…I was trying for some take on ‘You Better, You Bet’ but it just wasn’t happening. Don’t blame me; I just watched National Treasure: Book of Secrets on DVD and my mind is mush. What? Disney sent it and I felt compelled to see if Nic Cage’s dentures and hairpiece really are alien technologies attempting to colonize his skull. That’s what I heard.
The real national treasure here (yeah, I just did that) is Phil Dick, and the word [in THR] is that Celluloid Dreams has optioned his novel Ubik for adaptation. Any new Phil Dick movie should rightly produce groans at this point, but Celluloid Dreams is a generally respectable label and so I’m cautiously interested. The author’s daughter, Isa Dick Hackett, is co-producing.
The novel begins in an alternate timeline, eventually flowing through shifts in reality thanks in part to psychic phenomena and a mysterious product, present in all timelines, called UBIK. I haven’t read the book in years but recall it as nearly magnificent. It’s coming off the shelf tonight.
In other Dick news, Electric Shephard and HBO Films are going forward with The Owl In Daylight, which appears to be to Dick what Naked Lunch (the film) was to William S. Burroughs. The title comes from the novel Dick was writing at the time of his death; the film will blend the novel and events of Dick’s life. Terry Gilliam collaborator Tony Grisoni is penning the screenplay, and you can read an interview with him over at Dickien, a French site dedicated to the author. (The interview is in English.)
Dick told the tale of a man, Ed Firmley – a crap composer of crap film music. Ed becomes the carrier for an alien being who comes from a place where there is no such thing as sound. No art predicated on sound. No music.
My idea was to have two characters – one is the historical Philip K. Dick. the other is Ed Firmley. I wanted these two characters to apparently inhabit two separate worlds – one is the fiction of the OWL IN DAYLIGHT story, the other is the (so-called) truth of historical PKD. Then I want to gradually merge the two. I want there to be a moment in the end where Ed fuses with Phil. In telling this story we take in some key moments in Phil’s life as flashback from his last days in a condominium filled with Dowland’s sad songs. But I have also written Phil into scenes drawn from his own fiction. The line between dreaming and actual reality is blurred. The tale folds back on itself.
Paul Giamatti is attached and I pray he makes the film. He was always my first choice for the role that went to Keanu Reeves in A Scanner Darkly (a choice vindicated by his great audiobook reading of the novel) and could make Owl a film worth seeing.
(Thanks to Etienne Barillier for passing the interview along.)