John Davis to Produce Ray Bradbury’s ‘The Martian Chronicles’ for Paramount

Paramount announced they have picked up the rights to The Martian Chronicles, a collection of classic sci-fi short stories by Ray Bradbury.  While you may only know Bradbury from his most famous piece of work, Fahrenheit 451, or the mediocre film adaptation of the same book, he has become to be known as one of the leading names in 20th century science fiction.

Producing the film is John Davis, who has been trying to get this project off the ground ever since Universal acquired the feature rights in 1997.  But even before that, NBC and the BBC made a TV miniseries based on the same source, but judging by the photos and lead actor Rock Hudson, it’s safe to say that it was exactly what you would expect from a low-budget, early 80s TV show.

Originally published by Bradbury in late ’40s as separate stories in science fiction magazines, The Martian Chronicles is more of an episodic novel rather than a collection of short stories.  The main plot chronicles the colonization of Mars by humans following the atomic destruction of Earth, as well as the conflict between the native Martians and the new colonists.

The original script being worked on with Steven Spielberg, among other producers, when Universal first acquired the film rights, focused on a spaceship commander investigating two missing missions on the red planet.  Nothing has been said as of yet to whether Davis will be using this same premise, or go back to the original material for inspiration.

The original stories were broken down into three sections: the stories dealing with the attempts to colonize and settle on Mars, the native Martian’s efforts to fight off the colonists, and the eventual nuclear war that forces most of the humans back to earth and the remaining to become the new Martians.  Can we say franchise?

John Davis, best known for producing such action classics as Waterworld and the original Predator, has recently produced Gulliver’s Travels, Marmaduke, and even the newest remake of Predators in the last year alone.  Based on this body of work, it’s safe to assume that while this latest project will certainly have a few stars and a decent budget behind it, don’t hold your breath for the next sci-fi masterpiece.

Bradbury, now 90, says for the most part book signings and public appearances are in the past.

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