I’m pretty sure I’m the last person on earth to post about this, since the news broke on Friday. But it’s still incredibly cool: Universal Pictures and SyFy Films (which is not the same as SyFy the TV entity) have bought the rights to develop a Wild Cards feature film.
In other words, there is a big-screen Wild Cards film in development! This is a first for Wild Cards, and incredibly exciting. The screenplay will be penned by Melinda Snodgrass, who will be a co-executive producer on the film along with GRRM. (George and Melinda, in case you’re confused, are the co-creators and co-editors of the Wild Cards series. ) This has been in the works for a very long time (years) and it’s a testament to Melinda’s passion for the project and her incredbily hard (and uncompensated) work for years on end that there’s finally officially a deal on the table.
When the news came out on Friday morning—and because this is the Internet, after all—the fanboi hatefest started immediately. Below the cut, I’ll address the misconceptions that keep tripping people up.
Misconception 0: SyFy?!? Are they on crack? They’re going to make a Wild Cards movie in the same vein as Mansquito, SS Doomtrooper, and Rock Monster? Why in the world would GRRM do this?
SyFy Films is not the same as SyFy the television entity. It does share the same name, but the relationship has far more to do with the fact that they’re both entities under the NBC/Universal umbrella. SyFy Films is a much newer entity, created for the purpose of making theatrical films that don’t, well, suck. They’re not the people who make films like Doomtrooper.
Universal Pictures, the developing partner in this endeavor, wouldn’t come within a fat mile of the production if it were targeted for Saturday night on the SyFy Channel. Believe me, folks, I had a ringside seat as a spectator to the loooong negotiation process that brought this deal to fruition. They could have filmed 6 SyFy Channel Saturday night specials in the time it took just to get the various legal teams on the same wavelength here.
It’s easy to understand why people were taken aback when they saw “SyFy” on that news release. But the situation is much better than people are fearing. The doom and gloom are utterly misplaced.
Misconception 1: They’ve been making noises about a Wild Cards TV show or movie forever. I’ll believe this when I see it.
The Wild Cards consortium has always WANTED to have a TV series or film development deal. There have been close calls in the past, but no ink and NO PRESS RELEASES. Why? Because we never had a deal before. We do now.
I’ll repeat that. This is entirely new territory for us. This is an actual development deal. Not the negotiations to enter into a dev deal—Wild Cards has been there before, but never to the point of an actual deal.
So, anybody who says Wild Cards has been here before is at best grossly misinformed and at worst, well, ignorant.
Misconception 2: They’ve already ruined it because they always ruin good stuff. It won’t have any relationship to the actual books. They’ll hire some hack to do the movie.
Uh, no. The story will be developed by Melinda Snodgrass, GRRM, and Gregory Noveck (the VP in charge of production at Universal). The original screenplay will be written by Melinda. So we can all relax on that front. Look at her IMDB page. Melinda knows what she’s doing. She knows Wild Cards inside and out, she’s been there from the beginning (literally– Wild Cards was created in her kitchen), and she’s a very very fine screenwriter. She has the writing and producing chops to make this very special.
As for Gregory Noveck, he’s a science fiction and comics guy who just happens to be a studio executive. I know because I’ve spoken with him several times. Frankly, he knows more about SF and fantasy than most folks. He’s a geek in the best sense of the word. He’s also a Wild Cards fan. So he’s on our side in this.
So again, the concerns are misplaced. There’s about as much participation and buy-in from the actual Wild Cards editorial team as is conceivable. Unless we built our own movie studio. Which we’re not going to do.
Misconception 3: There’s no mention of a Wild Cards movie in the upcoming movie releases, so they’re lying. GRRM kicked my puppy.
Oh, for crying out loud.
This is a development deal. Does it mean the movie will absolutely positively get made? Nobody knows. Right now, it’s quite promising. But it takes a long bloody time to make a film. So let’s take it one day at a time, okay?
Sorry about your puppy. He does that, when he isn’t eating kittens and selling poisoned milk to schoolchildren.
Misconception 4: It’s irresponsible of GRRM to be involved in this. He owes me the next ASOIAF book right now, god damn it.
No he doesn’t. As has been said, quite famously, many times before, he is not your bitch.
Now that we’ve cleared up those concerns, let’s turn our attention to more important issues surounding the Wild Cards film. Such as: how can I try to influence the process so that I can meet and hang out with Carey Mulligan? I’m sure we’d be great pals.