Tessa, John K.

Muir, our media reviewer, sent a few questions if you have time to look at them and the inclination to offer any thoughts: 1. What is it about Dick's science fiction work that makes it such fertile ground for Hollywood producers? The characters are well-rounded, which appeals to actors. Phil’s vision of the future gives producers confidence that his works will make big films with big ideas, and not just throw-away or feel-good films. 2. Thoughts on Minority Report? Minority Report draws upon ideas from Phil’s entire body of work, presenting a holistic view of the paranoiac vision that haunted him. The screenwriter correctly interpreted his philosophic vision as a cautionary tale about the nightmare that lies in wait for us if we choose security over liberty. 3. Of all the adapted works (to film) - Blade Runner, Total Recall, Imposter, Minority Report - which has been the most faithful to Dick's ethos? Least faithful? I already answered this one. (Bladerunner embodies his darkest visions, while Total Recall displays his sense of humor.) 4. Why do you think Dick's original titles are rarely used (i.e. Blade Runner vs. Do Androids... or Total Recall vs. We Can Remember It For You Wholesale...) Actually, the books rarely carry Phil’s original titles, as the editors usually wrote new titles after reading his manuscripts. Phil often commented that he couldn’t write good titles. If he could, he would have been an advertising writer instead of a novelist. 5. How does the current state of the art (special effects...) help or hurt in bringing out the values of the author? Which do you think would have been the author's favorite adaptation, regardless of faithfulness to his work? Why? [This is one question? Looks like two unrelated q’s to me] Special effects catch the attention of the movie-going audience, bringing more young people and technical types into the theater. Phil would have liked Minority Report more than the others, primarily because it takes place in Washington, D.C., where he spent some of the happiest years of his childhood. In addition, the hero succeeds more through intellect than by physical prowess.

6. So much of Dick's work seems to be about the concept of identity and what identity is. Do you think the films capture this notion? Which more than the rest? Bladerunner and Minority Report capture Phil’s concern about what makes us human, as well as what makes us moral creatures. The other films don’t really try to achieve this goal. Screamers seemed to promise an exploration of these concepts, but it devolved into a B-movie clone of “creature features” like The Night of the Living Dead or The Creature from 20,000 Fathoms. I was certainly disappointed with that film. Thanks! Al Sirois, our critic at large (and my longtime pal & fellow writer) dropped me a note: "Off the top of my head, I'd like to know if there are any plans to film any of Dick's NON sf work, like CONFESSIONS OF A CRAP ARTIST. Or if there are any plans to film UBIK, or THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE (both sf, and very well known)." Sorry, I don’t know of any plans. Try the web site: http://www.philipkdick.com

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