Spielberg to film Michael Crichton’s final book
Steven Spielberg has decided to bring the last work by his departed friend Michael Crichton to the screen. They were a damn good team before (anyone remember Jurassic Park?) and we’ve got to assume the team will work again… especially since this book is about pirates. That’s right, Spielberg and pirates, together at last (no, Hook doesn’t count).
Behind the News
Steven Spielberg and Michel Crichton always had a pretty special relationship. It makes sense, after all it was Crichton ‘s book that inspired Spielberg to make Jurassic Park (the highest grossing film ever made at the time), which in turn lead to the gentle bearded director nurturing Crichton’s Hollywood career (including helping bring the writer dream TV series ER to the air and getting his friends to give a few of Crichton’s books the blockbuster treatment). The pair were quite loyal until Crichton’s untimely and rather sad death in November of last year. But ever loyal and sentimental, today Steven Spielberg has taken steps to ensure that Crichton’s death will not be the end of their great collaboration.
Michael Crichton was putting the finishing touches on his final novel Pirate Latitudes when he passed away. The book isn’t set for publication until November, but Spielberg has already picked up the rights for Crichton’s wacky pirate adventure and has hired Jurassic Park screenwriter David Koepp to hammer out the script. Little is known about the book at this time beyond the fact that it is about pirates. Thanks to Johnny Depp and co. pirates are pretty lucrative subject matter these days, so expect this film to get made.
CEO and co-chair of Dreamworks Stacey Snider spoke to USA Today about the project calling it “a mission movie. We see that world through the prism of what it might have been like to live on the island during that time.” So, I guess it’s a slightly unconventional pirate tale then. When asked if Dreamworks was making the movie purely to try and cash in on the success of Pirates Of The Caribbean, Snider quickly dismissed the idea saying “We would only pursue this if it was wonderful in its own way, and didn’t interfere with their films,” adding, “Without Michael knowing it, or even me knowing it, it turns out Steven always wanted to direct his own pirate film.” The last thing she said is pretty odd given that Spielberg has already made Hook. But I guess that movie was such a disaster that even Spielberg would like to pretend it didn’t happen. For all intents and purposes, Pirate Latitudes will be his first ever pirate film and don’t you dare suggest otherwise!
So, what’s Spielberg got to say about all this? Surely the biggest director in the world would like to weigh in on the issue. Don’t worry, I’ve got some thoughts from the big guy. Spielberg expressed his pleasure to be working with Crichton again, even if it’s sadly posthumously. “Michael and I have had almost two decades of solid collaborations. Whenever I made a film from a Michael Crichton book or screenplay, I knew I was in good hands. Michael felt the same, and we like to think he still does,” said Spielberg. Aw…ain’t that sweet?
It’s gotta be said that there is a hell of a good chance that this will be a solid movie. After all, if anyone can direct some rip-roaring high seas adventures it’s Spielberg. Obviously I’m not familiar with the unpublished Michael Crichton novel, but given the talent already involved in the movie, I think we can assume it’s good. Bringing in David Koepp is a stroke of genius as well (and it speaks to the quality of the material that he’s doing it, since Koepp is now a director in his own right and no longer needs to write for hire). Koepp has done a great job of cutting down Crichton’s work to the basics to make a movie in the past and I think we can look forward to him doing the same thing again here. It’s still pretty crappy that Crichton is gone, but if we’ve still got another book and potentially another Steven Spielberg blockbuster adaptation on the way, that should help ease the pain.
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