We all remember “I, Robot” from 2004.  This film was released to mixed reviews but did earn an Oscar nomination for “Best Achievement in Visual Effects”.

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In my opinion, the film was a good stand alone sci-fi action movie but having read the book it was not Issac Asimov’s ‘I, Robot’. After doing some research for this post it seems that this is the general consensus of others after seeing the film. The film was ‘loosely adapted’ from the collection of short stories. The film seemed to take inspiration from the short story “Lost Little Robot” where the Three Laws of Robotics had been altered to devastating results.  It also included a couple of characters but did not include any of the stories themselves… Although the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was in it so that added a slight bit of credibility right?

 

I guess the thing that grates at me is that if you were to buy a copy of this book it could have the nearly unrelated movie poster as its front cover. First world problem I know.

The collection of short stories by Isaac Asimov is one of my favourite books, I have always felt that some of the stories would be amazing on screen, but who could take on this massive, near impossible task?

Well there have been attempts…

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Run! He will cute you to death!
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Maxine Audley as Susan Calvin

Firstly “Lost Little Robot” was adapted for television in 1962 on “Out of This World” a British science fiction anthology and starred Maxine Audley as Susan Calvin.

 

Another two of the short stories were adapted for television and were both part of “Out of the Unknown”.  The first episode “The Prophet” aired in 1967 and was based on “Reason” from the book.

Two years later “Liar” was aired. Have a look at the fantastic video below of clips from the episode “Liar” alongside an interview with Asimov himself.

Now what about this movie?

It wasn’t until the late 1970’s that a feature length screenplay was written.  It was Harlan Ellison who took on the “impossible” task, Ellison worked alongside Isaac Asimov who made sure the screenplay didn’t lose the charm or feel of the stories themselves.   The screenplay was also brilliantly brought to life by artist Mark Zug to solidify the look and vision of the project.

Unfortunately the screenplay was never put into production.  Several delays were met when passing the script around Hollywood.  Ellison was asked to make the robots more “cute” to which he point blank refused.  Also the film was branded as “impossible” to make, I imagine this was due to the lack of technology at the time.

After all attempts had been made for the film a few of the illustrated stories were published in “Issac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine”.

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If filmed as written, it would have made a amazing movie.  There are real characters, alongside with fantastic story telling.  It would of relied on emotion and relationships rather than car chases, explosions and action.  As Asimov says himself  the screenplay could have lead to “the first really adult, complex, worthwhile science fiction movie ever made”.

Surely its time to look at this again?

Fortunately for you we stock this screenplay and will be selling a copy at our next event.

See you soon.

-Dale

 

 

 

 

The best science fiction film that was never made…
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