Warner Bros. is still on the lookout for their next big franchise and with the lackluster opening of ‘Beautiful Creatures,’ they have now turned their attention to another sci-fi novel, J.G. Ballard’s ‘The Drowned World.’ The studio has bought the film rights to the book and has ‘Harry Potter’s’ David Heyman producing.
Heyman seems to do well bringing books to life. He was extremely successful with the ‘Harry Potter’ book series and was also the producer on ‘I am Legend’ (which was based on the 1954 novel by Richard Matheson of the same name). He is also the producer of ‘Shadow and Bone’ which is currently in development. As for his next genre film to be released, it’s the interstellar film ‘Gravity’ directed by Alfonso Cuaron (‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,’ ‘Children of Men’) starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney.
What makes the 1962 ‘The Drowned World’ novel interesting is that it’s a post-apocalyptic tale about the effects of global warming decades before Al Gore decided to make it a priority. The story takes place in the year 2145 on a dystopian Earth where intense solar radiation has melted the ice caps causing the sea to level to rise resulting in an alternate climate condition on the planet. Europe is changed into a tropical jungle. The protagonist is a biologist named Dr. Robert Kerans who lives on the 35th floor of a high-rise where only two of the floors are above the water line. As he investigates the extreme environmental ramifications of the solar radiation, he also battles against primordial creatures and anarchists who rule the city.
Here’s the book description via Amazon:
When London is lost beneath the rising tides, unconscious desires rush to the surface in this apocalyptic tale from the author of Crash and Cocaine Nights. Set in the near future, the ice caps have melted and the planet basks in an unendurable heat. London is a primordial swamp; lush tropical vegetation grows up the walls of the Ritz and there are unconfirmed sightings of primeval reptiles swimming through the newly-formed lagoons. Some flee the capital; others embark on harebrained schemes to drain the submerged streets in search of treasure. But Dr Robert Kerans has come to accept this submarine city and finds himself strangely resistant to the idea of saving it…
Ballard clearly was ahead of his time with ‘The Drowned World’ and it Warner Bros. is very smart to adapt the book into film now with environmental issues at the forefront. This film will probably be fast tracked as the producers are currently quickly looking for someone to scribe the screenplay.
This isn’t the first of Ballard’s works that has been adapted for film. His novels ‘Crash’ and ‘Empire of the Sun’ also made it to the big screen.
So what are your thoughts? Do you think ‘The Drowned World’ would make a good film?