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Monday, August 18, 2008

Philip K. Dick: SykoFilm Profile

Philip Kindred Dick, aka Philip K. Dick, aka PKD, was often considered a science fiction writer that was way ahead of his time. He was critically acclaimed and won several writing awards, but was not particularly successful commercially for most of his career. Much of his writing was dystopic and unnerving, but filmmakers have found a fair bit of commercial success with film adaptations of his writing, starting with Blade Runner. (PKD died during the production.)

There have been more than 10 movies made directly from PKD’s writing (excluding documentaries), and three more are in the works. Here’s a quick rundown of PKD movies, in chronological order, and with relevant video clips and posters / stills when available.

1. Blade Runner (1982).
Director: Ridley Scott.
Writers: Philip K. Dick (novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” aka D.A.D.o.E.S.), Hampton Fancher.
Release Date: Jun 25, 1982.
Actors: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah.
IMDB: Blade Runner.
Video: Final Cut trailer.

2. Total Recall (1990).
Director: Paul Verhoeven.
Writers: Philip K. Dick (short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”), Ronald Shusett.
Release Date: Jun 1, 1990
Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone.
IMDB: Total Recall.

3. Screamers (1995).
Director: Christian Duguay.
Writers: Philip K. Dick (short story “Second Variety”), Dan O’Bannon.
Release Date: Jan 26, 1996.
Actors: Peter Weller, Roy Dupuis, Jennifer Rubin, Andrew Lauer.
IMDB: Screamers.
Video: The video clip below is of a Cinefiles episode in which they explore films based on Philip K. Dick stories. Screamers is mentioned.

4. Total Recall 2070: Machine Dreams (1999).
Notes: Pilot for TV series.
Director: Mario Azzopardi.
Writers: Philip K. Dick (short story), Art Monterastelli.
Release Date: Jan 5, 1999.
Actors: Michael Easton, Karl Pruner, Cynthia Preston, Michael Rawlins.
IMDB: Total Recall 2070.
Video: Possible spoilers.

5. Impostor (2002).
Director: Gary Fleder.
Writers: Philip K. Dick (short story “The Impostor”), Scott Rosenberg.
Release Date: Jan 4, 2002.
Actors: Gary Sinise, Madeleine Stowe, Vincent D’Onofrio, Tony Shaloub, Tim Guinee, Gary Dourdan.
IMDB: Impostor.
Notes: Sinise and Dourdan are now in CSI: NY and CSI, respectively; D’Onofrio in Law & Order: CI; and Shaloub in Monk. (Samantha Morton, who is in Minority Report, is in Cold Case.)

6. Minority Report (2002).
Director: Steven Spielberg.
Writers: Philip K. Dick (short story), Scott Frank.
Release Date: Jun 21, 2002.
Actors: Tom Cruise, Max Von Sydow, Steve Harris, Neal McDonough, Patrick Kilpatrick, Jessica Capshaw, Samantha Morton.
IMDB: Minority Report.

7. Paycheck (2003).
Director: John Woo.
Writers: Philip K. Dick (short story), Dean Georgaris.
Release Date: Dec 25, 2003.
Actors: Ben Affleck, Aaron Eckhart, Uma Thurman, Paul Giamatti, Colm Feore, Kathryn Morris (Cold Case).
Notes: My personal PKD movie favorite, displacing Blade Runner.
IMDB: Paycheck.

8. A Scanner Darkly (2006, Animated).
Director: Richard Linklater.
Writers: Philip K. Dick (novel), Richard Linklater.
Release Date: Jul 28, 2006.
Actors: Rory Cochrane, Robert Downey Jr., Mitch Baker, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson.
IMDB: A Scanner Darkly.
Notes: This movie is live-action with a layer of animation over the frames.

9. Next (2007).
Director: Lee Tamahori
Writers: Philip K. Dick (novel “The Golden Man”), Gary Goldman, Jonathan Hensleigh, Paul Bernbaum.
Release Date: Apr 27, 2007.
Actors: Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, Jessica Biel, Thomas Kretschmann.
IMDB: Next.
Notes: Lee Tamahori directed Once Were Warriors (1995) about a family of Maori Warriors (which won 19 awards) as well as several other edgy movies.

10. Radio Free Albemuth (2008).
Director: John Alan Simon.
Writers: Philip K. Dick (novel), John Alan Simon.
Release Date: Jun 11, 2008.
Actors: Jonathan Scarfe, Shea Whigham, Katheryn Winnick, Alanis Morissette, Hanna Hall, Frances Fisher, Julie Warner.
IMDB: Radio Free Albemuth.

11. Owl in Daylight (2009).
Director: unknown as of yet.
Writers: Philip K. Dick (novel, unpublished), Tony Grisoni.
Release Date: 2009.
Actors: Paul Giamatti.
IMDB: Owl in Daylight.
Notes: Paul Giamatti, who was in Paycheck (see above), plays Philip K. Dick in this sort of biography that also discusses the Owl in Daylight novel, which was planned but not actually written before PKD died.
Video: n/a

12. Screamers 2 (2009).
Director: Sheldon Wilson.
Writers: Philip K. Dick (original story), Tom Berry (story), Miguel Tejada-Flores (screenplay and story).
Release Date: 2009.

Gina Holden ... Victoria Bronte

Tim Rozon ... Madden

Greg Bryk ... Andy Sexton

Stephen Amell ... Guy

Christopher Redman ... Rafe Danielli

Holly O'Brien ... Hannah

Stephen Patrick Dunn ... Teenage Boy Screamer
Sarah Small ... Teenage Girl Screemer

Lynley Hall ... Jessie
Notes: A group of humans arrive on Sirius 6-B to investigate an SOS signal sent out from the planet, which has been supposedly deserted since the destruction of the man-made weapons known as "screamers." Once the squad arrives, they find a group of human survivors eking out an existence in an old military outpost, but more important, they discover that the threat of the screamers has become even more insidious, now that they're able to morph into human form.
Video: n/a

That’s now 12 movies and counting. (You might notice the time between PKD movies becoming shorter and shorter.) Some guess the next candidate is “The Man in the High Castle“, which is based on an alternate Earth where the Nazis didn’t lose WW II and they and the Japanese jointly occupy the United States. However, others think that The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and/or Valis is being developed. Well, This blogger hopes every story he's written is given honor in production and not dragged through the dirt.

Sources: MovieCrunch and IMDB
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