining if devoid of any real substance. Good Omens should not be compared to the rest of Pratchett's writing since it was a co-authored project and has a different, more ominous tone than most of his other books, something Gaiman is excellent at. Personally, I think 'Small Gods' is the single best Discworl
    • The interesting thing about Discworld is that, to borrow your phrase, it's a meaty bone. To that end, it actually works that there are a billion (actual number may vary) books set in it. It's an amazingly rich setting, with a semi-established history that makes it possible to write interesting novels about just about anything without getting stale, or running out of ideas. So really, unlike Good Omens (which I did like a lot, by the way), the world is more fully explored as you read through all the books
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Both Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music were done as animated series a few years back; they're available on DVD now - not at all bad. Judging by the trailer on one of the discs, Reaper Man was seriously considered too.
    • Both Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music were done as animated series a few years back; they're available on DVD now - not at all bad.

      You're kidding, right? The "Wyrd Sisters" animated (mini)series was utterly dreadful. I never even finished watching it, my eyes hurt that badly. The quality of animation was lousy even by BBC standards, and it was such a literal translation of the novel that it utterly failed as a screenplay. In fact, I'd hold it up as justification for every screenwriter and director who changes th
  • by know1 (854868) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @12:18PM (#14526811)
    ... in england, and has been for ages.
    honestly officer grimes, i've just left me thieves guild card at home!
  • Dakota Fanning is NOT to play the main female lead in this . please please please let it never be done. Also Emily Watson should not be considered since Alex Albrecht [sic] needs no more encouragement.

    I think also we should tie up Andy Soekris ( I dont care about the spelling ) .. Since this film does not feature a lead character falling from a great height.

    After that im happy is S.R. stays on the project.

  • by Psykechan (255694) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @12:46PM (#14526994)
    There was rumor of another Pratchett movie [lspace.org] that started popping up back in 1999. It's now 2006 and still no movie.
  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @12:55PM (#14527043) Homepage Journal
    "Wee Free Men" is one of his so-called childrens' books. It skews slightly younger while still being deep enough for the adults, it stands alone well even to a total Discworld newbie while still containing enough threads of the Discworld universe to please fans.. if done right this could be a Narnia-level of family fare that doesn't dumb things down too much for everyone else.
  • Converging lines (Score:3, Insightful)

    by svunt (916464) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @12:55PM (#14527047) Homepage Journal
    Well, as Pratchett's Discworld series has been getting more predictable, less thought-provoking and generally less entertaining for several years, it's no surprise that the film industry has decided that his time has come. Finally, he's nailed the mediocrity demanded by cinema, bravo Mr P!
    • by SteveAstro (209000)
      What ? You'd prefer the "thought provoking" Colour of Magic, to the predictable "Night Watch" ? Err.

      Steve
    • or, you know, you're getting used to his style.
    • by NoMaster (142776) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @06:53PM (#14529027) Homepage Journal
      I'd agree with you, in general - it seems like, for a while at least, he listened too much to the sad inbred clique of a.f.p. and wrote books that tried to fit everybody's favourite characters and bits in. After the first one of those, they became formulaic - every book had to have the Watch, A-M, the Wizards, at least a passing nod to the witches, etc.

      But it seems in the last couple of years he's woken up. "Going Postal" is a brilliant piece of work, capturing a clash between the public servant culture, modern business "ethics", and the engineer / hacker ethos. "Thief of Time" runs a close second to this - the description of the spinners going wild is the stuff power plant engineers nightmares are made of, while the whole thing is a nice piss-take / homage to a thousand martial arts movies (Rule One - heh! ;-).

      But still, the best stand-alone books would be "Pyramids" or "Small Gods". The latter, however, is probably too deep - it was my least favourite to start with but, having read it maybe a dozen times, each time I find some new deep cutting insight into organised religion, and enjoy it more and more...

      (It has to also be said that, for a long time there, the man couldn't write a decent ending to save his life. The later books, however, are much much better in this regard.)

      • I'd agree with you, in general - it seems like, for a while at least, he listened too much to the sad inbred clique of a.f.p. and wrote books that tried to fit everybody's favourite characters and bits in. After the first one of those, they became formulaic - every book had to have the Watch, A-M, the Wizards, at least a passing nod to the witches, etc.

        * fumes angrily at being referred to as part of a sad inbred clique, on SLASHDOT of all places *... but the rest of the point stands. From about Interestin

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