Michel Gondry to Adapt Philip K. Dick’s UBIK

     February 16, 2011


The Green Hornet director Michel Gondry’s next movie will be an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s 1966 science fiction novel, Ubik. The screenplay will remain loyal to Dick’s original text.

This will be the second attempt by a French filmmaker to adapt Dick’s famed work. In 1974, Jean-Pierre Gorin commissioned the writer to adapt his own novel to a screenplay. The movie never got made but Dick’s labor didn’t go entirely to waste – it was instead published as Ubik: The Screenplay.

Highly respected in France, Philip K. Dick is perhaps one of the most popular American sci-fi writers in the world – and Hollywood. Hit the jump to find out which classic movies were inspired by his works.

ubik-book-cover-01Written in the 60s and 70s, Dick’s novels are laced with imagination run wild, making them perfect material for filmmakers. John Carpenter went on to make one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time when he adapted Blade Runner. Total Recall, Confessions d’un Barjo (a French film inspired by Confessions of a Crap Artist), Screamers, Minority Report, Paycheck and A Scanner Darkly are some of the other well-known adaptations, and expect to see more Philip K. Dick on both the small and big screen.

The Adjustment Bureau, starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, will hit theaters on March 4 (check out the cool featurette), while a remake of Total Recall, starring Colin Farrell, will start shooting in May under the direction of Len Wiseman. Ridley Scott is also reportedly producing a miniseries based on The Man in the High Castle for the BBC.

Michel Gondry revealed his project to Allociné at the opening of a retrospective of his works at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, which will run until March 7. But he will start work on Ubik only after his next movie. While he didn’t reveal the title, he gave a synopsis to Allociné:

“A group of children are on a bus going on a field trip, and such are the events that by the time they arrive, there are only two pupils left.”

Sounds mysterious.  As for Ubik Here’s the one-line synopsis [via Amazon]:

Philip K. Dick’s searing metaphysical comedy of death and salvation is a tour de force of panoramic menace and unfettered slapstick, in which the departed give business advice, shop for their next incarnation, and run the continual risk of dying yet again.

In the meantime, if you’re in Paris, check out his exhibition (until March 13) called L’Usine des films amateurs, where visitors can also make their own movies. Kind of like in Be Kind, Rewind.

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  • varagor

    Ridley Scott was the one who adapted (sort of) Blade Runner. He never finished reading the book…

    Anyway, Michel Gondry is the perfect director to adapt the work of PDK.

  • feloniousmax

    Wow, so his next two pictures are based on two of my favorite properties. Next up sounds like he’s doing a take on Battle Royale, only they never get off the bus, then he’s doing Ubik…awesome.

  • alexbalchen


    I know! when read that synopsis, I immediately thought of Battle Royale.

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  • ShimmyShames

    I’ve been reading PKD for years…loved a few film adaptations of his work, though many fell short. But I have a great feeling about Gondry doing PKD, at least on the visual side. As for the story, I think he’s an old fan of the man, so it’ll work. Go Michel!

  • Matt

    Ubik is one of PKD’s best in my opinion. I really hope this film delivers.

  • A-K87

    Ubik is my favourite Dick book. I’ve had my heart set on Aronofsky directing but Gondry’s best interview for the gig would be Eternal Sunshine and the themes in the Science Of Sleep.

    I wish him all of the luck in the world and have my fingers crossed for sensible casting and Dick’s own screenplay used as a starting point.


  • Elitist Prick

    Gondry is a great pick to direct Ubik. The book is linear in its plot but makes jumps that are extremely illogical and… wacky. Also, it’s not dark or disturbing like The Man in the High Castle. I think the styles will mesh perfectly.

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  • DM

    You forgot to mention the 2001 movie “Impostor,” based on PKD’s short story of the same name.

    I heard recently that an adaptation of VALIS was in the works. Any news on that?

    • FeloniousMax

      Actually, the film being made is called VALIS but it is adapted from Radio Free Albemuth, it went into post production in late 2007 and ironically features Alanis Morrisette as Sylvia. John Alan SImon is directing. He has no prior directing credits but has been involved in the film industry for many years on the marketing and production sides.

      I fear that this may be the worst adaptation of PKD since Second Variety was turned into Screamers.

  • A-K87

    I remember the Radio Free Albemuth on iMdb a few years ago. I haven’t read that one. Why is it ironic that Morisette is in it?

    Why the release delay since 2007?

    • FeloniousMax


      “Isn’t it ironic, doncha think?”

      • A-K87

        Only God knows how I missed that!!!

        Well, I best get smart to make up…

        I’m going to guess that Mark Ruffalo will be Joe Chip and Gondry’s ‘ubiquitous’ character actor, Tom Wilkinson will be Glen Runciter.

  • Matt

    A quick Google search would’ve told you John Carpenter didn’t adapt “Blade Runner”. Or a visit to IMDB. Either way, someone writing about film should’ve known that . . .

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