Apr 28, 2011

Tradecraft: The Balrog Supremacy?

The Saruman UltimatumThe Gondor Inheritance?  Unlikely as each of those titles may sound, Deadline reports that Ron Howard has attached himself to a pitch by Max Landis described as a blend of Robert Ludlum and J.R.R. Tolkien.  That's not very descriptive, but actually opens up a lot of truly intriguing possibilities!  A Bourne-like spy adventure set in a fantasy world?  A real-world spy story featuring an all-powerful One Ring as the MacGuffin?  Or a regular person from our world who washes ashore in a fantasy land with no memories?  You could go in lots of different creative directions with that curious mash-up, and I'd probably pay to see nearly all of them.  Max Landis is the son of John Landis, and previously collaborated with his father on episodes of the spooky anthology shows Masters of Horror ("The Deer Woman") and Fear Itself.  He's also sold a few feature specs, though nothing that's been made yet.  As for this one, it seems unlikely it will be made any time soon with Ron Howard attached to direct. Howard's currently committed to direct about a billion hours of feature film and television based on Stephen King's Dark Tower epic, which also features a mixture of fantasy and technothriller.  What I wonder, though, is what ever happened to that film of undiluted Ludlum that Howard was once attached to direct, The Parsifal Mosaic?  Even if he's no longer involved, I do hope it's still in development.  That's one of Ludlum's most cinematic novels, and a great movie just waiting to be made. 

Oh, and the real title of this spy/fantasy project is Amnesty.  Hm.  Doesn't really get across the premise.  In the unlikely scenario that they do decide to switch to a title more befitting the illlicit marriage of Ludlum and Tolkien, I think my personal choice would be The Frodo Ambiguity.  It has a nicer ring to it than Amnesty, does't it?

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