Prendick. That’s the name of the main character in H.G. Wells’ 1896 novel, The Island Of Doctor Moreau, and it probably won’t be the name of the lead character in Warner Bros. forthcoming adaptation of the classic science fiction book.
Wells’ tale follows the shipwrecked Prendick, who washes up on an island belonging to Moreau, an infamous doctor with a penchant for odd medical experiments (combining humans and animals). Suffice to say, the relationship between Moreau and Prendick doesn’t gel and soon Moreau’s island haven is threatened by Prendick’s humanity.
The Island Of Doctor Moreau has had many adaptations, the most recent (and most controversial) was the 1996 film starring Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer and David Thewlis. The film was originally set to be directed by Richard Stanley (Hardware) but he was removed from the production and replaced by John Frankenheimer. There were all sorts of issues on set. Brando was at his most eccentric (see the above image), while Kilmer was cast in the lead, only to decide that he wanted to take on the supporting role of Moreau’s assistant, Montgomery. The main role was then given to Thewlis.
Tensions ran high and rumour has it that Stanley would sneak on to the set to watch the carnage; dressed as one of the extras (some say he also tried to sabotage the production). The relationship between Frankenheimer and Kilmer was at breaking point – the director once stated he would never do two things: climb Mount Everest and work with Kilmer again.
The film is quite a curio, it didn’t set the box office on fire, but there’s something ballsy about it. It’s not quite the sum of its parts, or as good as the 1977 version with Burt Lancaster and Michael York – but it’s worth catching.
Anyway, Deadline is reporting that Leonardo DiCaprio and his Appian Way cronies (Jennifer Davisson and Killoran) have hired Lee Shipman & Brian McGreevy to pen a contemporary adaptation of Wells’ book intending to ‘make it a sci-fi film with a topical ecological message’.
We shall see how this comes together – but it will probably be Prendick-less.