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James Cameron's Next Feature Film Is Not RINGWORLD!

Hey folks, Harry here... I was contacted today by Larry Niven's agent, who told me that the report below, which I received from a subscriber to the Larry Niven Fan List Mail, was spreading a completely FALSE STORY about Larry Niven. Apparently, as of this moment there is absolutely no deal nor a deal in the planning stages between Larry Niven and James Cameron. One can only speculate that whoever started this rumor was a fan that wanted it to be true, that believed that Larry Niven's book would make a great James Cameron film, and it would... Hell, it would make a great film by any number of filmmakers, and hopefully one day it will be... God willing. Alas, that day is no time soon...


Harry here, it has been nearly a year since we had a rumor about Larry Niven's classic RINGWORLD and the possibilities of it being adapted to film. Long ago the rumor was that Phil Tippett was after it... That some producer or another wanted Chow Yun Fat in it... It has also been quite some time since we heard of a potential 'next directorial project' for James Cameron. We know that exploration and space has been on his mind as of recent... Thus his ocean journeys... his inquiries into going into space... His producing of the adaptations of SOLARIS (by Steven Soderbergh) and BROTHER TERMITE (by Stephen Norrington). We know that the last project that Cameron really loved was a scriptment of his own entitled AVATAR, and rumors have long attached Cameron to working with Arthur C Clarke on something... extraordinary.

Well, 'Speaker To Animals' was looking at his LARRY NIVEN email subscription today, when he came across this:

This past weekend I attended Albacon, where Larry Niven was the GOH. During the convention Larry made an announcement concerning a Ringworld movie. He told us that on Oct 6th, 2001, at 12:30am ET, he, Robert Mandel and James Cameron had agreed on deal to permit James Cameron to make a Ringworld movie. Larry was very excited and said, "Imagine seeing a Pierson's Pupeteer coming at you on screen." No other details were forthcoming.

He sent it to me to look at. Well, this book is the perfect material for Cameron to make a gob-smackingly jaw-dropper of a flick from. All I know is that with James Cameron attached, the possibilities of the movie absolutely kicking more ass than yo mama has, is through the roof dead on positive!

Joy Joy Joy!!!

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 9, 2001, 4:15 a.m. CST


    by gah rides again

    I wonder if the impending LOTR craze is the reason this has been given the go ahead, even though they have nothing to do with each other...

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 4:16 a.m. CST


    by RSGumby

    ... I can't wait!

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 5:18 a.m. CST

    How about James Camerons "RINGWORM : the Spawning"

    by MentallyMariah

    Wow I am sure Suzy Amis has been inspiring our dear James!

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 6:06 a.m. CST


    by Huneybee

    Somebody beat me to a Ringworm comment. Thanks for ruining my night...Bee

  • It'll win oscars I tell you. Lots and lots and lots.

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 6:39 a.m. CST

    Cameron needs to make a new scifi-film

    by andreasingo

    This or something else. I do not know if I trust this rumour though and even if it's true Cameron is afraid to commit to anything. That's because he's a perfectionist and I know he will work on the film for several years. Probably as long as Titanic. If he makes this, it will be fantastic, that's for sure. He have said several times he wants to make a 3D feature film someday in the future. Could this be it?

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 7:42 a.m. CST

    can't be true, does not start with A or T

    by caipirina

    or they retitle it : Tingworld ?

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 7:49 a.m. CST

    Rebirth of fantasy?

    by fullphantom5

    Maybe he's right, maybe LOTR will swing open the floodgates and we'll see a whole slew of fantasy films? I sure hope so. I have always had a soft place in my heart for fantasy flicks (Hawk the Slayer, anyone?) Maybe they'll do the Xanth series? Or even the original Dragonlance Chronicles? (Purists: eat me, I thought they were cool) But hopefully whatever projetcs emerge have a little more talent involved than say, Dungeons and Dragons? (yikes) Bring back Marc Singer!! (hehehe, just kiddin') =)

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 8:01 a.m. CST

    Mr. Cameron, I beg you to make Terminator 3, goddamn it!!!

    by Buscemi 01

    It will most likely suck without you being involved. How can you give your baby away? The first two films are a part of filmhistory, all time classics. Each film was among the best of it's decade and now you want to let them destroy the whole saga? Scream 3 already bugged me. But T3 will make me outraged.

