- 29 May 2008
- By John Howell
The French production company Celluloid Dreams has obtained the movie rights to Philip K. Dick's science fiction novel Ubik.
Ubik will join a growing list of Philip K. Dick novels and short stories that have been adapted into big screen movies (some badly, others brilliantly). Past movie adaptations include Blade Runner, Total Recall, Screamers, Imposter, Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly.
While a movie version of Dick’s masterwork Ubik is excellent news for fans of quality science fiction, its themes of regression and restoration, death and decay, the real and unreal, are likely to present challenges for any director hoping to capture the novel's complexity.
First published in 1969, Ubik tells the story of Joe Chip, a debt-ridden technician for a telepathic organisation that employs people with the ability to block certain psychic powers so they can secure other people's privacy. The novel is set in a world where psychic phenomena are commonplace.
Glen Runciter, the head of this telepathic organisation, is assisted by his deceased wife Ella, who is kept in a state of "half-life", a form of cryonic suspension. Someone in "half-life” has limited consciousness and communication ability, which slowly fades over time. Glen Runciter’s main adversary, Ray Hollis, heads another organisation of psychics.
When Joe's reality begins to fall apart, a mystical substance called Ubik, available in spray can form, appears to be the only thing that will help restore his reality and the reality of those around him.
In 2005, Time Magazine named Ubik one of the one hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923.
Celluloid Dreams and Electric Shepherd Productions will co-produce the new movie. Electric Shepherd Productions was founded by Philip K. Dick’s daughters, Laura Leslie and Isa Dick Hackett.
“We are thrilled to actively participate in adapting Ubik,” said Isa Dick Hackett. “Our dad very much wanted this novel to be reimagined in this way and we are happy to be partnering with Celluloid Dreams, whose overall vision and appreciation of the material is consistent with our own.”
Production on Ubik is scheduled to commence in early 2009.
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