1984 headed to the silver screen

Imagine Entertainment and LBI Entertainment have purchased the film rights to Geoge Orwell’s 1984 from the late author’s estate, and have begun joint development of a new film adaptation of the iconic dystopian novel.

Imagine, run by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, and LBI, run by Julie Yorn, decided simultaniously that now is the perfect time for a fresh take on the classic speculative fiction title. When they discovered each other’s interest, they decided to team up. This will be the first joint venture between the two production companies.

1984, the novel, tells the story of Winston Smith, an employee of The Ministry of Truth, the propaganda arm of a futuristic, dystopian, fascist government. Smith hates his government and his life, but he is mandated by the government to remain happy and hopeful, a requirement which is monitored by a great network of surveillance devices.

The primary turning point in the novel comes when Smith discovers that the war his insular country has been fighting for as long as he can remember is fake, with the bombings and attacks being carried out by the government itself to keep the populace in line.

Sadly, this is not too far from the real situation some modern day oppressive governments put their populace in, and perhaps it is seeing this which has put the desire for a remake into the heads of these filmmakers.

There is no word what form the film will take or which of the novel’s many themes will be explored. There is not even a writer attached yet. The only name, other than the production companys’ owners, seemingly attached to the picture so far is Shepard Fairey – the individual who designed the Obama ‘Hope’ posters – who may join the list of producers from the Imagine side.

The most recent film adaptation of 1984 was in the titular year, and starred John Hurt.

I have a feeling that they will feel a strong desire to give the story a new name, since 1984 doesn’t make sense anymore as a speculative time-frame. If so, I suggest the simple change to 2084. That would keep the ties to Orwell’s novel clear while allowing the film to take place in a future time that matches the title.

There are no production or release dates yet announced for 1984.