Saturday, December 23, 2006

by Fred Topel, from nowplayingmag

You probably haven’t heard of Alex Steyermark’s films Prey for Rock N’ Roll or One Last Thing, but if he’s the guy who finally cracks the William Gibson movie, he’ll be our hero. One of his next projects is an adaptation of Idoru, which will be a Japanese anime film.

“The studio people that were reading the script all loved it,” Steyermark says. “They said, ‘This is a $150 million movie.’ One of them came back and said, ‘How would you feel about doing this as an anime film?’ I thought that is really cool, really creative. It’s exciting, it’s a great way to do it on a smaller budget. At the same time, [it] could set up a live action version of it.”

Like any movie, Steyermark’s script had to consolidate some of Gibson’s work, but don’t worry. He saved the rest for the sequel. “I played with the structure of the novel. The novel is done as two parallel stories and I focused on one. I actually am starting to work on the sequel which would sort of focus on the other. That’s how I thought I would approach it. People who were reading the initial drafts of the script said, ‘Look, you have to decide who it’s about. Is it the one or the other?’ So I did that kind of adaptation thing where you just shape it around one of the characters. But in my mind, everything that’s not in this one from the book, there are so many great things that will be from the book in the sequel.”

This monumental task gave Steyermark an appreciation for why there hasn’t been much Gibson on film yet. “It was extremely tough. It’s interesting because all of his books have been optioned. None of them have been made into a movie. I’m so on pins and needles about the fact that this could be the first one that goes. Not including Johnny Mnemonic which was really a short story that he wrote. I’m hoping that it all falls into place but adapting it was really difficult. Look, The Matrix is an acknowledged rip off of Mona Lisa Overdrive and Neuromancer and Gibson is known as the father of cyberpunk. But to take his novels and adapt them has been seemingly a challenge for everybody. I found a way into it that I think works.”

The anime film could get underway as early as May, unless this very story gives it bad karma. “Fingers crossed I might be prepping even within a couple weeks, so [we're] very close to that happening [in a] very cool and exiting way that I can’t really talk about yet but it’ll be very cool. I don’t want to jinx it because it feels so close and if it doesn’t happen, I’ll be so bummed. Every time I talk about things, they seem to fall apart.”


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