This is topic "The Dark is Rising"- The Movie! in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by Puffy Treat (Member # 7210) on :
Walden Media (makers of "Holes", "Because of Winn Dixie" and "The Chronicles of Narnia" films) get the rights to do Susan Cooper's "Dark is Rising" series...

Wow. I _devoured_ that series as a kid.

I'm glad they're starting with book 2. "Over Sea, Under Stone" is not only the weakest-written book of the series...but it doesn't even try to explain what the heck is going on. It's very obscure.

"The Dark is Rising" is much stronger, establishes the rules of the world presented...and is fairly self-contained. Perfect for a film treatment.
Posted by Elizabeth (Member # 5218) on :
Oh, wow, I always thought that was the first one! I have always wanted to read the rest of that series. I only read The Dark is Rising.
Posted by Raia (Member # 4700) on :
Elizabeth, me too! I read both The Dark is Rising, and Over Sea, Under Stone. But I always thought The Dark is Rising was first!
Posted by Puffy Treat (Member # 7210) on :
Most people think "The Dark Is Rising" is book one because it _reads_ like the first book of the series. If it wasn't for the fact that Merriman Lyon is in "Over Sea, Under Stone" and the *avoids spoilers* turns up again in later books, it would seem to have NO CONNECTION at all to the rest of the series.
Posted by Puffy Treat (Member # 7210) on :
Nope. OSUS was first...despite it not explaining anything about the uber-plot.

Strange, isn't it? [Big Grin]
Posted by ketchupqueen (Member # 6877) on :
I had the box set... I wonder what happened to that? It got lost somewhere along the way. [Frown]
Posted by Teshi (Member # 5024) on :
I always wanted to be in this movie. Now I'm too big!

They better not ruin it! [Cry]
Posted by Puffy Treat (Member # 7210) on :
Interesting. They also have adaptations of "Charlotte's Web" and "Bridge to Terebinthia" coming down the line.

It's like all my favorite kid's books are being done by this company.
Posted by Bella Bee (Member # 7027) on :
I adored those books when I was younger. Oh hell, I still do.

*Can't wait*
Posted by ProverbialSunrise (Member # 7771) on :
Ooooh! I love those books. It should make a really good movie that I can criticise because it doesn't follow the plot close enough.
Posted by Treason (Member # 7587) on :
Yay! I loved loved loved those books when I was little! Hooray!
Posted by Desdemona (Member # 7100) on :
Bridge to Teribithia would make an excellent movie, if done right.

*Imagines possiblities*

The Dark is Rising wouldn't be too bad, either. It will be interesting to see how many mental images of mine they smash, however.
Posted by Kwea (Member # 2199) on :
I JUST got these book from ebay four days ago, and just reread the last three since then. Talk about good timing!

The only two I don't have are Greenwhich and OSUS, and I plaln on getting them through ebay asap.

Posted by Puffy Treat (Member # 7210) on :
"The Dark is Rising" is my favorite book in the series...though I think that "Greenwitch" and "The Grey King" are both more emotionally powerful. In a way, the latter two are such sad, heart-breaking books. They have magic, fantasy...but also a lot of pain.
Posted by ReikoDemosthenes (Member # 6218) on :
I'm not sure if I'm excited or terrified...I really hope they make the effort to do an excellent job of it
Posted by Puffy Treat (Member # 7210) on :
Will a movie necessarily shatter mental images formed while reading the book?

It happens sometimes...but more often than not I'm able to keep my own inner voice and visuals for the story, even if I really like the films.
Posted by larisse (Member # 2221) on :
Wow. I can't believe how excited I am just to read this topic much less the linked article. This is by far my favorite childhood series. (Narnia, Wrinkle, and LOTR/Hobbit or all basically tied for second.) I remember reading these and wanting to learn Welsh and the history of the British Isles.

Over Sea, Under Stone does have a connection to the series beyond the character of Merriman. The siblings in OSUS show up in the subsequent books after Dark.... In fact, I keep thinking the Greenwitch myth shows up a little in that book before Greenwitch, but I can't recall exactly why I think that. It has been a long while since I've read OSUS, and of all the books, it is the one I've read only once. The others in the series I've read several times. My favorite is The Grey King because of the myths it recalls, although Dark... is my favorite for sentimental reasons. I so wanted to wake up on my eleventh birthday and discover I was an Old One. (What is with eleventh birthdays [Smile] .)
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
Holy cow! That's great!
Posted by Shan (Member # 4550) on :
And to think all these wonderful movies are being made during my lifetime . . . *happy sigh* Now if they'd just do Dragonflight.

Posted by Danzig (Member # 4704) on :
Awesome! I loved all of those books except OSUS, which I have never read. Probably the most bittersweet of any children's books I have read, though.
Posted by Puffy Treat (Member # 7210) on :
I know that, larisse. The girl Jane is the only sibling who really plays a major role in "Greenwitch" or "Silver on the Tree".

