Monday, 10 November 2008

Red Eagle Entertainment talk about The Wheel of Time movie

Red Eagle Entertainment have spoken to Dragonmount about their plans to adapt The Wheel of Time as a series of big-budget movies, starting with The Eye of the World. The announcement that Universal had bought the rights and would be developing the project alongside REE was generally poorly received by fans, mainly because Robert Jordan had made it clear with one of the final blog entries before his passing that he did not want Red Eagle involved with any further adaptions of his work (following the New Spring comic debacle) and he expressly was not interested in the series being transferred to film. He felt that a television series was the only way to do justice to the story.
I would very much like to see the Wheel of Time made into a miniseries for television, perhaps by someone like HBO. They do very good work, and there would be no commercial interruptions. I don't think I would let one of the books be made into a movie. Such a movie would have to be at least five or six hours long, perhaps longer, just for one book, to maintain the coherence of the story, and movies of that sort aren't being made by anyone I know of. As to who should play Rand, I really don't know. How many good, young actors are there who happen to be six feet five inches tall?

It's a chancy thing. I would not support anyone doing a feature film of, say, The Eye of the World. I do not think it could be compressed into three hours. Certainly not into two. That would make it incomprehensible.
The interview is, to be honest, pretty standard corporate stuff lacking real substance, although REE acknowledges the fan community and their knowledge of the books. However, they don't do themselves any favours when they respond to Robert Jordan's criticisms by saying they don't hold his comments against him, whilst failing to address any of the issues raised.

Given that even Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson recently had to scale back their plans for a trilogy of movies based on Herge's Tintin comic books as a result of worries about the economy, it will be interesting to see if Universal gives this project, which surely would be enormously expensive, the go-ahead.

In other news, Brandon Sanderson recently commented that he thinks A Memory of Light, the final novel in the series, is going to end up being the better part of 700,000 words in length, nearly double the length of any previous single volume. Unsurprisingly, Tor and Orbit are now said to be considering options to split the book into two volumes. Sanderson had previously hoped that if this happened the two books would be published just a few weeks apart in November 2009, but the need for more writing and editing on the second volume indicates that the second book would be held back until about February or March of 2010, although this would coincide with the 20th anniversary of the series.


Neth said...

Well, I think a lot of dedicated fans of WOT will continue to object to anything that involves Red Eagle. I know I will. Their casual dismissal of RJ is tasteless at best and will only enrage fans more.

Of course, I see little chance of a movie being made anyway, so it probably won't be an issue. And that's how it should be - the WOT is not suited to TV or movies in my opinion.

Adam Whitehead said...

The WoT setting is big enough to support stories that could be tailor-made for the screen. For example, I think showing the War of the Shadow as a film could have worked very well. The story can be tailored to the medium rather than the books, meant to function as novels, being hammered into a format that doesn't fit them.

Of course, this would only be possible if Robert Jordan was able to approve such a project and provide the background information to the scriptwriters. With him no longer with us, this option is no longer available.

Neth said...

I suppose that Harriet owns those rights, but I don't see her optioning them up for something like that.

Jebus said...

Whatever happens there they have no hope in hell of pleasing everyone. Books to film just does not work sometimes without at least some minor tweaking and quite often a LOT of tweaking. Jackson pulled off an amazing triumph with LotR but he had some serious cashola behind him, something that just won't happen with other fantasy works - look at the atrociousness of Legend of the Seeker - crap source for an even crapper show.

I honestly believe the only way this would work would be to have the production values and writing staff of something like Battlestar Galactica with each book lasting a season or possible half a season (Crown of Swords could last maybe 2 episodes!)

Anonymous said...

I believe that miniseries is the only way to bring the WoT to life. A movie would have considerable issues with story compression and there is no part that could be minimized.
A Joss Wedon/Tim Burton coop but be interesting.

Anonymous said...

A see another way to do it I say animated astride each book is worth a.season each minimum. Or several miniseries one for each book. The time for each would be about 6-8 hours each book minimum. No need to cut much from the story,if anything at all.