Hey folks, Harry here... if the following story is true, which I hope to God it is.... if Scorsese is looking at doing a science fiction film series, then this is a genius move on his part. The HYPERION series is as great science fiction series as there is in existence. Wonderful characters, beautiful storytelling and absolutely compelling throughout. With Coppola doing Science Fiction next - this could be something truly remarkable. WOW...
Lorrimer here. You've posted a couple of tidbits from me in the past. This one isn't a big secret or anything, but I haven't seen anything about it yet on your site.
Dan Simmon's Hyperion saga is one of the best series of science fiction novels in the last several years, if not ever. It's not really a series; it's two long stories each split into two books. Amazing characters, amazing literary references, amazing prose, and one of the most amazing far-future human civilization concepts ever. Mind-blowing stuff. I've always assumed there was no way this could be made into a movie -- the plot is broad and complex (almost to the point of incomprehensibility at times), the amount of CGI that would be necessary is staggering, and the themes are profoundly mature.
Dan Simmons spoke at the University Bookstore in Seattle a few nights ago. Among a bunch of great stuff, he told us that the screen rights for the Hyperion saga have been sold to a major studio -- and that a major star and major director are in talks for a trilogy of movies based on the Hyperion saga. He pointed out that this is the movie business and anything can happen; nothing is definite. He told us that he's not allowed to announce who it is.
But he is allowed to give hints. And he gave us a pretty solid goddamn hint.
He said the director and star did a movie together very recently. He said something about it being a movie with an extravagant budget. And then he said, and I'm attempting to quote him from memory, it was a movie "about some gangs in some city somewhere."
Is Martin Scorsese directing Leonardo DiCaprio in a fucking trilogy of movies based on the Hyperion saga?
If so, if this actually happens, it may be the first real attempt to do with the science fiction genre what Peter Jackson is trying to do with the fantasy genre with Lord of the Rings. Adapt a major genre epic, do it right, don't dumb it down, use cutting-edge technology to attempt something always considered impossible. God, I hope this is what's happening.
More info from Dan Simmons on the possible trilogy:
When the studio first bought the rights, they had a group of young, up-and-coming screenwriters do a treatment. Simmons says this treatment was overly faithful to the four books, making it far too long and unwieldy. In response, he wrote a 15-page treatment himself in which he says he "deconstructed" the novels and reconceived them in such a way to make them viable for a motion picture trilogy. Here be spoilers:
Raul Endymion and Aenea, the main characters of the second pair of books, are the main characters of the whole trilogy of movies -- their love story becomes central. The aforementioned big star wants to play Raul.
To accomplish this, Raul Endymion and Aenea are on the Shrike Pilgrimage which is the story of the first novel in the series. This is obviously a major change to the novels; it's so extreme that it would be inconceivable for anyone but the author himself to propose it. I have no idea how he's going to make this work, but I have to say I trust him. The Hyperion saga as written in the novels would not work as a movie, even as a trilogy of movies. But a trilogy which reconstructs the characters, plot points, and themes of the books in a new way could be brilliant.
He only answered a few questions (each answer ended up leading him into fascinating 15-minute digressions), but I was able to ask whether "The Priest's Tale" was still in the treatment. It has my favorite scene from the books, but it would probably be an easy cut. He smiled, and said it's in -- he said there's no way he could pass up putting the visual of the tesla trees on screen. Damn straight.
So that's what I've got. If you haven't read Hyperion and you have any taste for grownup science fiction, put it at the top of your list. Now if only they'd do this for Stephen R. Donaldson's Gap series...