Her brothers, unfortunately don't fare so well. They become _slightly_ better drawn, but mostly act as handy victims for the Dark to use as a "shield" at key points.

So I didn't think to mention them, as they aren't given much in the way of fully drawn personalities in OSUS...and by the time they show up again, only one plays a pivotal role.
Posted by MyrddinFyre (Member # 2576) on :
omgomgomg [Smile]

That series is responsible for my Welsh obsession, and for my username.

So yeah. I'm excited.
Posted by Book (Member # 5500) on :
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this is the greatest news ever. Period.

I hope they keep it as Welsh as possible. That oughtta do Wales a world of good (because they don't get much of it).
Posted by Shan (Member # 4550) on :
Dontcha 'member "Gene Loves Jezebel"?
Posted by CRash (Member # 7754) on :
The Dark Is Rising is an excellent book. I also really like The Grey King, with all of its mythology so cleverly woven into the story, and because of the fact that my favorite character of the series is Bran.
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
I so wanted to wake up on my eleventh birthday and discover I was an Old One.
Oh, amen! I cannot begin to describe how disappointed I was when this did not happen.
Posted by larisse (Member # 2221) on :
Oooo.... the old thread. I had forgotten about this one. No wonder I had the strongest sense of deja vu with the other one. I'd forget my own head if it wasn't attached properly, face front and all.

What was cool with The Grey King was that there were a couple of pages with a small primer for pronouncing the Welsh words in the book.

I was even more disappointed that I wasn't born on the Winter Solstice to boot.
Posted by Ginol_Enam (Member # 7070) on :
Wow, I had read these books in 5th grade, and was just trying to remember what they were (and, pretty much, what they were about; its been a while) when I saw this thread!

This is crazy... I'll have to buy and reread them for the movie...
Posted by Scott R (Member # 567) on :
Bridge to Teribithia would make an excellent movie, if done right.

Posted by Ophelia (Member # 653) on :
I liked Over Sea, Under Stone just fine, although it wasn't my favorite of the series.

The Grey King (That's the fourth one, right? The first one with Bran?) was my least favorite, for some reason.

At any rate, I'll be looking forward to the movie.
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
I started reading this thread angry that someone had pre-empted my parallel one. Then I noticed the significantly earlier start date. Oops.

I'd still like to hear more casting ideas. So far these have been mentioned:

Will- Skandar Keynes
Merriman- Hugh Laurie; Patrick Stewart; Alan Rickman
The Rider- Rupert Everett; Cilian Murphy; Jude Law
The Walker- Bob Hoskins

I'll add some more ideas:
The Rider- Jonathan Rhys-Meyers
The Walker-, Stewart; Anthony Hopkins; John Rhys-Davies; Robbie Coltrane
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
Also, I'd be interested in (and so would Walden Media, apparently) what you find most valuable about the books. I've given it some thought, and here's mine (possible spoilers):

The connection between everyday things and a sense of ancient nobility. Like Will, the boy next door, really being an Old One. The church they meet in, the paths they walk on, the homes they live in; all are part of this ancient pattern. That old tramp shuffling down the lane might be playing a part in a grand, mystical battle between good and evil. That business associate your father brings home on Christmas Eve may be a Dark Lord. The world you know may be suffused with ancient magic. That's my favorite thing about the books. It gave me, as a child, support for the feeling that there was unseen depth to life; that things that seem mundane can actually be anything but, and that wonder and mystery can be a part of everyday life.
Posted by Puffy Treat (Member # 7210) on :
The Lady- Judi Dench
Posted by Puffy Treat (Member # 7210) on :
They better not skimp on the special effects budget. Reareading the will _not_ be cheap to film. The flooding of the Thames alone will cost a say nothing of creature effects like the Stag-Headed Hern and his Hounds.
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
That's funny; I thought the effects could be significantly less than the Narnia/Potter movies, because the supernatural element is so much less (not much flying on brooms, talking lions, dragons, etc). I hope they have a small effects budget and are forced to bring out the (I think) more compelling personal issues.

And I think Judi Dench would be great for "The Lady."
Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
Judi Dench is way too substantial to play The Lady, in my estimation. I'd think someone more birdlike would be better. I don't really have anyone in mind, unfortunately. I really don't know the names of that many actors and actresses.
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
I thought that, too, Noemon. But her face is perfect. Maybe they could take Helena Bonham Carter and age her a few hundred years. That could work.
Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
Now we just need a time machine!
Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
I agree, though--an elderly Helena Bonham Carter would be great in the role.
Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
I also agree that Anthony Hopkins would do a good job as Hawkin. Ian Holm wouldn't be a bad choice either.

I can't remember the name of the character, but the old one who gives Will the first sign would be well played by James Cromwell.
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
Isn't that Merriman? In the great hall with The Lady (before the Dark comes calling)? Am I remembering wrong?
Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
It's been too long since I've read these--I'm going to have to find my copy and reread it in the very near future--but I *thought* that he got the iron sign from another old one who lived nearby.

