Cyberpunk Review » The Stars My Destination Optioned for Filming

March 26, 2006

The Stars My Destination Optioned for Filming

Man with bionic arms


Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination is definitely one of the best Sci-Fi books of the 50s, and is as close as you could get to cyberpunk. Gully Foyle is one of the all time interesting characters, and Bester’s “Jaunting” is certainly the best visionary use of teleportation that I’ve read. By most accounts, this book influenced later cyberpunk authors.


However, like any great work, it is with trepidation that I am reminded of all the travesties of literary works poorly transformed on screen that forces me to temper my excitement for a potential movie. Variety is reporting that Universal Pictures has obtained rights to Bester’s seminal work, and that Lorenzo di Bonaventura, producer of Constantine and Doom, is going to be producing this along with Raymond Wagner. Hopefully they pick a good director and really adhere to the source material. The Stars My Destination is unique in that time hasn’t past it by - the story still works as well today as it did then.


This post has been filed under Upcoming Movies by SFAM.


March 26, 2006

gwyddon said:

Oh no! It’s impossible to do the book justice! The synaesthesia bit, for example… Also I just can’t imagine the big studios let the general nastiness of the main character remain, they’ll for sure turn him into a stupid action hero.
*sigh* hopefully it’ll get stuck in development hell and remain there. Especially considering the crap the producers made/makes..
There’s a lot of much easier books to make a film from!

SFAM said:

Hi gwyddon, welcome to cyberpunkreview :)

And yeah, that’s my fear. The front end of Foyle’s thuggish existence really would be hard to portray well in PG13-land.

Case said:

Would you believe this almost made it to the screen over a decade ago under the direction of Paul W.S. Anderson (I still get chills just thinking about ALIEN VS. PREDATOR)? Either way, they should really just leave this one alone…

SFAM said:

There is the possibility that this languishes. Many a film that has had its rights purchased have had this happen. But, um, yeah…that would TRULY suck if Paul Anderson got his hands on this. :(

February 8, 2007

Billy Molloy said:

The fantastic action/escape scenes would translate wery well to film but the baroque elements threaten to topple a movie if mishandled. But this would make a truly great game.

Dyce said:

has anyone read the book The Greatest Sci-fi Movies Never Made, by David Hughes? It has an entire chapter about the history of attempts to get this book made into a movie, and features the awful fact that the last time it came close to getting made, back in the mid ninetees, the scriptwriters had indeed changed Gully Foyle into a cleancut action hero, who was trying to save his girlfriend from something. God help us if this follows the same route…
I believe that version died because Bester spun in his grave so fast that it caused an earthquake

February 9, 2007

SFAM said:

Hi Dyce, I hadn’t even heard of that book, but just the title makes me want to get it write away…


February 10, 2007

Dyce said:

SFAM, have you read the book yet? It’d pretty good, and it’s worth getting the sequel book by the same author, Tales From Development Hell, which covers (if i remember right) Movies like I am Legend and the whole Tolal Recal 2 / Minority report crossover development.

SFAM said:

Have I read Stars My Destination? Yes, definitely. I loved it. It’s one of the few books written that long ago that works just as well today. The whole teleportion thing was simple, but very well done. I haven’t read Tales from Development Hell though. I’ll put it on the list.

September 4, 2007

Dave said:

Petition anyone? I’d say anyone caould do a better job than Lorenzo di Bonaventura.