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 8:02 a.m. CST

    Not ideal film material

    by Kaitain

    St B is right....Ringworld is an ideas-driven novel in which not a great deal actually happens. They'd have to change the story quite severely to knock it into a more blockbuster-friendly shape. (I'm assuming they'll do this with "Rendezvous with Rama" as well.) Unless, of course, this is to be a genuine labour of love, a slightly less-commercial-than-the-studios-might-like personal project a la "A.I." that gets greenlighted due to the director's current cachet. If any Niven novel was to be put on the big screen, I'd prefer something like, "The Mote in God's Eye", although that would probably work better as a high budget mini-series.

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 8:14 a.m. CST

    cold SF

    by newc0253

    Ringworld was cold science SF? Without emotion? So maybe it ain't Tolstoy but, as SF goes, Niven wrote a bunch of lively, colourful and interesting characters and a decent script doctor would have plenty to work with. Emotionally speaking, it's certainly nothing the director of Aliens couldn't handle.

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Somebody make this fucking movie please!

    by mgysos

    Fuck RINGWORLD. I wanna see a modern remake of The War of the Worlds(nobody mention Independance Day). I want aliens stomping over major cities and aliens pouring out of ships killing all they come across. A fucking serious, straight movie with FEAR the overiding factor. Does Hollywood still know that word? James Cameron is the only director with enough BALLS to pull this off.Until this comes along i'll make do with LOTR trilogy.

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 9:42 a.m. CST


    by Peanut-M&M's

    All this means is that the book has been optioned. Its still along from even starting production. So even if this rumour is true it still may never happen (but it would be cool if it did).

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 11:03 a.m. CST

    James Cameron's soft side.

    by fullphantom5

    I think you've seen the last of James Camerons' greatness with 'Aliens'. After that, he's been kinda hokey. (c'mon, admit it, T2 is not all that good when compared with the first one. Who wants an understanding, feeling terminator?) You have to wonder if he has the hard edge enough to pull off an effective T3? I mean, he's the king of the world now, T3 might be seen as beneath him.

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 1:14 p.m. CST

    Cameron's Ringworld

    by Radagast T Brown

    If this did get made, I would expect the film to differ vastly from the book. Niven's work carries a HUUUGE backstory, including (geek powers, activate!) the Man-Kzin Wars, anti-aging treatments, humans genetically engineered for good luck, the arrival of the Protector and discovery of humanity's true origins, ad infinitum. What's more, Niven's book is really about explorers encountering multiple cultures (and having sex with some of them), without much of a through-story that would translate cinematically. Unless the plot is greatly condensed, and spiced up with a compelling MacGuffin -- compress "Ringworld" with the planet endangerment of "The Ringworld Engineers?" -- I don't know what Cameron could do with it. *** Now, as for casting: Bruce Lee would've made a great Louis Wu -- not terribly tall, very lithe and with a wry demeanor. Chow-Yun is a fun one to consider; we already know he looks good with a queue, but would his accent/English skill put off viewers? Louis talks a lot, and he's not an "action" hero per se. On the whole, I guess I'll believe when I see it, and even then I might choose not to see it.

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 1:45 p.m. CST


    by Spamagnet

    If anyone can make a decent Hollywood movie out of this, James Cameron can. However, most of these classic SF novels just don't suit themselves to the big screen, at least the way Hollywood does it. Here's wishing an anime studio would take the Ringworld series; the Mote in God's Eye (and its lackluster sequel) and make them into great animated mini-series. With just the right amount of CGI, this could be very cool, and just cheap enough to make money from a fairly small (by Hollywood standard) market.

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Better Niven Material Available

    by Molon_Labe

    1) Footfall 2) Mote in God's Eye 3) Legacy of Heorot 4) Any Kzinti story

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 2:06 p.m. CST

    it must be true because...

    by jmilott

    Hollywood always makes movies in pairs. Deep impact and Armageddon - Antz and Bugs Life - Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter ok that might be pushing it but you get the point. Hasn't Renedevouz with Rama been green lit? ANother story about a giant "world" on the inside of a tube flying through space. hmmmm?

