At a gathering of Hollywood producers this past weekend, one question recurred at a number of sessions: Which unproduced film would panelists most like to see made?
Harvey Weinstein said he'd long wanted to pull off a sequel to "Rounders." "I never make sequels but it's something I'd like to revisit," the independent film mogul said, adding that the Web had changed the world of poker such that he could imagine a whole new vein of drama. (There is a preliminary agreement for Weinstein to develop a sequel with the company that bought the Miramax library, but nothing actively is in the works.)
Morgan Freeman, meanwhile, added his own dream project: a movie based on an Arthur C. Clarke work titled "Rendezvous With Rama." The 1972 sci-fi novel tells of humans who come upon an alien craft that has entered Earth's path. Freeman acquired rights from Clarke about 15 years ago, he said, with high hopes. There's only one obstacle in the way. "If we get a script, we got a movie," Freeman said. It's hardly a small hurdle, and it's a reason the movie likely won't get made anytime soon.
But these difficulties notwithstanding, the discussions called to mind the many unfulfilled ambitions in Hollywood, and which project the rest of us would like to see made. We took a quick informal poll around the office asking which novel, property or real-life story people would most like to see turned into a film.
Among the names that popped up was an adaptation of "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay," Michael Chabon's Pulitzer-winner that has been stuck in development limbo for a decade, as well as "Geek Love," Katherine Dunn's cult classic about carnival parents who begin experimenting on their own children.
There's also the screen version of "Independence Day" and the two related books in Richard Ford's series about a troubled male protagonist; there had been off-and-on attempts to develop it, including an effort as an HBO miniseries with "Walk the Line" director James Mangold, but no dice so so far.
If one were to ask late film legends, the answer might come back differently: Stanley Kubrick, for instance, dreamed for years of making an epic out of the story of Napoleon.
The list could go on. For years, fans clamored for "Ender's Game" and are finally getting their wish as a film moves forward with "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" director Gavin Hood. "Atlas Shrugged" is already a movie, but hard-core Randians could be yearning for adaptations of other works.
Most of us have mixed feelings about these dream projects: we're curious to see how the material would be rendered onscreen even as we fear that he development delays (not to mention the difficulty of the material) signal that a film version won't be very good. And yet we remain hopeful.
We thought we'd ask you to weigh in with your preferred material -- could be a novel, could be a real-life story, could even be a video game -- that you'd most like to see turned into a movie. Maybe even throw in an actor or director you'd most like to see do it. We'll tally the results and see which project comes out on top.
Photo: The jacket of "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay." Credit: Picador