A novel that envisioned the catastrophic effects of global warming more than 50 years ago is coming to the screen.
Deadline reports that Warner Bros. Pictures has optioned the rights to J.G. Ballard's 1962 novel The Drowned World. The studio bought the rights on behalf of Heyday Films, a production company headed by Harry Potter film series producer David Heyman, who will develop this movie with partner Jeffrey Clifford.
The Drowned World was Ballard's second novel and established the British writer as a key voice in the emerging New Wave movement that was happening in science fiction at the time. The story takes place in London in the year 2145, when solar radiation has melted the ice caps and turned most of the Northern Hemisphere's major cities into largely submerged tropical jungles.
The story's main characters battle new evolutionary menaces as well as human monsters as they try to survive, while the story's underlying implication is that such a regressive environment will cause human consciousness and civilization to regress as well, no matter what.
In other words, Ballard's book touched on themes and scenarios that came long after it in movies like the Mad Max trilogy, Waterworld, The Road and many others -- not to mention real-life effects of global warming that we are witnessing now.
Only two of Ballard's novels -- Empire of the Sun and Crash -- have been filmed previously (by Steven Spielberg and David Cronenberg, respectively), and neither of those was sci-fi.
The producers will now go about hiring a writer for the project, and it will be interesting to see whether any of the novel's more cerebral aspects will survive the adaptation process. Either way, do you think it's high time that somebody brought one of this great author's sci-fi works to the screen?