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02 November 2009
Exclusive: Iain M Banks Talks Culture
His inner nerd is concerned.
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Iain M Banks' Culture To Be Filmed?
That's the plan anyway...

22 October 2009  |  Written by Owen Williams  |  Source: Variety

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The British production company Film and Music Entertainment, in partnership with director Dominic Murphy (White Lightnin'), have just announced several future projects, including an untitled Bronte film (Charlotte? Emily? Anne?) and Jesus Christ Airlines, about a heroic pilot in Biafra. But most tantalising is A Gift From the Culture, based on a short story by Iain M. Banks, originally published in Interzone and collected in Banks' The State of the Art.

Murphy is writing the script, which if it sticks to source will be about a refugee from Banks' complex utopia The Culture, living undercover on a world that the anarchist socialist intergalactic colonial empire (yes, it's contradictory, we know) has just noticed, and being blackmailed into a violent act using a Culture-specific weapon.

Banks' sci-fi novels (he also writes dark "mainstream" fiction without the M, notably The Wasp Factory and The Crow Road) are fat and full of ideas, and, we'd have thought, pretty resistant to screen adaptation. Banks himself has been equivocal on the subject in the past, although he has joked that he'd be willing to make any compromise necessary, including sticking on a happy ending, to see his mental space opera Consider Phlebas given the $200m Hollywood treatment.

Focusing on a short story is a modest and sensible approach then, but we'll still believe this when we see it. 

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Your Comments

Untitled Bronte
Sir - You forgot, in your list of Bronte possibilities, BRANWELL. Ciao! More

Posted by urbisoler at 01:27 on 23 October 2009 | Report This Post

State of the Art
I think if they were going to go down the short story route the novella The State of the Art would be a better option. From a budget perspective it makes sense being set on Earth and would be a good social satire being centred around a Culture Contact agent going native. More

Posted by Dave25 at 17:08 on 22 October 2009 | Report This Post

RE: hmm...
yeah sry mate, a movie about a group of advanced AI's chasing each other around the galaxy isn't what id call golden movie fodder More

Posted by Boorerville at 13:20 on 22 October 2009 | Report This Post

come on! lets take a leap of faith here!
Consider Phlebas could be a brilliantly dark twisted (medium budget, im talking district 9 level here) sci-fi movie. Could the scene on the beach with the grotesque cannibal be included? YES! but i think we all know whats going to happon. strip out all individualisum about the Culture's... umm.... culture and make a straight up vauge sci-fi romp in order to get the hardcore fans on board from the name alone. Keep your hands firmly on the reins Banks! More

Posted by Boorerville at 13:16 on 22 October 2009 | Report This Post

Use of Weapons maybe
But I thought that Against a Dark Background would be the most easily filmed due to it's episodic nature, it also occured to me whilst reading Matter that he was thinking of a movie when writing it. But seroiusly the culture is too evolved for Movie Ececs to buy in to, it would be a shame to water it down to their level More

Posted by Simon124 at 12:35 on 22 October 2009 | Report This Post

..imagine a good adaptation of Excession. No idea how anyone could pull that one off though... More

Posted by amerelium at 12:16 on 22 October 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Good Plan...
I'm sure i heard ages ago that the Player of Games had been optioned... anyone else heard that or am i just going crazy? I think either that, Use of Weapons or as someone else said State of the Art would be good kicking off points. More

Posted by Mr Dead at 11:21 on 22 October 2009 | Report This Post

Good Plan...
Let's not be too hasty. Sure - chances are it will not end up the movie each individual culture fan would like to see. Also, that short story most definitely does NOT have a happy ending. But at least it is a plan to use brilliant source material, instead of "Tetris - the Movie" or a hip-hop remake of "Citizen Kane". Give them a chance and some kudos for quality intentions... More

Posted by The Voice of Fate at 10:25 on 22 October 2009 | Report This Post

I agree!
Please, someone adapt Use Of Weapons into a movie. One of the most exciting, funny inteligent sc-fi novels of the past 20 years. More

Posted by ceejay3001 at 09:15 on 22 October 2009 | Report This Post

This is a bad idea
Please just stick to making half decent TV movies of his contemporary fiction. None of it is going to translate to the big screen properly. Dakes 69, is right though. The best chance they have of getting the Culture on-screen is Use of Weapons. Or the short story The State of the Art. State of the Art would at least introduce Diziet Sma and give her a background in a way Use of Weapons doesn't. Even so, I will pray they don't do it. More

Posted by Tokkas100 at 09:11 on 22 October 2009 | Report This Post

The ultimate Banks Adaptation
would be The Use of Weapons, made by the Wachorski's but I have no idea on the lead. A bulked up Nathon Fillion? liam Neeson? More

Posted by dakes69 at 08:53 on 22 October 2009 | Report This Post

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