Edit--John "Wayland" Smith is the character I was thinking of for James Cromwell , but I'm not sure that he's the character who gave Will the first sign.

[ January 05, 2006, 03:47 PM: Message edited by: Noemon ]
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
I'm pretty fuzzy too, but I think you're right and I'm wrong. His neighbor (named Wayland Smith? sounds right) is also an old one, and gives him the sign as a birthday present. He's also at the church when Will gets the sign of Stone, and shows up in a couple of other places.
Posted by Puffy Treat (Member # 7210) on :
There are less supernatural creatures, but there's a _lot_ of magic in the book. And more than a few of the results of said magic (such as the Thames flooding) are of the type that cost lots of money, even by today's standards.

A cheap effects budget !=being forced to bring out the more compelling personal issues. I could give many examples of fantasy films that had small FX budgets but still had cheesy, unconvincing treatment of the human elements and emotional turmoil.
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
Well, you're probably right. As we've just established my memory of the books (despite rereading them about four years ago) is fuzzy at best. The magic in the book seemed to me to require less intense effects than other fantasy films, but I could certainly be wrong. Your example of the flood is a good one, although I'm not sure I understand why it would be such a costly effect.

My point about the FX budget was more sour grapes about Narnia than anything else. I liked Narnia, but would have preferred a less effects-driven movie with better acting, balance, and pacing. If some of the FX $ had been taken away, perhaps they wouldn't/couldn't have spent so much time on the final battle sequence, allowing for a better overall development (IMO).

I agree about your cheap effects budget != quality personal performance. It's more about the ratios. I won't complain about a large effects budget, as long as the scriptwriting budget, casting budget, etc. are similarly large. [Wink]
Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
I also felt like this was a movie that wouldn't require all *that* much in the way of special effects (when compared to, say, LOtR, Narnia, or the Star Wars movies, say).

Why would a flooding Thames be that much more expensive with CGI than any other CGI landscaping?
Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
I was just thinking about this movie, and googled around to see if there was any new news on it. Doesn't seem to be, but I noticed that someone named Marc Platt is going to be directing it. I quick check on IMDB didn't turn up any directing credits for him, although he may be the same guy who produced Legally Blond, or possibly the author of a Doctor Who spinoff from 1995. I hope that this guy is capable of capturing the slightly creepy, slightly spooky feel of the book. Terry Gilliam is the only director I can think of that I feel confident could pull it off, but this probably has a lot more to do with my not being familiar with that many directors than any lack of people capable of pulling it off.

Anybody know anything about this guy? If you were to pick the director, who would you choose?
Posted by erosomniac (Member # 6834) on :
Am I the only one who has never heard of these books?
Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
Yes. Yes you are.
Posted by twinky (Member # 693) on :
They sound familiar to me. I may have read one or more of them, but I'm not sure.
Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
I'm sure that there will be people here who will hate me for saying this, but as an adult rereading the series the only book that really captures me is The Dark is Rising. It's probably the only one of them I'd recommend to an adult approaching the series for the first time (and it works well as a stand-alone novel, I think).
Posted by Stasia (Member # 9122) on :
I was toying with the idea of re-reading them, but never did because I'm petrified that re-reading them with an adult mind would ruin them for me.

Although I know that nothing could re-capture that magic I felt when I read and re-read the series when I was 10, I don't want them ruined by my now cynical adult mind. I'm even ambivalent about seeing the movie(s)they'll make. But I probably will just out of curiosity.
Posted by Carrie (Member # 394) on :
Originally posted by Noemon:
I'm sure that there will be people here who will hate me for saying this, but as an adult rereading the series the only book that really captures me is The Dark is Rising. It's probably the only one of them I'd recommend to an adult approaching the series for the first time (and it works well as a stand-alone novel, I think).

No hatred here! I've always felt that way about the series, though I do find The Grey King alright. I think I've got a thing for Bran. [Wink]
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
I did reread them as an adult and didn't find that to be true. I noticed different things in the books as an adult, but I still enjoyed them immensely.

As for a director: hmm..I think Gilliam would be way too over the top for my taste. I'd prefer someone like Shamylan (although not hime exactly), where things can be creepy and yet familiar. Gilliam imbues the familiar with creepiness, but makes it unfamiliar in the process. I'd prefer a lighter touch for this movie.
Posted by Noemon (Member # 1115) on :
Gilliam *can* be over the top, but he isn't always. Or maybe I just think he has the capacity not to be. I definitely agree that he can be pretty heavy handed.

It was The Fisher King that made me think that he might be able to do it (and really, even if the rest of it was off I'd *love* to see how he handled Herne the Hunter), but even that goes a bit over the top.

I was also thinking about good directors whose work I enjoy who I think would be absolutely awful for this movie. Tim Burton, I think, would absolutely murder this story.
Posted by Kwea (Member # 2199) on :
I disagree, I think I would rather have him do it. [Big Grin]

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