October 6th, 2008
|08:34 pm - Red Mars on telly|
Thanks to Nick at What you can get away with I see that a TV version of Red Mars is planned. Oh man. But there are so many vivid characters and so much happens, how can they hope to do it justice? Will a book which so triumphantly passes the Bechdel test be turned into a program about John Boone and Frank Chalmers fighting over Maya Toitovna? But if it's a series, perhaps they can capture some of the characterisation and complexity.
I hope they get mature actors to play the roles, as the average age of the crew of the Ares is 46, and they only get older from then on in. If it was a film I'd speculate on casting but I don't know the names of many American TV actors.
I am within an hour of the end of Green Mars on audio, and I'm enjoying it even more than when I read the book. It's very exciting. I said at the start of Red Mars that the narrator, Richard Ferrone, wasn't using much voicework to indicate the ages, nationalities and genders of the main protagonists. Which was a fair enough choice. But over the sixty or so hours he has put in for Red and Green Mars this has gradually broken down, and now he's acting Sax with brain-damaged aphasia and Maya as a vigorous and scary old woman, and Desmond with a slight Trinidad accent and so on. Very enjoyable. I'm afraid Blue Mars might disappoint me slightly but Red and Green have been great. Surely his master work.
I hope they put a lot of effort into the script.
OK I just checked. The script writer previously wrote Jumanji, Armageddon and Die Hard with a Vengeance. Oh bollocks.
I don't know the books, but with a CV like that, it sounds like it will inevitable that it'll end with a script that is about John Boone and Frank Chalmers fighting over Maya Toitovna.
This is now the third time I've heard that a genre novel was going to be adapted into a miniseries (it was preceded by HBO's adaptation of A Game of Thrones and SciFi's The Diamond Age) and so far nothing has come of any of them. I'm not holding my breath.
I have to say, I couldn't stand Maya. If ever there was a character designed to fail the Bechdel test. I could be misremembering, but I can't think of a single instance in which we see her advancing the colonization effort through her professional skills - the only thing she seems to think about is what man she's with and what being with him can get her.
You could well be right about nothing coming of it. Nice to imagine though.
I have to disagree about Maya. I think she - I know this is a dreadfully easy thing to say in a short comment - I think she has many layers, and KSR doesn't shirk from showing her vanity and selfishness and dependency on men (and her contempt for men). But I also think she's a towering brilliance. And a murderer.
In the bit I have just read (end of Green Mars) she expends every drop of her charisma and reputation to keep the revolution from starting prematurely, and the scenes of her arguing with Nadia about sabotage and the use of force were what made me say that about the Bechdel test. Brilliantly drawn female characters.
But, anyway, off I go. I suppose the fact that you can dislike her is an indication of how strongly differentiated her character is. Not sure if you've read Green Mars though.
I've only read Red Mars (and though I admired it, haven't felt the irresistible impulse to pick up the sequels), and I don't remember any instances of brilliance on Maya's part in that book, though again I could be misremembering. It's nice to know that she develops later on.
Yes, I am now finding it hard to remember what happens in what book. The Mars books are a bit like Wagner or football I think... long half hours of technical business, which I can understand isn't everyone's cup of tea.
I was discussing this elsewhere, and someone suggested that Sax would be the most interesting casting challenge because he changes so much over the books. There's also the interesting dramatic challenge that two of the leads at the start of the series are gone 1/3 of the way through.
As for actors, in the 'perfect but it'll never happen', I've always seen Ann Claiborne as played by Helen Mirren.
Helen Mirren seems more sexy than Ann Claiborne to me, though I love Ann. Hmmm... I was going to post about casting but I couldn't think of anyone at all. Perhaps for Sax someone like Rainn Wilson? I don't know. Very difficult. I think I might sleep on it.