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 3:15 p.m. CST

    Gibson and Sterling

    by twan_deeth_ree

    Cashcrop- I've heard that Chris Cunningham has been in talks to direct a screen version of Neuromancer, which would be incredible. He is a music video director that has done some of the most visionary videos of the last 5 or 6 years (Aphex Twin, Bjork, Madonna and Portishead just to name a few). A really cool adaptation would be the book Gibson and Sterling wrote together, "The Difference Engine". It's a kind of extrapolation of what 19th century England would have been like if computers had been invented then. Cool stuff. As far as the news of Cameron doing Ringworld goes, I say the more sci fi adaptations done by talented directors, the better. One or two of them are bound to be good.

  • the show is beyond bad. Alba isn't even that great looking. she acts like an imbecile that isn't in on the joke. she sucks. the show sucks. and considering Cameron's now-going-on-4-year hiatus (from feature film directing, that is), well, to be frank, the guy's pissing me off. so do what you want, Jim. but seriously, it's time to prove you've still got the goods. oh, and Caipirina, that's a nice theory. i like it. everything except for Cameron's first feature movie, Pirahna 2: The Spawning. but ever since then, i believe your theory stands.

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 7:40 p.m. CST

    So it ain't true after all

    by Radagast T Brown

    Too bad, sorta. Somebody should make Ringworld -- I just don't know if it's Cameron's cup of tea.

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 9:37 p.m. CST

    I'm the King of the Ring World!

    by Bari Umenema

    Well I am you know. King of the Ring World that's me, James "Jim to my friends which doesn't include you!" Cameron. King of the World, King of the Ring World, King of the Film World, King of the Solar System, King of the Galaxy, King of the Universe! Yep it's good to be the king of something. What to do what to do what to do... Guess I'll go do another underwater documentary about the Titanic and watch Dark Angel when it's on Fox! King of the TV World! What to do what to do what to do... T3? Not for me. True Lies 2? That just won't do. Avatar? Not so far. Yep it's good to be the king. Very good indeed. What to do what to do what to do... I have more money than I know what to do with you know. More money than I can ever spend in this or any other lifetime. Yep it's good to be the king...

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 10:30 p.m. CST

    What about "BLOOD MUSIC"!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    by user id indeed!

    You think I gave up on that? Oh noooo, friends! Biding my time, ohhhh yes! Cameron's next film SHOULD be a moody "Blood Music", with Steve Buscemi and/or Edward Norton as Virgil Ulam! OOH! Buscemi can play him BEFORE the .... well, I won't spoil it. And Norton can play Ulam AFTER.... ho ho! Of course, he could just play it low and go for a Geoff Nicholson adaptation, like "Footsucker" starring Catherine Keener and Tim Roth. Huhm. This has been a Moment with User ID Indeed!

  • Oct. 9, 2001, 11:49 p.m. CST

    This sounds a bit like Solaris...

    by Fitzy Funk

    And it took a foreign director to pull that film off succesfully. I also agree with fullphantom, that Cameron's last full-blown kickass flick would be "Aliens". The Abyss was well-crafted, but not necessarily original. T2, as noted before, was a powerhouse blockbuster but lacking energy where the first one thrived on it. True Lies? Entertainingly pedestrian. Titanic? Solid work, but not exactly deserving of the Best Picture Oscar (LA Confidential came out that year!).

  • Oct. 10, 2001, 1:47 a.m. CST

    Have you seen how bad James Cameron really is?

    by Egocentric

    Honestly, have you seen his greatest stuff before the studios fixed it up? Like The Abyss. The movie was about scientists on the base of the ocean floor and a couple go crazy and try to blow something up. These aliens show up, rescue Ed Harris and come to the surface. The original cut focused more on how humanity is to self-destructive and the aliens were going to kill us, but Ed Harris's selfless nobility proved to the aliens that we have a chance...*sob*. T2, have you seen the unedited director's cut? Even more cutesy stuff as Edward Furlong tries to make the machine seem cool. And geez, that alternate ending?! My God that was excruciating to watch! Everything was all happy!!! John was playing with his little girl in a park?! James Cameron is a great director, but he really comes up short when he tries to make something emotional.

  • Oct. 10, 2001, 3:34 a.m. CST

    Cameron's next is TRUE LIES 2.

    by Xphile69

    According to Cameron's next movie is True Lies 2.

