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film news

Dragonriders of Pern movie tries to take flight again

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hollywood has been trying to make a movie from Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern book series for three decades -- and that's just the time spent that I know of various producers trying to make the project become a reality.

The most recent attempt before today's announcement was back in 2002. Before he reimagined Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek writer Ronald D. Moore tried his hand to make Pern into a TV series for The WB Network. Moore left the project when the dreaded "creative differences" monster reared its ugly head.

The latest new Pern creative team consists of screenwriter David Hayter (known for receiving sole screenwriting credit for the first X-Men movie); producers Don Murphy (Transformers) and Susan Montford through Angry Films, Hayter and Benedict Carver (via their Dark Hero Productions company), and Steve Hoban (through his Copperheart Entertainment shingle.)

Hayter is at work adapting McCaffrey's material into a screenplay, likely the stuff from her first novel which was published in 1968. Today there are now 22 Pern books, making it one of the best-selling science fiction franchises of all-time.

The books are a unique combination of fantasy elements, namely the fire-breathing dragons and sci-fi. On the world of Pern humans and dragons can form a telepathic bond (keep in mind McCaffrey thought of this decades before James Cameron envisioned the dragon creatures the Na'vi bond with in Avatar.) The human-dragon union is used to burn a parasitic alien spore the Pernians call Thread which falls from their sky in cycles. Once teh Thread reaches the surface of Pern its corrosive exterior will eat its way through anything, alive or dead. Through the course of McCaffrey's Pern novels the mysteries surrounding how humans and dragons came to live on Pern, as well as the origin of the Thread, are revealed.

With its human drama and action-filled sky sequences featuring the fire-breathing dragons racing through the alien Pern sky burning Thread, the Dragonriders movie project has the potential to turn into a long-lasting movie franchise. Still, Hollywood hasn't had much success with dragon-themed film projects (not counting the alien beasties in Avatar), which is likely why no studio has made a Pern movie. Yet.

-Deadline.

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