As Peter Jackson and Co. did with The Lord of the Rings, New Line founders Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, under their new Unique Features banner, are looking to bring Isaac Asimov‘s Foundation series to the big screen.
An epic science fiction series, spanning literally hundreds of years and cataloguing the rise and fall of civilizations, the Foundation series is set so far into the future that Earth is nothing but a memory. Originally a series of eight short stories, published in Astounding Magazine between 1942 and 1950, Asimov eventually published the story as a trilogy.
The first book, Foundation, collected the first four short stories, as well as a new story which was set prior to the original four. The following two books, Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation, saw the other stories published in pairs. These three books make up the Foundation Trilogy.
And just like with New Line’s biggest success, LOTR, Shaye and Lynne are hoping that with the production and release of the first adaptation, they will be able to continue the series. And with each book focusing on an entirely new group of characters, they may be able to bypass some of the issues with their actors aging against the grain of the book (Harry Potter anyone?).
As with much of Asimov’s work, it is highly political and referential, Foundation taking direct cues from Edward Gibbon‘s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Add to that the almost requisite philosophical themes that are part and parcel of Asimov’s work, and Hollywood has had a tough time adapting his work to the big screen. One need only look at how far I, Robot differed from the original text, despite its box office success, as proof of this.
Shaye and Lynne will be working under their new banner, Unique Features, which have a three year first-look deal with Warner Bros., who would handle marketing and distribution for the group, which hopes to make two or three movies a year. Let us just hope that they treat Asimov’s work with a little more respect and reverence than their previous New Line treated Lord of the Rings.