I just got a copy of Science Fiction Review #10, from May 1992. In “The Ghost in the Android” Charles Coulombe reviews major themes in PK Dick’s oeuvre using the films Blade Runner and Total Recall as starting points. These were the only PKD based movies available 20 years ago, when Paul Williams was PKD’s literary executor, and the Philip K. Dick Society had 1139 members around the world. The article gives us (based on information from Paul Williams) a list of film projects based on PKD materials that were being developed then:
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (by Vanguard Films)
The Father Thing: Rights were negotiated with MGM/UA and a script written by William F. Nolan and Dan Curtis. The story was one part of a three-part TV series called Trilogy of Terror II, a sequel to a Dan Curtis 70′s movie. Trilogy of Terror II was eventually made in 1996 by Dan Curtis, based on a script by Nolan, but it did not include the Father Thing.
UBIK: Rights were purchased by an independent company for a low budget movie that was to be started in 1991. A script has been written for the movie.
Rights to use In the Mold of Yancy and The PENULTIMATE TRUTH were purchased by Gary Moskowitz to use the central idea, of a manufactured political figure, that is behind both pieces. Moskowitz had produced a couple of video documentaries on Playboy playmates at the time (and not much more since).
TIME OUT OF JOINT: the book had been optioned by Warner Bothers for many years. The screenwriter Sam Hamm (Batman) placed a script for it with Batman producers Guber-Peters. Despite Paul Williams prediction that the script won’t lie around for long, nothing happened to it.
There was also mention of an interest by Terry Gilliam to make a PKD movie.
Twenty years and 10 PKD movies later, none of these projects were made (for the best, in some cases) and they are all gathering dust somewhere. The only movie title in this list which is underway is UBIK by Gondry, but it is a different project.
Below you’ll find the list of movie projects underway today. Let’s revisit it in 2032 and be surprised.
- Flow My Tears The Policeman Said: Halcyon Co. co-founders and co-CEOs Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson, who picked up first-look rights to sci-fi author Philip K. Dick’s estate in 2007, have selected his 1974 novel “Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said” as the first of his works they will adapt for the screen.
- Ubik. Michel Gondry, French movie director, has been picked to make a movie out of Philip K. Dick’s masterpiece, Ubik. Gondry, who has directed many documentaries and videos, is better known for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a somewhat dickian storyline about erasing and implementing memories in people’s brain (like in Total Recall). His more recent movie was an adaptation of The Green Hornet. Shooting may not start before the end of year 2011.
- The Man in the High Castle. A four-hour miniseries, written by British playwright and screenwriter Howard Brenton (The Churchill Play, Spooks), based on The Man in the High Castle, is under production in Great Great Britain. Ridley Scott, director of Blade Runner is the producer. The Hugo Award-winning The Man in the High Castle is set in an alternate world where Nazi Germany and Japan’s Axis powers actually defeated the American Allied forces in World War II.
- The King of the Elves (2012). Based on the only fantasy short story writtem by PKD, this will be an Pixar/Disney animated feature. The story follows an average man living in the Mississippi Delta, whose reluctant actions to help a desperate band of elves leads them to name him their new king. Joining the innocent and endangered elves as they attempt to escape from an evil and menacing troll, their unlikely new leader finds himself caught on a journey filled with unimaginable dangers and a chance to bring real meaning back to his own life.