Great! Sounds like a lot of fun! The last band I was in broke up when our drummer (and good friend) moved to Boston to attend Berklee School of Music. We're still in contact, but obviously playing together is out of the question.
foejump, groon, pterran, octobercountry,
Let's do a film - maybe not tomorrow - but in the near future. Where do you film makers hail from? Several members of my theatre class and I are talking about putting together a theater company and possibly a little indie-film company after gradutaion (sometime in the next 3-5 years). I have acted with and still writ for a theatre company in St. Louis and just finished acting in and directing a scene from The Martian Chronicles for my final scene in an acting class (Spender and Cpt. Wilder's truce scene from, "And The Moon Be Still As Bright." I think there are some really beautiful ideas from everyone here. I hail from Edwardsville, Illinois and now live just north of there in Worden. Where are you from? Email me if interested.
I'm down here in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. But with the wonders of the Internet, we can, er, work wonders.
Awesome. I live in California. Even though there is a little distance between us all, there is so much preproduction that could easily be done over the internet, such as writing scripts, sketching designs and storyboards, etc. I'd love to be involved!
Pterran & Groon,
Beautiful. Let's get our creative juices (and creative differences) flowing. Here's an idea to start and we can alwas fine tune and tweak along the way as time and distance allows.
I envision The Martian Chronicles being presented as a sort of "period piece" that looks at the story as it was invisioned by the writer and imagined by the readers of the earlt 1950s. With the look and feel of an early 1950s sci-fi film (a good one) and what they might have predicted 1999 and the years that followed to be like. Not what we, as inhabitants of 2003, think it would take to get to mars with space stations and space shuttles. Old fashioned rocket ships, uniforms, weapons, lingo, etc. could be used to tell the stories. I know it may sound a bit artsy but I really believe that black & white would work beautifully. There again, the audience is allowed to engage their imagination more and focus would be on the story and not a bunch of special effects. I do think it needs to be visually interesting as well, but that could be done with great scope rather than color and effects. The king of great visual scope that would also give it the look and feel of a Western, which is what kind of is - stories about pioneers.
What do you envision?
All right - I PROMISE from here on out to proofread before I post. Sorry.
Earlt, mars, king - jeeze!
I agree with most, if not all, of your points.
Taking the viewpoint as that from the early 50s and looking forward is a good idea. DisneyWorld has taken a similar view with its re-vamp of Tomorrowland and given it a classic look. I say do the same thing with The Martian Chronicles. Ray's vision was never intended as "realistic" and I don't think the story is served best by a similar approach. So looking from the 50s to a future as imagined by someone from that era is a terrific plan.
Ditto with your idea of using black and white. Somewhere else on this site there was a link to a small movie based on Dandelion Wine. Realistic, natural color spoiled the story for me. A look to the golden past should appear, well, golden, or sepia-tinted. Ray's vision of Mars was rather stark in places, with the moonlight meetings and the magnificent, destroyed cities being some of the more arresting images. There's some opportunity for color - I think Ray describes the water in the canals as being purple - but, if color should be used, it should be used in an unusual way, like thw washed out color of Saving Private Ryan or the hyper-realistic color of What Dreams May Come. Color shouldn't be a distraction but, rather, underscore the story, and I think B&W might actually lend itself best to this goal.
You touch on the them of pioneers and, of course, that's really what the Martian Chronicles is all about, isn't it? So the visual style of a western is best - wide open vistas, humans as specks on the landscape, underscoring the fact that they're in a strange, new world.
Because of the nature of the book - its a collection of similar-themed stories that are loosely, and sometimes not so loosely, connected - I think it's best we find some kind of narrative or "spine" to hang a story. This means, of course, discarding what might be the favorite stories of some. My personal favorites have always been There Will Come Soft Rains and The Million Year Picnic. But I think there's ample room to include many of the stories, keep them linked, and the story moving forward in an interesting way without losing the flavor of Bradbury.
I really like your idea for washed out and/or hyper-realistic color for certain parts of the story and of black and white being a good idea -which gave me an idea. The story could be presented as an anthology of stories (which it is) with appropriate color schemes being applied to each individual story, this could be applied to many aspects of the film making process for the stories. Each story could have its own musical composer ranging from grand western-like music to surreal Twilight Zone-esque music to minimilastic, poignant scores to no music at all. Different set designers, cinematographers and directors could be used for each story.
