From NJ Star Ledger: In the mid-1970s, director Philip Kaufman was working on what was supposed to be the very first “Star Trek” movie — when a nervous Paramount called the whole thing off.
“I’m sorry,” an executive told him, “we just don’t see any future in science fiction.”
A couple of years later, “Star Wars” proved the future is here — and the “Star Trek” movies haven’t stopped since. (There’s one in production right now.)
But sci-fi fans know their genre rarely gets the respect it deserves — and the more serious the book, the less seriously it’s taken.
Isaac Asimov’s “The Foundation Trilogy” wasted decades stuck in development. Arthur C. Clarke’s “Childhood’s End,” first optioned in the ’60s, has yet to see a frame of film. Alfred Bester’s “The Stars My Destination” got all the way to a script and a commitment from Richard Gere — then foundered.
But even mainstream, pretested projects — stories with monsters, ray guns and all the things movie moguls seem to understand — can have a tough time of it. Studio politics, special-effects problems, movie-star egos — the problems can be endless.
The unlucky winner for most-delayed-project may be Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “A Princess of Mars.” It’s being released by Disney March 9 as “John Carter,” a high-stakes, big budget 3D epic — and to call it “long-awaited” is an understatement.
Producers first trumpeted an upcoming adaptation 80 years ago.