Monday, April 3, 2017

Strange Lands Demand Strange Strangers

Look, I hate to rush this but we need a big-budget adaptation of Stranger in a Strange Land within the next couple of years.

Yes, I've heard the SyFy channel's planning a series "based" on it, but that's beside the point.
First off, this is not a narrative which lends itself well to serialization. Friday cliffhangers and commercial breaks will ruin both its long-winded pedantic diatribes and its overall crescendo.
Second... come on, it's SyFy. Have they made a single half-decent thing since 1999? Is there even the slightest chance this isn't doomed to become an utter rape of Heinlein's corpse? Am I asking rhetorical questions?

Third, and most importantly, Jack Nicholson's almost eighty years old now, and we need to see Nicholson playing Jubal Harshaw. See, the real star of Stranger isn't Valentine Michael Smith. Like many of the best SF books, it hinges on a few lengthy monologues in which the hero's mentor describes the failings of the world. From the moment I first read this novel back in my teens I've never seen a better actor for the role of the grizzled, sybaritic, bristling, sardonic, antiheroic, swaggering gadfly Father Jubal Harshaw.

I don't care if you have to pry the rights out of NBC's slimy, grasping, profiteering, lowest-common-denominating claws. Someone decent needs to scrape together a big enough budget to hire Nicholson for a devoted three-and-a-half hour big-screen adaptation. Jubal's not just any role. He's a Diogenes. He is one of the defining "nerd's nerd" characters in SF, and deserves worthy treatment.

Dig Nicholson out of his presumed retirement, throw a bucket of cold water over him and hand him a script, and do it fast, before the old codger croaks of old age and the thousand sequelae of good living a film star's flesh is heir to.
Get on it, Hollywood.

No comments:

Post a Comment