If you’re not familiar with Nightfall, it was first a short story by Isaac Asimov later developed into a novel by Asimov & Robert Silverberg. It’s one of my favorite pieces of fiction. Handled well, it could be like Indiana Jones meets Star Trek or Avatar and The Da Vinci Code.
Overall the movie could have an Apocalyptic kind of feel… with new beginnings and a b’ak’tun-like cycle. It would be great if the movie were released this year, with the 2012 hype reaching full fervor soon. Tie into that some epic sci-fi stuff, archeological mystery, journalism, psychology experiments, a little humor, religious and government conspiracies, disproving long-standing scientific theories (like “hey, we revolve around the sun!”) and blowing peoples’ minds, and even a great philosophical message. I’d say you can’t go wrong with it as long as you try to stick to the original story as much as possible.
It has apparently been made into a movie twice. I have seen one of them, and I just remember it not only betraying the story but just being crap. One was made in 1988 and one in 2000. I looked on Netflix and can only see the one from 2000 and it can only be “saved”, it’s apparently not on DVD in their collection. So maybe I watched this way back, from a video store or even on a VHS tape. The 1988 one, I can only find used VHS copies on Amazon, so perhaps it doesn’t exist on DVD. I just remember it being an inexplicably different planet & having different characters, or perhaps being another “cycle” than the one depicted in the book. I may have to track them both down for the fun of it.
The book starts out with a little preface saying basically that it’s an alien world, with alien things … but in order to convey the story well, they were going to use the word “boot” instead of making up an alien word to cover whatever appendage the alien did the equivalent of its walking on. So, while it would need to be an alien world… it wouldn’t need to be too alien. It would have to be easily related to.
A successful movie would really need to make use of the suns & colors at the times of day & days of the week. Much like The Crow had bleached overall look or 300 looked like a painting in every frame, the colors of the sky would need to change ever so subtly from red hues to yellow hues as noted in the book. They could certainly relate to the mood of each scene.
Asimov wrote a great story. Don't screw it up.
Also… don’t alter the damn story. It’s great how everything’s revealed. Don’t rename the characters. Don’t rename the planet. Don’t get rid of their numbers. Don’t change their occupations. Don’t add any characters. Don’t take the premise & build another story around it.
In a time where Hollywood is making movies that are remakes or reboots of movies only a few years old… why not tap into some other sources, especially ones from (arguably) one of the best science fiction writers of all time? From Wikipedia:
The Science Fiction Writers of America voted “Nightfall” the best science fiction short story written prior to the 1965 establishment of the Nebula Awards, in 1968, and included it in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964.
Do you really need any more proof that this would make a great film if handled properly? I mean, even this would make a great poster tagline if condensed somehow:
According to Asimov’s autobiography, Campbell asked Asimov to write the story after discussing with him a quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
- If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown!
Campbell’s opinion to the contrary was: “I think men would go mad.”
So studio execs, casting directors, effects teams, directors, & producers… get on this. Please?