22 April 2006

O'Bannon--Where Art Thou?

Found--apparently, after being MIA for seemingly an eternity from the film scene, at least since the last flood of Philip K. Dick adaptations. The creator of the original "Alien", former creative partner of John Carpenter ("Dark Star", of course) and once-prolific sci-fi scribe ("Blue Thunder", "Dead And Buried", "Lifeforce", "Total Recall", "Screamers") has been battling some medical problems over the past few years, but is about to rebound with a project he'll not only pen but also direct. O'Bannon, you'll remember, made his directorial debut with the 1985 punk/zombie classic "Return Of The Living Dead", and followed it up with the moody modernization of H.P. Lovecraft's "The Strange Case Of Charles Dexter Ward" ("The Resurrected") which was unceremoniously dumped to video and largely forgotten. Nearly 15 years later, he'll reportedly helm "They Bite", which is a property John Carpenter discussed in an interview waaaay back in a 1980 Cinefantastique interview:

"After Dark Star we were going to do They Bite. (the story concept involved the discovery, alive and menacing, of a heretofore unknown species of prehistoric insect which mimicked biologically whatever it ate, and it ate just about everything). I was going to direct it, and Dan would do the same thing--Production Design...he took over the project..."

--and Carpenter and O'Bannon dissolved their partnership after a personal falling-out.

Obviously, much of the concept was incorporated into O'Bannon's "Alien" script, so who knows how much he's rethought the property over the decades? According to this week's Variety, O'Bannon, former Paramount exec Brian Witten, and Rob Gallagher are "in talks" (whatever that means these days) and the story is being kept very hush hush with production to start later this year.