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New Writer Set For Nineteen Eighty-Four
Noah Oppenheim starts doublethinking

18 June 2012  |  Written by Owen Williams  |  Source: Deadline

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New Writer Set For Nineteen Eighty-Four

Last we heard, Imagine Entertainment's new adaptation of George Orwell's dystopian classic Nineteen Eighty-Four was "out to writers". Imagine has now finished scouring the Ministry Of Screenplays and have found their man. It's Noah Oppenheim. Double plus good! 

The novel, as you know, was written in 1948, and is a satire of the totalitarian regimes of the mid-century. It centers on Winston Smith, a pen-pusher for the Ministry Of Truth, whose job is to rewrite news and history as propaganda for the all-seeing but never-seen political behemoth Big Brother. Smith secretly hates the system, keeping a diary which, if discovered by the Thought Police, would - and does - land him in immense trouble ("Thoughtcrime does not entail death; thoughtcrime is death"). And he embarks on an affair with the similarly rebellious Julia, until they are discovered and given life-changing appointments in the terrifying Room 101...

Much-studied and massively familiar (to the extent that much of its terminology is now common parlance and the word "Orwellian" has become an adjective in itself), it's surprising to realise that the book hasn't actually been filmed since the version in, you guessed it, 1984, directed by Michael Radford and starring John Hurt and Richard Burton.

This new version has somehow come about via Shepard Fairey, the street artist who famously designed the much-imitated Barak Obama "Hope" banner in 2008. Quite what his involvement has been remains unclear, but it seems he was instrumental in bringing the project to Imagine (run by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard), and may garner a producer credit. Julie Yorn and her LBI Entertainment had also been seeking the rights, and the two companies have now joined forces. 

Oppenheim was a senior producer on NBC's Today show before he moved into screenwriting. He's not yet had a script get as far as the screen, but he's written The Secret Life Of Houdini for Summit Entertainment, and the developing remakes of Wargames and Snabba Cash.

A studio for Nineteen Eighty-Four will be set once there's a complete script to show people. Big Empire will be watching, and will bring you further Newspeak in due course.

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Your Comments

Peter Cushing
..was in an original BBC version in (I think) the 50s - may also have been broadcast live. Cushing nails Winston's weary desperation. More

Posted by duncanwhatmore at 20:46 on 18 June 2012 | Report This Post

I'm guessing...
They'll completely miss the point of the book and as Max says above turn it into some kind of triumph of the human spirit thing. I predict big, dumb and brainless... More

Posted by artilleryman at 14:13 on 18 June 2012 | Report This Post

I'm already dreading this...they're bound to turn it into some futuristic 'on the run' movie. I'm already seeing Matt Damon!!! More

Posted by MaxRenn at 12:03 on 18 June 2012 | Report This Post

Not sure if we need it!
Although it's a great classic piece of sci-fi, I'm not sure we actually need a remake! The John Hurt version is excellent and isn't dated, it'll probably be another mainstream Hollywood piece of junk! More

Posted by dannyfletch at 10:51 on 18 June 2012 | Report This Post

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