1984 is arguably one of the most important science fiction novels ever written, and pretty much a complete nightmare to put on the big screen. Depending on whom you ask, there have been six attempts to make the book into a movie, but only two have made it to actual release and they’re… well, let’s say they try. And now primed to take it on is Paul Greengrass.
Just in case you didn’t go to high school in America, 1984 was George Orwell’s novel about a future surveillance state; spies are everywhere, advanced technology is used to monitor everyone, the populace is docile and accepts whatever the government tells them, and generally it’s what everybody in a Facebook argument over politics thinks the other side wants the world to turn into.
Greengrass is probably best known for the Bourne franchise, but he follows a fairly specific pattern: He makes a Bourne movie, and then uses that cred to make a deeply personal political film in his pseudodocumentary style. Guess what? He’s making another Bourne movie, so 1984 is officially on, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
As for how it’ll work, good question. It’s a superb novel, first and foremost, but part of the problem is that it’s an internal novel about one man’s struggle against a massive machine, something Orwell knew about from bitter personal experience. How a guy who specializes in taking the camera off the tripod is going to make that work is an open question.
On the other hand, we guess that we’d rather have somebody with a political opinion like Greengrass trying to make it, rather than some studio hack. Unless it’s Michael Bay, because as bad as Michael Bay’s 1984 would be, it would be profoundly funny.