Paul Greengrass looks to be getting ready to direct a new big screen adaptation of George Orwell’s classic dystopian science-fiction novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
The novel is a warning of the dangers of totalitarian government and spawned the now classic term ‘Big Brother’. Nineteen Eighty-Four was adapted to the screen once before in —you guessed it—1984, with John Hurt in the lead role of Winston Smith, and adapted and directed by Michael Radford. This new adaptation has no official release date as of yet, and will be distributed by Sony Pictures.
Scott Rudin (The Social Network and Captain Philips) and Gina Rosenblum are producing, while James Graham, who wrote the book for Broadway’s upcoming Finding Neverland, will write the script. No casting details have been announced as of yet
Though Greengrass recently confirmed that he will return to directing the Bourne series with star Matt Damon, it looks like Nineteen Eighty-Four will probably be released down the line, after the new Bourne installment. Most recently Greengrass directed the true-to-life piracy thriller Captain Philips with producer Scott Rudin for Sony.
Greengrass’ directing style is often associated with hand-held cameras that bring an urgency off the screen, enrapturing the viewer with an in-the-moment energy. Now, of course, not everyone was a fan of how shaky things got visually in both The Bourne Supremacy and Ultimatum, but Greengrass’ style pretty much reinvigorated and condemned the modern action-movie aesthetic so you can decide if this is necessarily a good thing for an adaptation of Orwell’s novel. This new adaptation of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four will certainly be Greengrass’ most visually rich film to date, most of the time he opts for projects involving modern-day thrillers, usually based in and around political turmoil: Now that sounds perfect for a Nineteen Eighty-Four adaptation.
Orwell’s terrifying vision of a future conducted under the watchful gaze of Big Brother could not be returning to center stage at a more pertinent moment in history. The themes are an eerie reflection of the modern-day controversy of drones, CCTV, phone hacking, and government infringement of privacy laws, given recent revelations over mass government surveillance by the NSA.
Images: Universal Pictures, Atlanta Releasing Co.