September 6, 2007

North said:

This film should definitely NOT be made by this director. Shit. Shit. SHIT! They’ll probably get Sean Penn to play the lead or something horrible like that. Can you imagine? Bester wrote comics and it could definitely have that kind of aesthetic, but I think for the depth of the issues dealt with in the novel it definitely has to be treated carefully and not made a caricature of. The graphics/technology could be grossly misrepresented and clowned with. I’d hate to think the film would precede the novel in people’s mass consciousness (if its successful) and end up cyber/sci-fi junk that’s forgotten in a couple of years. I don’t think, whoever passed over the rights, realised how important this story is and could be right now. Damn…

kathleen said:

Hmmm. This movie could work. Consider what has been done, technologically speaking, with Sin City, 300, A Scanner Darkly, etc. (and a lot of other stuff, including The Matrix trilogy and comic book realizations such as X-Men). We have finally arrived at a place where CGI can genuinely create the most fantastic images, and make them look real. Could it be a disaster? Of course. But, could it be sublime and fabulous? Yes! Let’s pray to the movie gods that this will get the right director and studio. Wouldn’t this be wonderful, to have Bester on the screen and given his due? The answer is YES.

October 1, 2007

Ben said:

Would be one of my favourite films to see if handled correctly - but as pointed out, it would really be totally lame if turned into a Hollywood Hero movie (and would probably lose most of the kitsch UK place-name references). Perhaps Ridley Scott could be enticed to do it - Bladerunner is, IMHO, one of the best sci-fi adaptations ever made.

October 15, 2007

Floyd said:

So, what’s the ideal cast? Here’s my take, A list so it gets made and draws a crowd, talent to do justice to the parts. Gully: Hugh Jackman, Dangenham: Stanley Tuchi, Presteign: Anthony Hopkins, His daughter: Nicole Kidman, Jisbella - can’t make a good choice, some terrific red head. Others? Chime in.

November 5, 2007

Cibbuano said:

I recently just read the book - fantastic! I’d love to see it on the screen, but only if they find a director who loves the source material… my fear would be that they’d try to blockbuster it…

September 21, 2008

Max Gwydion said:

Greetings folks.

I have loved Bester’s work for years, and even more-so the works of those who have followed him, such as Strazynski, and Slough Feg.

Such a wide variety of creatives have been touched by this book! And I am one of them. I have dedicated myself to making a script translation of this book that is TRUE to Bester, yet FILMABLE.

This is no mean task, as you have all noted above. This work will be a serious challenge to bring to script form…and in a way that will make Hollywood want to spend the money on it that it deserves.
Some have commented on how the computer technology is now at a point that we CAN make it work. I should know, my degree is in Computer Multimedia (3D animation and related media).

A great analogy to just how hard this book is to bring to filmable script, consider the work that Fran Walsh Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson had to do to convert The Lord of the Rings to a great filmable script. As even they said, if they had put the book into script page by page, we would have been in the theater for WEEKS watching the Fellowship trudge over rocks and through marshes. And you thought it was long as it was!

We face similar challenges in the Destination’s script, and more due to the nature of the main character.
I would love to hear from any of you who have comments regarding how you think these elements should be handled in script form to fit a modern sensibility. I would especially like to hear from a few of you with no e-mail links listed such as Gwyddon and Kathleen.

My e-mail is starsmydestination (at) rocketmail (dot) com

June 29, 2009

Annabel said:

Agree with gwyddon completely. This could be a nightmare. The prod/dir has made some a-grade shiat. Too much CGI would be horrible. Simplification is the key to this one, and to retain some of that noir feel it has with the action included. I think an english director with an amazing sense of art and atmosphere should direct. Steve McQueen who did Hunger. He would definitely capture the layers to the character while doing justice to the amazing atmospheres and diegesis of the text. Imagine the dialogue sequences in his hands!

Annabel said:

Bester wrote it in England and the feel is a cross over between cultures. I think Hollywood would homogenise it way too much. That’s just for starters.

July 19, 2009

glnz said:

One of my favorite sci-fi books - reread it many times. If only it could be done well as a long TV series! Can’t stand how movies shorten long, detailed books. But there’s always a problem now with classic sci-fi before the 1990’s - the old stories have no computers and would look odd today on screen with no computers around. I so dislike computers on screen.

