I’ve always thought Phillip K. Dick to be the author most conducive to film adaptation, or at least in the top ten. His stories are very visually driven, and their themes are pervasive in a way that allows them to be condensed into film form. Bladerunner and Total Recall (the original not the doofy Colin Farrell remake) speak to the adaptability of Dick’s classic works. Young, talented director Dee Rees agrees with me! She wants to make a film out of the excellent Martian Time Slip, and it is going to happen! Rees will be working alongside Dick’s daughter Isa Dick Hackett on writing the project, which she will also direct.
If you don’t know ‘bout Martian Time Slip, then it’s about damn time that you get hip. The novel tells the story of Jack Bohlen, a repairman living on Mars to isolate himself from most of humanity. He made this choice because of the social discomfort his schizophrenic tendencies produce. Bohlen eventually forms a relationship with an autistic child named Manfred Steiner. Their friendship is part of a broader game of power that seeks to exploit the special powers hidden in their abnormal brains.
I won’t give anymore away, but suffice it to say that the novel is excellent. Phillip K. Dick wrote it after all. The story also falls into Dee Rees’s wheelhouse. Her excellent film Pariah explores crises of identity and exception within the framework of sexuality. Dick’s novel and presumably the adaptation will also engage questions of estrangement and self understanding this time from the perspective of psychologies considered abnormal.
This will be a powerful film, and maybe it will get Rees’s name out in the mainstream where it belongs.