Another bad movie heads-up

Friday 16 December 2005

More film crew vans spotted in the street, last night around where I work in Euston. This time for The Children of Men, which a quick check of the IMDb shows is indeed a film adaptation of P.D. James’ misbegotten attempt at sci-fi.
My first thought was that every other James novel must have now been filmed, having remembered that fans and critics alike responded to this book with a chorus of “don’t give up your day job.” Having just discussed Iain Sinclair’s Lights Out for the Territory, I also recalled that book’s passing reference to “that turkey The Children of Men (stacks of which were appearing in remainder shops everywhere)”, but it appears that someone has decided to risk their money on it.
Serious money. My next thought was that this was going to be a TV mini-series, like almost all other film/video adaptations of her books, but no, this is a big-budget job directed by that Brazilian bloke who did the last Harry Potter movie.
The crew had closed off the entire park – god knows how they evicted the clumps of speed freaks who congregate around the basketball court drinking 2-litre PET bottles of white cider. If you go see this film and notice in some scenes skeevy people pacing to and fro in the background clutching green plastic bottles, remember they’re not actors.
I looked, but couldn’t spot Michael Caine or Julianne Moore anywhere. With or without plastic cider bottles. Sorry.
It’s been about 25 years since anyone attempted a movie-movie of a P.D. James novel, Chris Petit’s “dark, stylised” version of An Unsuitable Job for a Woman. Sinclair, an associate of Petit’s, describes the unfortunate history of that film in Lights Out: “a vanity script that brought with it a couple of wealthy amateurs who wanted to buy into the business.” On the positive side, it is a rare James book that omits the “creepy and prophylactic” Inspector Dalgleish or one of his surrogates, who in The Children of Men will be played by Clive Owen.