The last time David Heyman worked on a book project for Warner Bros., it was that small-scale run of films all bearing the name Harry Potter. So you can imagine that the studio is happy to listen to whatever Heyman decides might make a good movie. The studio has now snapped up the rights to JG Ballard’s The Drowned World for Heyman’s Heyday Film to develop.
Written in 1962 by Ballard, the novel is a forward-thinking dystopian tale where solar radiation has melted the polar ice caps and caused the world to flood.
In the year 2145, Dr Robert Kerans tries to make a living in a skyscraper barely poking out of an underwater London as he studies the problems mankind faces with the newly wild environment.
Survey teams sent out to study flora and fauna are reporting dangerous levels of emotional and moral devolution among the populace, and Ballard’s story seethes with his usual insight into how humans are affected by their environment.
There's no writer attached yet, but whoever takes it on will have quite the task to distil Ballard’s prose down to cinematic form. And there’s always the looming spectre of Waterworld squatting in the corner.
But Crash (the Cronenberg one) and Empire Of The Sun have proved you can make a movie from Ballard’s work, even if the results have been mixed.