Friday, January 8, 2016

Ridley Scott in Talks for THE PRISONER Film Adaptation

What do we want?  Information.  By hook or by crook.

Deadline has revealed that legendary director Sir Ridley Scott is in early negotiations to direct The Prisoner, a movie adaptation based on the original 1967-68 British TV series starring Patrick McGoohan.

According to the article, the project has been with Universal for some time, with numerous A-list screenwriters including Christopher McQuarrie writing drafts.  The most recent version is from The Departed writer William Monahan, and the film is produced by Bluegrass Films' Scott Stuber and Dylan Clark.  The article also claims that Scott’s Scott Free team will likely become involved after they receive script that pleases Scott.  Numerous writers are now circling the project, as are several top actors, now that word is getting around that Scott is coming aboard.

Scott has directed a number of groundbreaking films over the decades, including Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, Hannibal, and The Martian.  His other notable films include Legend, Thelma & Louise, G.I. Jane, Black Hawk Down, Kingdom of Heaven, American Gangster, Robin Hood (2010), Prometheus, and Exodus: Gods and Kings.

The television series, which ran for a single season of 17 episodes, followed an unnamed British agent (played by McGoohan) who, after abruptly and angrily resigning his job, apparently prepares to make a hurried departure from the country.  While packing his luggage, he is rendered unconscious by knockout gas in his flat.  When he awakes, he finds himself held captive in a mysterious seaside "village" isolated from the mainland by mountains and sea.  The Village is further secured by numerous monitoring systems and security forces, including a sinister balloon-like device called Rover that recaptures – or kills – those who attempt escape.  The agent encounters the Village's population, which include hundreds of people from all walks of life and cultures, all seeming to be tranquilly living out their lives.  They do not use names but instead are assigned numbers, which give no clue as to any person's status (prisoner or warder).  Potential escapees therefore have no idea whom they can and cannot trust.  The protagonist is assigned the designation Number Six, but he repeatedly refuses the pretense of his new identity.

Number Six is monitored heavily by Number Two, the Village administrator acting as an agent for an unseen "Number One".  A variety of techniques are used by Number Two to try to extract information from Number Six, including hallucinogenic drug experiences, identity theft, mind control, dream manipulation, and various forms of social indoctrination.  All of these are employed not only to find out why Number Six resigned as an agent, but also to extract other purportedly dangerous information he gained as a spy.

Number Six, distrustful of anyone involved with the Village, refuses to co-operate or provide answers.  Alone, he struggles with various goals, such as determining for which side of the iron curtain the Village works if, indeed, it works for any at all, remaining defiant to its imposed authority, concocting his own plans for escape, learning all he can about the Village, and subverting its operation.  His schemes lead to the dismissals of the incumbent Number Two on two occasions, although he never successfully escapes.  By the end of the series, the administration, becoming desperate for Number Six's knowledge and fearful of his growing influence in the Village, takes drastic measures that threaten the lives of Number Six, Number Two, and the rest of the Village.

This will be the first time The Prisoner has been adapted for film.  In 2009, the series was remade as a rather disappointing 6-episode AMC miniseries starring Jim Caviezel as Number Six and Sir Ian McKellen as Number Two.

Be seeing you!

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