A priest, an atheist and a mad scientist walk into a time machine...

The Chronic Argonauts 

After a time travelling scientist accidentally kidnaps a 19-century church minister, they both land in the future - where they must salvage the humanity of cloned mankind... and then lead them in a last-ditch effort to stop an alien invasion.

““The Chronic Argonauts” is excellent science-fiction, and very faithful to the spirit of the author who inspired it. H.G. Wells’s fantastic concepts, his interesting and thoroughly human characters, and his philosophies are all satisfyingly adapted here. Cook is a wonderful protagonist, our intrepid everyman, observing the journey with the wonder of the audience. It is refreshing and interesting that Cook, the clergyman, is the voice of reason in the superstitious village, but holds onto his faith even into the secular future. Cook has a brilliant and though-provoking discussion with Medea about how he can still believe in God even while surrounded by extraterrestrials and clones. It’s one of many such monologues and dialogues. The script clearly has a mind to it, articulating its themes, but it does not get overly wordy and the discussions do not detract from the spectacle or the action. In fact, the script has the potential to be a great display of special effects and thrilling action. It can sometimes be a challenge for a movie to be both cerebral and visceral, intellectually stimulating and simply entertaining, but the script pulls it off.”

A couple of years ago, I worked my first feature assignment, the adaptation of a science fiction graphic novel: The Chronic Argonauts, itself an adaptation of the original H.G. Wells 1887 short story that was almost lost to obscurity until it was rediscovered by New Baby Publishing, the publishers of the Elemental Fources graphic novel series.

During the development process,a copy of the script was sent to Franklin Leonard's Black List site as a way to gauge  how well I had done my job. It made the Top List (with 8s/9s), earning an excellent review. Perhaps we should have kept it up there and looked for a producer...    :)

It was agreed at the start that the project would be written as a four quadrant film. The publisher and I were both fathers of young children and wanted it to be a movie that our children could watch. Almost immediately following the script's completion, a director/producer approached with a $13 million spending chest. We were thrilled and talks progressed. Until he revealed he wanted to rewrite it as an R-rated horror thriller. Exit, stage right...

It wouldn't be long until another producer came along to attach to the project. He loved the script and wasn't looking for any major changes. Problem was, he had no backing money. But he had contacts at Relativity, one of the biggest financing groups in the industry. So, he became attached and the script supposedly landed on a desk at Relativity... A few months went by, and no word. No one wanted to push, but everyone on the development side was beginning to get anxious. And then we found out why it wasn't going anywhere when, practically overnight, it was revealed that Relativity was declaring bankruptcy. The "producer" had no other avenues and his involvement eventually also fizzled out. And yet, something good did come of it. The publishers still maintain the rights and have agreed to let me try and shop it around. Ideally, I'd like to option it (optioning my own assignment, now there's a concept), but I'm still working on the financing angle.

I'll keep you posted...


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