Sunday, January 18, 2009

Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly Movie

There's going to be a film adaptation of Philip K. Dick's "A Scanner Darkly."

Like most of Philip K. Dick's books (Minority Report, Ubik, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep [which was made into the movie Blade Runner], We Can Build You), A Scanner Darkly is a pretty f'ed up book. In short, it's about a guy who deals and is addicted to this bizarre and powerful drug, but who has also been hired by the police to tail and bust himself. He doesn't realize this, of course, because the drug's main side-effect is to split the user's personality into two distinct, exclusive entities that are unaware of each other. It's pretty standard Dick (yeah, get the laugh out -- people who like his work call themselves "Dickheads"), making satirical if somewhat insano statements about how drug prohibition has caused a symbiotic relationship between the drug world and the police culture formed to destroy it. I really like how Dick stays far from making any value judgements whatsoever, and just lets the absurdity of the situation speak for itself.

Movie adaptations of his books have ranged from pretty good (minority report, blade runner) to straight-up fing toilet paper (Paycheck, starring Ben[nifer] Affleck). But i heard two really promising things about A Scanner Darkly: First, that they are keeping the dialogue and storyline extremely close to the book, and second, they are casting some of Hollywood's most famous drug-enjoyers (Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson), in a nice touch. It could end up being another Johnny Mnemonic, but we'll see.