  • Oct. 10, 2001, 4:44 a.m. CST

    Straight from the ghetto

    by CrapHole

    "kicking more ass than yo mama has" While talking about movies that need to be made...umm Battlefield Earth 2

  • Oct. 10, 2001, 5:41 a.m. CST

    If Cameron and Clark are working together then...

    by CmdrRoss

    I hope that it's going to be "The Ghost from the Grand Banks". That would be a nice bookend for Cameron to do, a sci-fi treatment of a doomed to fail attempt to raise the Titanic. The studios would hurl money at Cameron to make it. Plus, it is actually a great story with a solid heart.

  • Oct. 10, 2001, 5:48 a.m. CST

    Piss on T3 , Aliens Vs Predator with no Ripley and lots'a Sp

    by Double-Tap

    THAT should be next on J.Cs list!

  • Oct. 10, 2001, 7:49 a.m. CST


    by BoBaBrain

    What ever happened to the Robocop/Terminator crossover "Rivet"? Or the power puff girls/Debbie does dallas crossover "Charlie's Angels"?

  • Oct. 10, 2001, 8:35 a.m. CST

    twan_deeth_ree: D.E. Should Be Made!

    by OlafStapledon

    The Difference Engine (w/ a little tweaking) would make an incredible film. Victorians, big electromechanical computers, sordid gaming dens, pubs, Ballister-Molina pistols, oh yeah!

  • Oct. 10, 2001, 10:16 a.m. CST

    victorian SF

    by newc0253

    yeah, they should make the difference engine! Victorian-era Jules Verne-style SF rocks! And what would be really cool is if the arch villain had like a giant mechanical spider which walked around and blew stuff up! Cool!

  • Ok Ok- i agree u have every right to rip into western society- of course the society u attack is far from perfect but think about this. Try and post some of your so called "opinions" in other places around this globe- your criticism would most likely have u shot or thrown in jail. Since I dont see any Troops kicking in your door when you post your some what ignorant and reactionary view points I would thank a Higher Power you do live in/around a free society. America and many countries have problems but very few spent millions so that our weapons ACTUALLY try to MISS civilians. Maybe Bin-Laden - who u seem very found of- would be willing to let you debate how he should compromise some of his view-points but that seems less then likely. Back to the important stuff- ;)Cameron makes some great movies and I hope he picks a better source for his creative energy then "Dark Angel" on his next film. MTFBWY soloh

  • Oct. 10, 2001, 9:23 p.m. CST

    Harry's got it wrong - again

    by The Fool Monty

    Sorry Harry. Larry Niven made the announcement himself at a NY SF Con on Saturday night. Hundreds of witnesses. The Con organisers have confirmed the story to me by email today. Either Larry was wrong or lying or his agent lied to you. Which do you think most likely? Isn't is SOP for agents to deny all until a contract is inked? And even then, don't NDAs often gag them? Wasn't Titanic originally shrouded in secrecy? Remember when the story was that JC was working on a project called "Ice Planet"? Unfortunately, your story, as posted, has branded some honest people as liars. JC may never make Ringworld, but the story as reported was true. Also, don't you think that True Lies 2, with a likely heavy terrorist storyline, might be shelved or postponed in the current climate? Maybe JC needs to take up something in its place?

  • Oct. 11, 2001, 2:02 a.m. CST

    I heard Niven's announcement in person

    by PeterCat

    I was in the audience at Albacon in Schenectady, NY on Saturday, October 6 when he made the announcement about the Ringworld movie, as quoted from the Niven mailing list. I'm no particular fan of Niven, but I can affirm that the reports are accurate so far as what Niven told the audience. If the details reported are untrue, then either Niven is pulling a practical joke on his fans, or his agent is pulling one on him, or the situation has changed between then and now and they're trying to put some spin on it. There is no doubt that Niven made this announcement or what he said.

  • Oct. 11, 2001, 1:38 p.m. CST


    by fullphantom5

    Now look, Cameron may make high-end LifetimeTV movies, but I never meant to imply that he was an IDIOT! The man is simply the greatest technical director on the planet. Nobody, but nobody, can scratch his balls when it comes to slick-looking movies employing the STATE-OF-THE-ART in special effects. I only question his heart and his material. I dont think he'll ever be back to the place he was when he made Terminator 1 or Aliens. As far as Sci-fi books to movies, will they ever do Enders Game? Or any of the Incarnations of Immortality series? Western culture may have its share of problems, but frankly I LIKE indoor plumbing and air conditioning.