Just a thought really as it might prove to be a bit messy. Perhaps these ideas could still be applied to the stories along the narrative spine you mention. In the spirit of the 50s films I really think a narrator would serve the story well (Bradbury uses a narrator in his stage adaptation). Maybe a gentle female voice that speaks from within a book from the Martian library (there's a narrative spine possibility).
Again - this is all just stream of consciousness here - writing it as I think it in front of the keyboard.
One of my favorites that has to stay in the picture is, "And The Moon Be Still As Bright."
"And The Moon Be Still As Bright" is another of my favorites as well. So, thus, it stays.
The color scheme idea is interesting. It was used to particular effectiveness by Soderbergh in that drug movie of his, the title of which obviously escapes me. But he used it to help differentiate the story lines. That might help with your idea of keeping it an anthology of stories.
But I'm opposed to the idea of an anthology. That might work for a book but it would be more difficult to pull off for a movie. Not impossible, though.
The narrator could solve what I see as the anthology problem. (A gentle, female voice - perfect! Re-watcing 2001 recently, I was struck by Kubrick/Clarke's decision to make the voice of HAL gentle and soothing. Used to a different effect, of course, but I hung on "his" every word.) I haven't read the play version but I agree it would be helpful in adapting the material for film. In fact, I would argue that for the movie to have a maximum impact, and minimal cost, it should be more like a play than a special-effects laden movie. That is, because the book is so laden with metaphors, the entire movie should be considered as such. Meaning that any kind of "realistic" FX would take away from the impact of the stories themselves. Ray didn't intend his book to be a "realistic" depiction of Martian stories; he always takes great pains to differentiate between science fiction and science fantasy. Since MC is clearly science fantasy, I don't think a movie version should be bound by a devotion to "realistic" FX. Which is all to say, much can be implied and said with metaphor, similar to a stage version.
(The pictures I've seen in Journey to Far Metaphor shows some of the stage versions of MC. The Martians are presented with elaborate masks and robes. Highly effective for the stage, I think. But not necessarily for film. While I don't think the Martians should be CGI, they should different enough to evoke their alienness.)
Shouldn't they be dark and golden-eyed?
Wow, it sounds like we're really on the right track! I think the idea of an anthology strung together by a narrator id great. I think it would be a bad idea to try and morph all the stories into one big story like they did in the old mini-series with Rock Hudson. I think that the color/B&W issue should vary from story to story. The richness of color in certain stories could be really impacting. Imagine Ben Driscoll's trees all sprouting up and the contrast of lush green forest on stark red desert! I have some very vivid images in my mind for how certain things in this book look. I'm gonna go do some sketches!
I read Martian Chronicles LONG before I ever heard of Nelly Furtado, and before she got famous, but when she came out, I thought she looked esactly how I always pictured Ylla (with the right clothing/makeup, and golden eyes of course) Here's an example:
[This message has been edited by groon (edited 12-16-2003).]
You're right, of course! But then I thought since it goes without saying that the Martians were dark and golden eyed I, er, didn't say it.
Thanks for the input.
I look forward to your sketches. Nice point on Nelly Furtado. Wonder if she's available. (For the movie, that is.)
I definitely think the anthology idea would be a mess (I was "thinking out loud"). Narrator - good.
Special effects - which ever ones need to be done should definitely NOT be cgi. Practical effects always work best and end up not dating a film too much when viewed through the years, i.e. 2001, Silent Running, Superman - they also lend just the right amount of realism to the story. If you're like me, and I know I am, cgi always snaps you out of the film, "Oh look computer generated effects - boring."
I have a design in mind for Ylla's "flying chariot."
I look forward to groon's drawings as well.
I'm going to read the book again over Christmas break for inspiration.
On casting the Martians.
Nelly Furtato has good features but I think they should be played by actors and actresses with extremely mixed ethnic bacgrounds. Golden complections, unique bone structure, proportions and features, etc. I envision them being very graceful - played by dancers, mimes - Cirque DiSoleli kind of stuff. Stilts, contortion, quirkyness, etc.
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