Alfred Bester may not be as well known to the mainstream as his contemporaries like Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, and Isaac Asimov, but hardcore sci-fi fans are more than familiar with the man and his work. The guy won the first ever Hugo Award in 1953. Unlike those notable writers, however, Bester’s work has never really been adapted, though he did do some TV writing in the 1950s, as well as lots of comic book work. People have tried to adapt his work from time to time, and now it’s looking like one of his greatest novels, The Stars My Destination (also known as Tiger! Tiger!), may be headed for the big screen.
Deadline reports that Mary Parent, a producer on the recent The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water, has her hands on the project for Paramount Pictures. Just in case that doesn’t fill you with tons of confidence, don’t worry, Parent also worked on Pacific Rim, Godzilla, Pleasantville, and many other notable films.
Inspired by a National Geographic story Bester read about a shipwrecked World War II sailor marooned for 133 days, The Stars My Destination follows Gulliver “Gully” Foyle, who, surprise surprise, finds himself marooned for years in deep space after his ship is attacked. After finally being rescued, he embarks on a Count of Monte Cristo like quest for revenge against those who stranded him and left him for dead.
This is not the first time that Bester’s 1956 novel has been in line for adaptation, as Deadline also notes that is has been kicking around for more than 20 years. Richard Gere and Paul W. S. Anderson were both linked to it at one point, and I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of glad that version didn’t actually pan out (though Event Horizon is pretty sweet).
As far as the process goes, this is in the early, early, early going. Paramount still has to finalize the deal to secure the rights, and then they can actually start doing things like securing talent, hashing out a script, hiring actors, directors, and what not. So it’s more than possible that this could fall apart again. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time, but it would be cool to see a big screen adaptation of some of an underappreciated sci-fi icon’s greatest work. And given his status among those in the know, you have to imagine that this could attract all kinds of interest from intriguing filmmakers.