Help crowd-fund a short film of China Miéville’s “Familiar”, to be done with practical effects

familiar_art2I’m all for supporting fan projects to do with China Miéville’s works, and this one looks pretty cool. Mythos Films and director Joshua Gates are adapting China’s short story “Familiar” into a short film, and have turned to Kickstarter to get funding for their practical effects. Here’s the link to the project’s Kickstarter page.

I’m very much in favour of the recent movement to bring back practical effects in a big way (see, for instance, the crowd-funded horror film Harbinger Down, as well as the myriad practical effects going into the new Star Wars film). It’s getting to be a rare art-form these days, but there’s just something about well-made practical effects that shine over CGI. You just need to compare John Carpenter’s incredible The Thing to its recent, forgettable CGI prequel to see what I mean.

The director of this short film feels the same way:

The Familiar was never meant to be shot with digital effects. It must be brought to life with real tools, real parts. It must live. It must breathe! […] Each component will be hand crafted with love and rendered using the latest in animatronics and puppetry.

That’s awesome. “Familiar” is a gross, body-horror-esque dark fantasy story, and this approach to film-making is going to serve it well.

familiarSo far on the campaign page there’s a creepy trailer, which captures the tone of the original story, as well as some concept art. I’m sure there will be more updates as the campaign goes on. It ends on November 16, and I wish them all the best with the fundraising!

New trailer and clip from SyFy’s The Magicians adaptation

magicians_wallCheck out the brand new trailer and 3-minute clip from the upcoming TV adaptation of one of my absolute favourite fantasy novels, The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

I’ve blogged a few times in the past about this project, but I’ve decided I won’t be bringing exhaustive coverage or analysis in the future — I just don’t have the time. I will continue to make quick posts like this for things like trailer releases, and my thoughts on the show when it finally airs in January next year.

Anyway, this new footage looks amazing, and I am totally thrilled for the series to begin!

Edit: And here’s the 1-hour long panel about the show at New York Comic Con.

BBC’s The City & the City miniseries confirmed!

cityskullJust a quick update: BBC have issued a press release confirming that they are going ahead with making a four-hour miniseries based on China Miéville’s The City & the City. Exciting! I talked a little more about my thoughts on the project when I first caught wind of it back in February. Check out the press release and my older post for more info.

It will come to BBC Two in the near future… fingers crossed for next year. Maybe next we’ll hear some casting news, which will be exciting! I’ll bring all the updates as the project continues.

The Magicians TV series: the first trailer and some quick thoughts

Here’s the first trailer for SyFy’s The Magicians TV series, which has been picked up for a full season and will air in 2016! These books are some of my favourites of all time, and in the past I’ve talked about some of the approaches I hope SyFy takes for the show. It’s all just my wishful thinking, mind.

Anyway, the trailer looks very stylish, although I still don’t really like the ageing up of all the characters. I suppose I’ll get used to it quickly if the actors are good in their roles — and I have no reason to suspect they’re not!

Now let me talk about a few of the things I noticed…


The City & the City may become a four-part BBC drama

mieville01_bIn tentative, but potentially exciting, news, it’s been revealed that screenwriter Tony Grisoni is adapting China Miéville’s novel The City & the City for the BBC as a four-part drama. This news comes from a recent article on Screen Daily — I went a step further and dug up Grisoni’s keynote, in which he announces the project, on Youtube. He only mentions it right at the end, and doesn’t actually say anything further about it, but the video is worth watching anyway if you’re interested in television drama.

Grisoni is probably best known as the screenwriter for Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, as well as a handful of other Gilliam projects. I’m not very familiar with his work, but hearing him talk about writing for TV in that video reassures me that the story will be in good hands.

If this goes forward, it won’t be the first adaptation of the novel; in 2013 it was staged as a play at the Lifeline Theatre in Chicago. I would have killed to see this play! Hopefully there’ll be renewed interest at some point, and some other production company will stage it in the future.

Kim_BodniaI’m keeping all fingers crossed that the TV production becomes a real thing! It will be fascinating to see how they visually represent the “seeing” of the separate cities. I’m hoping for a kind of dark, moody adaptation, rather like the excellent Swedish/Danish crime drama Bron/Broen (AKA The Bridge). Talking of which, wouldn’t Kim Bodnia (who played Martin in that show) be perfect as Tyador Borlú? I’m picturing it now, and I like it.

Hopefully I’ll be bringing further news and updates on this project in the future. So keep on reading Out There Books!

7 things SyFy should do when adapting The Magicians

magicianscoverCable networks seem to be snapping up SF/F properties left and right ever since Game of Thrones turned out to be a massive success. Recently, the network SyFy has declared their plans to adapt a number of book series, and the series I am both most excited and most trepidatious about is Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.

I absolutely love that series. I first read The Magicians in paperback back in 2010, and I have since bought the hardcover and audiobook versions of all three. The audiobooks are particularly special to me, thanks to the amazing narration and characterisation given by the actor Mark Bramhall. Combining reads and listens, I’ve now “read” the first book thrice, the second (The Magician King) twice, and the third (The Magician’s Land) once… so far.

I really hope SyFy manages to capture what I love about the books so much: the unique psychology of human depression when faced with magical wonderlands; the, at turns, awe-inspiring and creepy atmosphere; the countless homages to Harry Potter and Narnia, among many other fantasy classics; and the endless creativity of the world Grossman has built.

Precious few details have been revealed so far about the direction SyFy is taking with the adaptation, apart from a few preliminary casting details. Quickly on that topic: Eliot’s actor is a bit too pretty for my tastes (he’s supposed to have a slightly strange face due to his twisted jaw), and now I’m nervous that they won’t keep Josh the tubby dude he is, but they’ll cast someone “TV fat”, i.e.: not fat at all.

Anyway, I’ve given quite a bit of thought as to how the complex structure of the Magicians trilogy would work on screen, and I thought I would list some things that, in my opinion, SyFy should do when adapting these books. Various bits and pieces of this list have been cribbed from my past posts on Reddit and other forums. So, here are my thoughts. SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!