They’ve been trying to make a Y: The Last Man movie for a while now. I remember hearing movie plans back when the comic was still being published, and wondered myself who would be playing who, and of course, asked the ultimate question of movie vs TV series. The story starts out fairly simple; All males on Earth die, except Yorick Brown, and one male Capuchin Monkey. The new world, entirely run by women, starts to slowly realize that the human race will die out unless something is done, and Yorick, being the only man around, runs into some trouble just by having that lucky ol’ Y chromosome. That’s putting it lightly, anyway. The direction of how to handle such a beloved, intricate story, and how to bring it to the screen, small or big, is one that seems to have eluded major studios for a while now, despite the project coming very nearly close to being made in 2007.
Back in 2007, Vaughn and screenwriter Carl Ellsworth began work on adapting Y: The Last Man to film. Suburbia director DJ Caruso was brought on to helm the project in 2010; however, he eventually left due to a disagreement with the studio on how to handle it (he wanted a trilogy; they wanted one film). We’ve not heard much on the project since his departure.
We all know by now that didn’t end up happening, and for good reason. That argument over just how much, and how long the adaptation should be, ended up being pretty crucial.
The premise itself is easy to see as a feature film, but the sheer scope of the comic’s run has been a divisive issue.
Known for his expansive and self-contained storylines, Vaughan’s account of Yorick’s travels spanned 60 issues – a story that Caruso remained unconvinced would be best told in a single feature film, which was New Line’s wish. During Caruso’s time on the project four different screenplays were drafted, but ultimately the lack of agreement led to the director and studio parting ways.
Rather than remaining bitter, Caruso moved on to other projects, and explained that his disagreements with New Line went much farther than simple script issues. Unsurprisingly, Caruso wasn’t even sure that Y: The Last Man could be properly adapted into a two-hour film:
I didn’t think that you could take Yorick’s story and put it in to a two-hour movie and do it justice. That was sort of the difference. I think that New Line, working with Warner Bros. in their new relationship, just felt reluctant thinking that we can’t leave this thing open. If you are familiar with the comic book, you know it’s just mind-boggling. If you look at what my buddy Frank Darabont did with ‘The Walking Dead,’ you think […] “is that the best thing for it? Because there is just so much great stuff, so no, I’m not involved with that anymore.”
Here’s where the normal person would suggest it should be a tv miniseries. In a perfect world, of course it should. In a perfect world, I’d love it to be a full fledged show, with each issue adapted into an episode. But in this world, where brilliant comics like The Walking Dead are taken and turned into melodramatic shitfests like its AMC counterpart, I’d rather Y stay off my teevee, and let someone competent, with a single vision, give us his adaptation of the story. That way, if it’s shitty, it’s only 2 hours of my life wasted.
I’m not a fan of Shia LaBeouf, but I’m not a hater either. I have no strong feelings about him one way or the other, but I do think he was miscast as Yorick, and I’m glad that he won’t be playing him. When I think about that old project, LaBeouf, and factor in that disagreement over length, I can see why the project fell apart. The good news is, it’s been picked back up, and the new script is rumored to actually be good. It’s being written by former Jericho writers Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia, who you may recognize as the writers for Syfy Channel’s current series Warehouse 13. This bodes well, because it shows they know how to handle science fiction concepts, as well as an apocalyptic atmosphere, as any fan of Jericho will tell you.
So it seems like the script is good, which is good to hear. As much as I loved Y, not every single little subplot and side character is needed. I can see the entire story being trimmed to just Yorick, Ampersand, Yorick’s girlfriend, 355, Dr. Allison Mann, (Jesus I just got that pun of a last name, what’s wrong with me?), and have Alter as the villain of the film. You could tighten the whole story up, and make it a very simple, 2-3 hour, “Man on the Road” story. You just gotta narrow the vision down to one solid concept, and to me, that concept is the development of the unique relationship between 355 and Yorick. Make that part work, and all the rest will fall into place.
The one deciding factor would also be the ending, which I’m not adverse at all to being changed. Actually, let me clarify, not the ending ending, (because that was beautiful and perfect), just the explanation for what killed all the males. As it was, it took me to about the absolute far end of my suspension of disbelief and tolerance for pseudo-scientific, quasi-new age, bullshit theory. I won’t ruin it for you, but I will warn you that it’s disappointing. Then again, how could it not be? It was certainly unique, and better than “Ohhh crrraaazy virus!”, or what have you. However, when it comes to a film adaptation, a simpler, more easy to digest theory, and ending revelation, such as virus, or a combination of virus and the book’s ending, would suffice.
All in all, this is a script I’d love to get my hands on, and a project I’d love to see actually come to fruition, if only to see how it’s handled. I don’t expect it to be perfect, I just want it to be good on its own terms. Basically what I’m saying is folks, go in expecting a kick in the balls, and if the movie slaps you in the face, you’ve won!
Also, If I had to cast Yorick now? Ryan Reynolds. That’s right. I can feel your hate. IT MAKES ME STRONGER.