I haven’t heard much news about Mike Barker’s forthcoming TV movie of Moby Dick, except that it is still in postproduction. There are small poster images here and here. Assuming that Timur Bekmambetov’s supernatural adaptation is a long way off (he has three other films in production in the meantime, including his Tim Burton collaboration Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), the next “adaptation” in this recent flurry of Moby Dick films (unless Danny Glover gets his Ahab in first with Dragon Fire) might prove to be Asylum’s 2010: Moby Dick. Asylum have carved out a distinctive niche as the most brazen producers and distributors of exploitation movies on the market, riding a current wave of self-congratulatory affection for trash by making films that are more fun to imagine and anticipate than they are to watch (such as their run of marine monster movies Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus, Mega Piranha), or piggybacking mainstream blockbusters with their timely titles including 2012: Supernova, Snakes on a Train, The 18 Year-Old VIrgin, Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls, or Paranormal Entity. So, one can only imagine what they’re going to do with Herman Melville’s novel, apart from the obvious trick of hurling a big sea mammal at a big ship. No trailers are available yet, but you can find some images at Asylum’s website here. And read more at Live for Films, io9, or Cinefantastique.
[Image designed by Mark Weaver for the Kitsune Noir blog.]
Adaptations of Moby Dick are like buses. You wait ages for one to arrive, and then two arrive at once. And then, once you’re on board, you look out of the rear window to see there’s a third one catching up, and this one’s got Danny Glover in it!
I’ve been watching for updates on adaptations of Moby Dick currently in production. There were two, directed by Mike Barker (possibly ready later this year) and Timur Bekmambetov (I’m betting this will get postponed if it ever gets made at all). Now you can add a third adaptation to the slate. Earlier this month, shooting began in Utah on Dragon Fire, starring Danny Glover as Captain Ahab, and Vinnie Jones as Stubb and Corey Sevier as Ishmael. The twist is that they’re not chasing a white whale (the Utah setting might make that tricky), but a white dragon. The rest, presumably, writes itself. “Moby Dick with dragons” must have been one of the quickest, simplest pitches in movie history. A shame about the $5 million budget, but it looks like an opportunity to use old school animatronics and puppetry. You can see a video from the set here:
[See also How to Watch Werckmeister Harmonies]
And so continues a period of whale-watching at Spectacular Attractions. Having finally made the time to read Moby Dick over the summer, along with Philip Hoare’s Leviathan (a personal account of his fascination with whales, retracing the influences on Melville’s book), I got a bit interested in whales. I’m about to watch Lloyd Bacon’s mad, fast and loose adaptation from 1930, and then I’ll have a go at the other versions, some of which I’ve seen before, none of them recently. There are currently two (count them!) new adaptations of Moby Dick in production, the first a TV mini-series due for broadcast next year. It’s a German production with a British director, Mike Barker, and an American cast including William Hurt as Ahab and Ethan Hawke as Starbuck. The second is one of those “re-imaginings” that can bode so badly for all concerned, but it might just be crazy enough to work. It’s to be directed, alarmingly (but tellingly) by Timur Bekmambetov, director of gun-fetish gravity-mocking action movies like Wanted, and has no cast attached as yet. I’ll offer some updates as and when I can find them.
[The image above (like the one at the bottom of this post) is from a design by Paul Lasaine for an abandoned version of Moby Dick developed by Dreamworks, directed by the Brizzi brothers. You can see several more images at his blog. The plan was to tell the story from the whale's point of view; a fascinating idea that the studio didn't want to follow up. My whale fixation continues in a post about Bela Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies.]
I’m planning to post updates here on Spectacular Attractions about the two forthcoming adaptations of Moby Dick, along with notes about earlier versions. It’s something I’m distracted by at the moment, so this is an outlet. If anyone has further information than I can gather from the Web, please add comments below.