Neuromancer film coming 2009, Kahn's response to criticism

Daniel - Oct 26, 2007 - Films Humour

William Gibson's Neuromancer is due to hit the big screen in a few years. Sounds too good to be true - which it might be. There isn't much yet, but IMDB lists the year of release as 2009 and the director as Joseph Kahn.

From comingsoon.net:

William Gibson's prescient sci-fi bestseller from the '80s, Neuromancer, will get the big screen treatment from veteran producer-distributor Peter Hoffman, reports Variety.

The $70 million pic is essentially being fast-tracked to replace the Paul Verhoeven project The Winter Queen. The latter is being pushed back until at least next spring because leading lady Milla Jovovich is pregnant.

Joseph Kahn, a Korean-American commercials director who made Torque for Warner Bros., has signed to direct.

Even though I'm a huge Gibson/Neuromancer fan, it's slightly hard to get excited about Kahn directing it. He's definitely done some questionable stuff - so, I'm reserving judgment, even though I want this film to work so badly. I mean, every good director has a break somewhere, right? A good Neuromancer would make this man's career. Naturally he could end up just dropping it, like Cunningham did...

Here's an interesting post from Kahn's MySpace Blog:

Variety blew my cover over the weekend. This is the screenplay I've been working on for the last two years.

As to the backlash.

There's going to be a backlash. You have to be nuts or stupid to take on a monster like this. I knew what I was getting myself into. Stanley Kubrick could take this on and he'd have a 14 year old in Iowa blogging on how wack the cgi effects were in 2001, and then on the otherhand a 45 year old child molestor completely insistant nothing will ever look as good as the visuals in his own head.

And they'd both hate Torque.

I could see how the combination of the Britney Spears director with William Gibson is a controversial choice. But the problem is, the summation of my career is not Britney Spears. I've done plenty of "cred" videos: Moby, Chemical Brothers, Korn, U2, Muse to name a few. The headlines sound attractively pessimistic to slap the successful pop example of my work to a supposedly nihilistic work like Neuromancer. It really just demonstrates how little most people know of the music video world and how it pertains to filmmaking.

For instance, before David Fincher became the dark auteur that fanboys salivate over, he made his name doing Paula Abdul videos. And hard core Michael Bay with his rumbling guns and explosions made…Meatloaf videos, as well as The Divinyls "I Touch Myself." Those of you in the music video business know the score and understand why this is.

I guess this is turning into a defense of myself, so I will defend myself.

The other complaint lodged at me is that my movie Torque basically sucked. It's either a sell out piece of commercial crap, or an incompetant long form music video, or both, and it's a sure sign I'm clueless as a filmmaker. And to all of this, I'll say: they're wrong.

Making your first movie under the Hollywood studio system is hard. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm telling you honestly with no exaggeration: you have no clue what it's like to be put through that studio grinder and retain any sort of authorship. The politics, the pressure, the scapegoating, the interference, the pure physicality of an intense 70 day shoot, the budget hysterics, the permeating sense of fear and negativity from everyone. Torque is not 100% of what I wanted, but I'm proud of what it is, because at the end of the day, after going through this studio machine that blends movies together into mediocrity, it split people. Some hated it, others loved it. Some actually had both reactions at the same time. Whatever it was, it wasn't safe. The ice cream on the cone couldn't be digested without a strong opinion. That's a tall order for an Ice Cube biker flick. Your welcome.

So that's one of the reasons why "they" hired me to do Neuromancer, and make no mistake, Gibson is one of "them." There's no way in hell I'm on this without at least a half disinegnous grunt of approval from him. Yes, Chris Cunningham was attached to this years ago and you may think him as a far cooler director than me, but he quit. HE QUIT. Understand? Sorry. He abandoned the baby on the doorstep, and it will never come to daddy again.

I'm on it because I am nuts, and I am stupid, and I will throw everything I have at making a book that's been ripped off left and right and considered impossible to adapt. I've spent my whole life making things. People who don't know me seem to dismiss me as some cliché blinged out music video director, and even if that jealous perception were true then remember this - I started with nothing. No contacts in Hollywood, no money, nothing. All I've ever had to survive is the dedication to my craft. All I know how to do is make things, and if Neuromancer is on my plate, I am going to make it. That's why this film finally has a chance at getting made.

Now here we are and all I know is this: the movie in my head rocks. I've already watched it, I just need to execute. Is it Gibson's vision? Not quite. There's no way this film can ever achieve what Gibson did. He practically changed the world and how we imagined ourselves growing up into it. The novel is always going to be the superior work of art. The book's a legitimate work of genius in a millenial way, not the Richard Roeper thumbs up way. I'm working on a two hour movie, so it's my distillation of his vision into a much shorter form. Compomises and interpretation will be required, and the personal issues I chose to focus on will be the things that turn me on about the book. So at the end of the day, there's wiggle room: the good shit is his, the bad shit is mine.

But when it gets made, maybe on some level, everyone will be ecstatic to see some version of it moving on a movie screen, like when a parent is happy to see their toddler draw a crayon of the sun. If I'm lucky, maybe even Gibson himself will dig it.

So there it is.

I only have one more thing to say. When Variety broke the story, this is how they described me:

Joseph Kahn, a Korean-American commercials director who made "Torque" for Warren Bros., has inked to direct.

What the fuck does my race have to do with directing Neuromancer?

I'm excited, even if I am slightly sceptical. More as it comes.

Richard

I am very sceptical. It will be crap if he does it.

casemon

where are these images from? german comic book? student end of year project? something else?

Daniel

I've posted up the entirety of the images in my gallery, linked to by this post (with an explanation)

http://bluesuncorp.co.uk/2007/10/27/neuromancer-concept-art

His description:

"This is the final presentation of my diploma finale that night.It is a Design Approach for a Movie based on William Gibsons Neuromancer. It features a formal approach as well as a color pallette derived from the novels content."

Butch

All I can say is it will definitely be better than Johnny Mnemonic was. That was painful.

Arch Angle

Well I have a positive feeling after reading the director's comments, who sounds like he knows a little more than the headlines let on.

His remark about being written as a "Korean American" reminds me of how the Korean government apologized, "en masse", for the actions of a single Korean shooter a couple years ago. I suppose the notions of racial identity have challenges on both sides of the fence to overcome.

I haven't seen his work but I'll keep an open mind. Sounds like he understands Gibson well enough. I hope it comes through.

To be honest, Lynch's "Dune" didn't capture the popular appeal of Herbert's novel as well as the TV miniseries did, in my opinion. I don't mind a little mass appeal - just please, please, use the story, not just the title! Watch and read "I, Robot", and don't do that! Just don't! This isn't just some random SCI-FI trope! It's 1984's version of "1984", a political roadmap for the politics of the future, just as Orwell seems to be today!

peter

what the fuck is going on with this movie. just make it already, we will all watch it even if it sucks.