Catherine Hardwick, known for her alternative youth culture knack (naughty girl subpolitics of Thirteen, edge riding trendsetters at the dawn of skateboarding in Lords of Dogtown and teen pregnancy in The Nativity), is looking to add some righteous recognition to the environmentalist movement by helming the film adaptation of The Monkey Wrench Gang. Gang centers on the fictional exploits of a small band of disenfranchised men who set out to protect Southern Utah* from the expansionist railroads, polluting men of industry and the bastards who created Lake Powell via the Glen Canyon dam.
So how do you make a film about four environmental terrorists and place them in a positive light when the idea of modern-day environmentalist extremism elicits images of unshaven wildmen and women blowing up perfectly good ski lodges and melting poor, unsuspecting SUVs in between conspiring at underground tofu houses across the country? Make them loveable, quirky and relatively normal. Gang was written in 1975, when fellas who loved the land still ate red meat and drank beer in an effort to drain the cans for target practice.
The Monkey Wrench Gang will be adapted by William “I’ve got a ton of credits notched in my bedpost and two Oscars to prove it” Goldman and will begin filming in New Mexico come May. Which is weird, since last time I checked, Southern Utah was still around. Stupid tax rebates.
*If you’ve ever experienced the beautiful, surreal and expansive landscapes of Southern Utah, you’ll certainly understand the gangs (misguided) attempts to save them. How’s that for purple prose bordering romanticism.