Sunday, November 29, 2009

Harlan Ellison Writes Star Trek 2?

Harlan Ellison, famous Sci-Fi writer, has indicated on his website that he is more than willing to work on the sequel to Star Trek, according to TrekMovie. He claims the reason he is willing to return to Star Trek is the opportunity to work with Director JJ Abrams. The writer just recently settled his lawsuit against Paramount for issues dealing with his classic episode "City on the Edge of Forever" that introduced the Guardian of Forever.

I would jump at the chance to work with the inordinately-talented J.J. Abrams on a new STAR TREK film. Yes, I would likely try to steer him toward the original film idea I was asked to pitch, by the late Gene Roddenberry and a production exec whose name I have blissfully flensed from memory (but he had been, if I recall, a hairdresser or clothing designer or ex-boyfriend of someone or other, and he kept trying to press me to include the Mayan Calendar).

If the very smart Abrams didn’t want to go that way, I would be wide-open to rethinking such a film from the git-go.

Paramount would, of course, have to pay me from the first meet git-go; but I have absolutely NO attitude that would prevent me from jumping in to work with such a clever fellah. One is NEVER too old to come up with fresh ideas, particularly if one has lived long enough, and cleverly enough, to know WHAT HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE to death, sixteen times over.

If anyone out there thinks this melding has legs, let Abrams or anyone else with the chops to get in touch with me DIRECTLY. I am without full-time film-agent representation, by choice, at the moment; so if the job presents itself, I will work for pay.

Yr. Pal, Harlan
He later followed this up in response to fans:
What the hell ARE you guys…nuts?

Where’s the "downside" to getting topside the radar of J.J. Abrams? This guy ain’t Roddenberry! He also ain’t the ex-hairdresser with the jones for Mayan calendars!

He’s a writer I respect, whose work has frequently blown the lid off my box of surpriseability. But, then, he already KNOWS that. It isn’t as if I’d kept my admiration chained in the darkest cell of the basement of Bedlam.

So go, my faithful minions. Fly! Fly! Save the Olde Geezer from croaking without a killer Third Act.

Yr. Pal, Harlan
While the idea on the surface sounds interesting, in the end I just don't see it ever happening. The biggest obstacle is he just finished suing Paramount for the last Star Trek episode he wrote over 40 years ago and seems likely to sue again if given an excuse. If I were Abrams and really anyone associated with the next Star Trek film, I wouldn't even have a simple conversation with the man as he could later claim that an idea in the movie was stolen from him and thus money is owed.

Also his agenda seems less focused on working with Abrams and more about a himself. As his frequent use of the word "pay" indicates he wants a piece of some blockbuster dollars that could equate to millions by the time back end credits are included. Additionally, it appears he is aiming for creating a capper for his long writing career by using Trek and Abrams ("save...from croaking without a killer Third Act").

Finally though, it just doesn't seem to be much of a fit for the easy going Abrams and the cantankours Ellison. Abrams prefers to work with team players that can check their ego at the door for the project and one thing Ellison will never be able to do is that.

I think working with Ellison would just become a year or more series of headaches with a huge gamble that it will not be topped off with a lawsuit. See his wiki entry here for that real possibility. In and of itself, Ellison working on the sequel would not a problem for Trekkies (could even be a boon). However, his history indicates problems are likely to occur and if significant enough they could derail the release of the sequel. A full derailment could end the franchise again for a period. Why invite those possibilities to work with a writer who has no movie writing experience (all his writing has been books and TV)? Long story short, I give an emphatic "hell no" and hope this doesn't go any further then his website posting.

1 comment:

  1. This article leads me back to something I was reading the other day... namely a wiki article on Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft Movie, and how there was this guy named Uwe Boll who apparently had a bad reputation for making some really terrible game-to-movie adaptations (ones I didnt even know existed) and after he approached Blizzard about the Warcraft Movie, they were quoted

    "We will not sell the movie rights, not to you... not ever to you."

    I know theyve got excess money to do so, but how come more production companies cant learn to JUST SAY NO!

    Anyways, Ellison definitely seems focused on himself, his money, and his ideas... not a good fit for Abrams in the least bit.