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Verheiden writing Quartermain

AllanQuatermain.jpgMark Verheiden is set to write a script called Quatermain for Disney. Set to be a science fiction film, the plot is being kept under wraps for now and there's no clear idea of what the film is about. However I think I have an idea, and it's all in the title.

There's nothing else apparent in the news story, it's just more of an announcement, but that title sparked something off in me and my mind was soon racing ahead. Is Verheiden writing about a character we've already seen in film and was first written about in 1885.

When I first read in that Mark Verheiden was writing a script called Quartermain I was slightly confused because I was thinking of a character from another film, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and I began wondering if we were going to see a spin off story for the character of Allan Quartermain, played by Sean Connery.

Allan Quartermain first appeared in 1885 in a novel called King Solomon's Mines, after that the character was part of an ongoing franchise by H. Rider Haggard (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) that went through to 1888 with three novels, and resurrected in 1912 for a further ten novels to 1927.

Alan Moore (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) has used the character in his The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and two sequels, the first of which I've read and does not compare to the original League story and hardly features the characters doing anything at all.

These stories sparked the big screen outing of Quatermain in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen directed by Stephen Norrington and starring Connery, Naseeruddin Shah, the gorgeous Peta Wilson, Tony Curran, Stuart Townsend, Jason Flemyng, Richard Roxburgh and Shane West. While most view it as a terrible film, including Connery, I think it's actually a very good adaptation and an enjoyable film with some superb characters.

It's not the first screen outing for the character though, Richard Chamberlain also played him in Allan Quartermain and the Lost City of Gold with Sharon Stone and James Earl Jones alongside him. There was a 2008 sequel called Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls, but without any of the original names on board.

Anyway, that's your potted history of the Victorian adventurer who has some special, but very human skills when it comes to the outdoors.

If Quatermain is about the character then it's not the first character used in that story that we're seeing coming to the big screen, and although they have appeared in literature before, it's interesting that they've all come from this film. Captain Nemo, in possibly two films, and Dorian Gray are on their way, and with David S. Goyer writing a sequel to The Invisible Man, perhaps there's something more going on here that we didn't first appreciate.

Or perhaps it's all coincidence, and actually when science fiction is mentioned I think it perhaps is, and that's a shame because the character could be a superb one for the big screen, and Mark Verheiden is a strong writer who could bring new life to him. That said I'd even like a new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.



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