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I Am Legend Reboot Is Happening In A Most Illogical Way

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i am legendRichard Matheson‘s 1954 novel I Am Legend has already been turned into three different movies of differing values, and despite years of trying to figure out a way to spin a follow-up to Francis Lawrence’s 2007 adaptation, Warner Bros. is now just doing away with all ideas of prequels and sequels and is just rebooting the entire damned thing. I believe that’s called “the old Hollywood college try.”

The thing is, they’re not even going with a piece of fiction that started its life as an I Am Legend movie. Warner is actually tasking screenwriter Gary Graham with rewriting his own screenplay, A Garden at the End of the World, to mesh with the I Am Legend mythos. Warner fought hard to acquire Graham’s spec script back in April, after he posted it on the Black List website and made waves. Graham was brought back to the studio to polish it up, but producers widened their minds and realized there were enough similarities between A Garden at the End of the World and I Am Legend that a retrofitting wasn’t out of the question. It must be fantastic for a writer to hear that his original work is just good enough to become the fourth iteration of something else.

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Richard Matheson Is Legend, And Was Born On This Day In 1926: Today In Science Fiction

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MathesonThe Legend of Hell House. Somewhere in Time. The Incredible Shrinking Man (and Woman). What Dreams May Come. Stir of Echoes. The Box. Real Steel. People — ourselves included — may often complain about how Hollywood seems to only have eyes for Philip K. Dick when it comes to adapting classic science fiction literature for the big screen, but it’s easy to forget that the late Richard Matheson could easily give Dick a run for his money when it came time to compare screen credits. And all that’s without even mentioning the trifecta of The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man, and I Am Legend, all based on Richard Matheson’s book that shares a name with the latter Will Smith movie. The world lost a powerful genre talent when Matheson passed away in 2013, but his legacy — both in his books and in the films they spawned — remains unquestionably impressive.

Matheson was born on February 20, 1926, the son of Norwegian immigrant parents, in Allendale, New Jersey. At the age of eight he made his first sale, with a local newspaper running one of his short stories. It was the beginning of a prolific career that stretched over nearly eight decades. In addition to all the unforgettable books mentioned above (and quite a few we didn’t mention), Matheson also worked extensively in television throughout the ’60s and ’70s, with credits popping up in shows including Have Gun Will Travel, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.. He also wrote for two of the greatest science fiction TV series of all time: he penned “The Enemy Within” for the original Star Trek run and contributed to a whopping 16 episodes of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone. (You can watch our picks for his five best Zones right here.)

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Gravity Takes Your Breath Away On The Day Sputnik Launched: Today In Science & Science Fiction

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GravityIt seems like we’ve been waiting forever to see Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, but today it’s finally here. Even better, the movie is receiving damn near universal praise, currently sitting at a ridiculous 98% Fresh over at Rotten Tomatoes. James Cameron called it “the best space film ever,” and that’s high praise from a director so focused on pushing forward the technology of filmmaking. I’ve heard some complaints that the story itself isn’t amazing, but the visual splendor more than makes up for it. This is one you’ll definitely want to see on the biggest screen. And remember, in space, no one can hear you scream. But the people next to you in the theater can, so try and control yourself.

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Richard Matheson’s Five Best Twilight Zone Episodes, Submitted For Your Approval

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Twilight ZoneThe worlds of fantasy and science fiction lost a giant last month with the passing of Richard Matheson. Over a long career, he’s penned tons of classic novels, including I Am Legend, A Stir of Echoes, and Bid Time Return. Many of his novels were adapted into films over the years, from the multiple incarnations of I Am Legend, the Robin Williams flick What Dreams May Come, and the aforementioned Bid Time Return, which took the name Somewhere in Time for its big-screen outing starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.

But I’ve always had a soft spot for Matheson’s Twilight Zone episodes. Matheson was a frequent contributor to Rod Serling’s classic series, penning the teleplay for several iconic episodes, or having other writers adapt his stories. If you’re a Richard Matheson fan, there’s no shortage of the man’s work for you to revisit in his memory. But for me, I decided to revisit my favorite Matheson episodes. Here are my picks for Matheson’s five best excursions into another dimension…into the Twilight Zone

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Richard Matheson To Receive Posthumous Visionary Award At 2013 Saturn Awards

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mathesonRichard Matheson had been writing and scaring the shit out of people since the early 1950s, and even though his work in his later years wasn’t nearly as memorable within the sci-fi and horror culture, his most classic works still stand heads above 90% of the claptrap out there. As well, his simplistic form of prose is accessible to just about everyone. I Am Legend and Hell House are two frightening books whose cinematic adaptations couldn’t compare to the emotions Matheson’s words provoked, though his Twilight Zone episodes are almost all classics.

So why is it that Matheson’s lengthy career has never inspired the genre-friendly Saturn Awards to present the writer with their honorary Visionary Award? That may never be known, but at least the Academy of Science Fiction, Horror & Fantasy Films is trying to recognize their past failures by awarding him with the honor at the Awards’ 39th annual celebration on June 26. Unfortunately, Matheson passed away Monday, June 24, at the age of 87, so the honor is a posthumously presented one. Dammit, Saturn Awards, why couldn’t you have done this in any of the past 39 years, seeing as how Matheson was pretty much eligible the entire time?

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I Am Legend/Twilight Zone Writer Richard Matheson Is Dead At The Age Of 87

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MathesonI would really like to make it longer than two weeks without having to write an obituary for a mega-talented genre writer, because we’re falling into an all-too-familiar pattern here of late. First we lost Jack Vance, then — far, far too young — Iain M. Banks, and now today comes the news that Richard Matheson, author of I Am Legend and many, many other things, has passed away at the age of 87.

While we’ve all got a death in our ledger, it’s at least nice to see a situation like Matheson, who lived to an old age and leaves behind a collection of work any writer would be proud of. Matheson had apparently been ill for a while, and finally passed away yesterday. Shock Till You Drop shared the following comment from Matheson’s daughter, Ali:

My beloved father passed away yesterday at home surrounded by the people and things he loved…he was funny, brilliant, loving, generous, kind, creative, and the most wonderful father ever…I miss you and love you forever Pop and I know you are now happy and healthy in a beautiful place full of love and joy you always knew was there…