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Altered Carbon in development...again

AlteredCarbon.jpgBack in September of 2007 there was a strike that hit Hollywood pretty hard, the Screen Actors, Directors and Writers Guilds were taking to the pavements and that meant that a number of projects were going to be affected and a number were going to be rushed through before the strikes. One of those was reported to be Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon.

It never happened though, along with a number of other projects, and a great science fiction novel and character missed their chance. However word is that the project is on the go again.

I am a little confused by the story that says the rights have just been bought to the novel, considering back in 2007 Warner Bros. were actually contemplating racing the story through production before the strikes they must have handed the rights back, or let them default. The entry from that article was:

Studio: Warner Bros. Altered Carbon Director: James McTeigue

Now though we're hearing that the rights to the Richard Morgan novel have been bought by Mythology Entertainment and that Laeta Kalogridis and David Goodman will be adapting it for a screenplay.

The story comes from an un-referenced story on Variety through ShockTillYouDrop. Here's the blurb for the book Altered Carbon (Play / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com):

In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person's consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or "sleeve") making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.

Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Dispatched one hundred eighty light-years from home, re-sleeved into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco, now with a rusted, dilapidated Golden Gate Bridge), Kovacs is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats "existence" as something that can be bought and sold. For Kovacs, the shell that blew a hole in his chest was only the beginning.

The novel read like a private detective film noir and conjured similar images in my mind except it was placed in a dark and gritty future. What I particularly liked about it was that none of the technology and science fiction took you out of the story and it flowed well, presenting a character you connected with and ideas that you not only understood but believed as well.

Richard Morgan's official site has a blog, something I didn't realise before today, and his latest entry from the start of this month reveals the news was on its way:

"...also this month, look out for an official announcement and status update on the Altered Carbon film deal - some very impressive names attached...none of which I'm at liberty to divulge right now..."

So it is a go. The writers of the screenplay, Laeta Kalogridis and David Goodman, have some strong credits behind them with Kalogridis having written Shutter Island and working on Battle Angel for James Cameron, and Goodman (if it's the same one I'm thinking of) wrote some of Enterprise some Family Guy and the upcoming Hong Kong Phooey. Okay maybe not great credits for Altered Carbon, perhaps I'm on the wrong writer! If it's another David Goodman then we could be looking to television shows like Fringe and The Event.

This isn't the only Richard Morgan novel that's attracting Hollywood's attention either:

"...meanwhile, Market Forces is in informal development with Forward Films - of recent Grabbers fame - in London. Forward's Kate Myers has been a friend of my work for nearly a decade now; it was she who first mooted the idea of an Altered Carbon movie, back before anyone in Hollywood had had it brought to their attention, back before the book had even hit the shelves, in fact. Now, she's bringing the same vision to bear on the wolf-eat-hyena world of future corporate finance and one Chris Faulkner's blood-stained rise to power. So keep your fingers crossed."

This is a very different novel to the series starring Takeshi Kovacs and I think is going to be a much harder sell in Hollywood. I can see Kovacs making it to a couple of films, although the idea of a corporate world where financers fight each other in the streets to rise through the ranks is rather interesting and might relate well to the world we're seeing today.

Fingers crossed for Altered Carbon though, it's a great story and a great character.



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