George Orwell’s seminal 1949 dystopian novel, “1984,” arguably has as high a profile now as it ever did. In fact, if you say “1984” to someone they’d probably think of the book before they think of the year. Even for those that haven’t read the book, the title is synonymous with totalitarian politics, propaganda and the surveillance culture, and “Big Brother” is now even an established global brand of exploitative reality television.
The story follows a man named Winston Smith in a world which has been through a nuclear war. He works for a government branch called the Ministry of Truth, but harbors desires for both a rebellion and an illicit love affair. The book was last adapted for the screen back in (you guessed it) 1984, in a less than memorable flick directed by Michael Radford and starring John Hurt and Richard Burton. The book is now set for a fresh film adaptation thanks to the persistence of an unlikely champion of the novel.
Graphic designer Shepard Fairey is probably best known for creating the Barack Obama “Hope” poster, but cinema audiences may recognize him from his appearance in the Banksy documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” Apparently Fairey was instrumental in bringing the project to Imagine, who then simultaneously pursued the rights for the novel at the same time as LBI Entertainment, and the production houses decided to team up on the project. We can’t see any reason why the story wouldn’t resonate as much today as it has in the past, if not perhaps more so, and done well this could be right up there with the very best dystopian science-fiction noir. There’s room alongside “Brazil” and “Blade Runner” up at the top, right? Any suggestions for who should direct? [THR]