August 24, 2009

kill_you_filthy said:

Without sounding massively overconfident, i would love to make this movie - direct it and play gully!

whoever does (and its horribly enevitable people) make this movie needs to keep the events and gully as raw as possible - the guy is a self restrained monster and we need hollywood to let loose and not listen to the popcorn executives.

im willing to concede that if i cant play gully hehe then id like to see eric bana (remember choppper?) play him but id have loved to see a young ray winston play him….perfect.

oh and i bet they will change jizzabellas name - because it sounds like jizz (the fools)

please dont let it be another I AM LEGEND

September 2, 2009

MickeyMudTurtle said:

It will get made, although exactly “when” is of course the $64,000 question. And for those who are around long enough, the day will come when you will be able to make your own quite realistic version with off-the-shelf software.

October 25, 2009

Rob J said:

One of my favourite books EVER is going to be made into a film ?
Ever since I brought a copy in early 1976, I have read it many times and along with “The Demolished Man”, it has truly stood the test of time. One cannot imagine Dan Brown’s books being
read in 2069. Just watch the bargain bins in the next few years
for Mr Brown’s output…

Although there is now the technology to bring his marvellous stories to the big screen, I am not so sure that it will work.
Guy Pierce , George Clooney or Danny Houston could make a
good stab at playing Gulliver Foyle but who could make it into a worthwhile venture ? Del Toro, Jackson immediately spring to mind. They certainly have great artistic imaginations and flair, but unfortunately Hollywood are now geared to “The bigger, louder” syndrome as opposed to making films with decent plots and characters. Just look at the mess that was “Wolverine”. True, the recent reboot of “Star Trek” was far better than I first imagined,
but that was an exception to the rule. Sad to say, I think the film will be closer to “Dune” rather than the epic status of LOTR.

The best film of the book will be in my mind. Some things should be left alone….

January 31, 2010

timmy said:

I’ve always thought that if this book were to be made into a movie, the core of the film would need to be about the philosophical moments discussed by Gully and the robot bartender at the end of the book. Should we just spread the human race freak show across the galaxy?

August 18, 2010

Rogue said:

Given the absolute has Hollywood has made of recently redone classic sci-fi MOVIES, (think: Day the Earth Stood Still, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (- not once, but twice!) The Thing etc.
I SHUDDER to postulate the results of their mucking around with The Stars My Destination. Please - no. Let this brilliant, raw, cerebral masterpiece be tackled by those intrepid enough to open the cover of the book and dive in.

Rogue said:

Sorry - in my haste to comment I left out a very important word in the first sentence. It should read “Given the absolute HASH Hollywood has made…

August 22, 2010

Max Gwydion said:

I have heard you all.
I understand your concerns. They - together with other factors such as the state of the economy now- have changed my direction.
I have shelved the Stars script indefinitely, to concentrate on my own sci-fi series for a few more years.
I still think that a noir-style film of Stars could rock just as much as Blade Runner did…with a very similar noir feel. But -yes- a single studio exec could make it into a story about a giant robot spider or something =} Perhaps a better way to go would be private funding, bypassing studios?
BTW the Guillermo del Toro as director idea is brilliant.

September 4, 2010

drew d said:

Kubrick could have made this film, and should have.
russell mulcahy could have made this film and should have
Ridley Scott, oliver stone, paul verhoeven , jim cameron, john frankenheimer could all have done the source material justice

the synaesthesia and the prison scenes are the two settings that i think would be problematic.

if i could morph vin diesel and robert deniro, then we’d have our foyle

September 26, 2010

Boothby171 said:

Sorry, but I have actually read the screenplay that Anderson put together for TSMD. It is, without question, ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE. Well, I guess that it’s better that I can say it WAS absolutely horrible.

He showed absolutely no understanding of the story, the characterization, or the tech of it (and there’s really not much left after that, is there). He even destroyed or ignored the visual elements (and forget the synaesthesia).

Oh, and Gully Foyle gets the girl (Jiz McQueen) in the end. Need I say more?

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