New "Foundation" Could Suffer From Rot

Illustration for article titled New Foundation Could Suffer From Rot

If you had any issues with I, Robot's faithfulness to the source material, you might want to brace yourself. Ousted New Line Cinema Founders Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne want to produce (and maybe direct) a movie of Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy, under their own Unique Features banner. But don't worry, they have a grounding in science fiction: Shaye directed last year's The Last Mimzy, which critics described as being like E.T., only more "nauseatingly sweet," and geared towards stoners. [Reuters]


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You'd never be able to frame a movie around even the first book, let alone the entire trilogy; however, you could probably do the first couple chapters (the ones involving Salvor Hardin as a maverick youth and as a seasoned politician, respectively) pretty well.

The problem is that in movies, space-based science fiction is always associated with flashy effects and exploding spaceships — Foundation may be set in space, but the characters, and more importantly the sociology, are the focus. You'd have to completely minimize the emphasis on the space setting: powerful acting and direction would be the only way to make this work, and even then, you'd never sell it to a mainstream audience. The intersection of genres (space opera and political maneuvering with little to no action) would simply be too jarring for those unfamiliar with Asimov's style of fiction.

That said, I could still see this as a solid low-budget miniseries (perhaps in the vein of old-style Doctor Who). What these people are planning? Absolutely impossible. I hope they get shot down — butchering Foundation would be an unforgivable crime. Maybe they should try adapting a Lucky Starr book instead.