It’s a Brave New World: Ridley Scott’s first SF movie since 1982

Aldus Huxley's Brave New World The Times Online reports that Aldous Huxley’s science fiction classic Brave New World (1932) will be turned into a big budget movie directed by Ridley Scott and staring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Ridley Scott, director of the science fiction masterwork Blade Runner , hasn’t made a science fiction movie since 1982. The news that he will direct an adaptation of Brave New World is surprising given that at the Venice Film Festival in 2007 he claimed the science fiction genre was as dead as the western.

“There’s nothing original,” he said. “We’ve seen it all before. Been there. Done it”.

Talking to i09, Ridley said that he hadn't chosen to make Brave New World , instead "someone came to me with it. In fact it was Leo's [Leonardo DiCaprio's] production company that came to me with that. And it's a big challenge".

He went on to say that George Orwell (author of another science fiction classic 1984 ) and Aldous Huxley were the two big visionaries in the field and he thought Leo would be perfect for the project. When asked whether there was a script yet he said "we're still struggling with that one" and "the hardest single thing is getting it on paper".

It will be fascinating to see what the director of the genre classics Alien and Blade Runner can produce from such rich source material. Twenty-nine years is much too long between science fiction movies. Not that I haven't enjoyed Gladiator , Kingdom of Heaven or Black Hawk Down , but I think science fiction is the medium in which he excels.

Brave New World is set in a futuristic dystopia where research facilities mass produce and socially condition test-tube babies. There are five genetic classes (Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons) bred for specific purposes: from intellectuals and managers to manual labourers. The classes are numbed into conformity and docility by recreational sex, mind altering drugs, and sensory shows called “feelies”. Leonardo DiCaprio will star as "John the Savage", who in contrast to the majority, has been brought up naturally on a reservation. Part of the novel follows his experiences in this new world order.

Ridley recently released the movie Body of Lies staring DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, and is working on the Robin Hood reinvention also staring Russell Crowe . Given the frequent appearance of Russell Crowe in his movies, maybe we’ll see a cameo in Brave New World ?

Brave New World has only become possible since legal disputes amongst Aldous Huxley’s relatives were settled.

Arguably Huxley's most famous novel, Brave New World’s ironic title is derived from a line in Shakespeare’s The Tempest :

O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world
That hath such people in't!

It’s great to see Hollywood tackling classic science fiction novels like Brave New World and the new Dune movie directed by Peter Berg , there are hundreds out there that deserve the big budget treatment, and Brave New World is certainly one of them. Can't wait.

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