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AMC Developing Sci-Fi Series Based On The Novel RED MARS!!

I am – Hercules!!
Screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh ("Die Hard With A Vengeance," "Jumanji," "The Saint," "Armageddon," "The Punisher," "Next") is developing an AMC series based on Kim Stanley Robinson's 1992 sci-fi novel "Red Mars," about the first Earth colony on the solar system's fourth planet. Publisher's Weekly describes the novel:
The first installment in Robinson's ( Blind Geometer ) new trilogy is an action-packed and thoughtful tale of the exploration and settlement of Mars--riven by both personal and ideological conflicts--in the early 21st century. The official leaders of the "first hundred" (initial party of settlers) are American Frank Chalmers and Russian Maya Katarina Toitova, but subgroups break out under the informal guidance of popular favorites like the ebullient Arkady Nikoleyevich Bogdanov, who sets up a base on one of Mars's moons, and the enigmatic Hiroko, who establishes the planet's farm. As the group struggles to secure a foothold on the frigid, barren landscape, friction develops both on Mars and on Earth between those who advocate terraforming, or immediately altering Mars's natural environment to make it more habitable, and those who favor more study of the planet before changes are introduced. The success of the pioneers' venture brings additional settlers to Mars. All too soon, the first hundred find themselves outnumbered by newcomers and caught up in political problems as complex as any found on Earth.
Find all of The Hollywood Reporter’s story on the matter here.

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Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 3, 2008, 12:26 a.m. CST

    Remember those couple of bad Mars movies a while back?

    by Amy Chasing

    One had Tim Robbins & Val Kilmer in it if I recall correctly. Surprised I hadn't blocked it from my memory - god they were awful.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 12:33 a.m. CST

    Wasn't Sci-Fi developing this ages ago?

    by Paul T. Ryan

    Anyway, it's a really tough proposition for any screen adaptation. These books are dense, heavily detailed and span a huge time frame. Having Hensleigh on board does not inspire confidence...

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 12:42 a.m. CST

    Could be cool

    by mmaddox3

    i mean given the quality that AMC is clearly devoting to thier original programming, this could be very well made. heres hoping that is indeed the case. i mena with battlestar ending and atlantis also reaching its conclusion there is gonna be a rather large void in our weekly sci-fi fix's.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 1:09 a.m. CST

    Awesome books; good chance at some Galactica grittyness.

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 1:16 a.m. CST

    I never got through one of them

    by TroutMaskReplicant

    So long and boring. Some SF writers confuse long windedness with serious writing. Greg Bear, I'm thinking about you.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 1:18 a.m. CST

    Nice

    by EvilElecBlanket

    I love this series, and I hope AMC will do it justice.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 1:34 a.m. CST

    They should have adapted Benford's The Martian Race instead

    by successor

    Red Mars was so dull and exposition heavy that I couldn't get past the first hundred pages, and I love science fiction. Benford's book was much more entertaining and exciting.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 1:35 a.m. CST

    just read that terminator is close to

    by FamousEccles

    being cancelled. are suits incapable of moving shows to new nights. knights of prosperity was murdered. in cold blood.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 2:01 a.m. CST

    Frank Black

    by Wolverine's Dad

    I've never read the books but I know the song "Big Red" by Frank Black is about them. They should use it as the theme.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 2:36 a.m. CST

    NOOOO FROM JAMES CAMERON TO JONATHAN HENSLEIGH...

    by drturing

    Red Mars is a fucking masterpiece that Cameron was toying with at one point. Given that he's actually done renders on ROV proposals that NASA were wowed by, he's the only man who should go near a Mars cinematic vision. And make no mistake, the Mars trilogy is the most commie pinko sci fi trilogy ever written.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 2:39 a.m. CST

    Fantastic books

    by Kovac

    I was rereading these books a few weeks ago and I was telling people that the first book would make for a fantastic television series if they could just get the right people to pick it up. Sure it needs a lot of work to get it into a state suitable for television, but there is a lot going on in one book alone that just needs to be built on and then you will have a fantastic episodic show.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 2:50 a.m. CST

    Wow...

    by drew mcweeny

    ... call me excited. GREAT GREAT GREAT GREAT source material. It's enough that I'm willing to give Hensleigh and the AMC team the benefit of the doubt. It's that strong.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 3 a.m. CST

    The season arc possiblities for this show are awesome

    by dogstardude

    I remember reading this trilogy five years ago and then seeing how easily the multi-thread/multi-character narrative could be wedged into a 50 minute per episode show. It could be awesome. John Boone for the win, and God bless Arkady. AT LAST some good press for anarchists.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 3:05 a.m. CST

    hey AMC change your name fucking hypocrites

    by Prossor

    it's all well and good shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men are groovy and they'll be expanding more series, but this is AMERICAN MOVIE CLASSICS if i'm not mistaken? Look i have no problem with you guys ditching being a movie channel since you've pretty much whored yourselves out with commercials and cut movies like a deli ham, regurgitate the same 10 movies over and over in your timeslot for months on end, but at least have the decency to man up and change it to AMERICAN GOOD MODERN SHOWS or some shit, cause pretending you're like TCM is not going to fool anyone.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 3:31 a.m. CST

    Excellent News!

    by The Outlander

    I was hoping HBO would do this, but AMC is a good alternative.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 4:23 a.m. CST

    Wow, they're going to do this on an AMC budget?

    by geraldbeans

    I'm starting to like AMC. But can they pull it off?

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 5:19 a.m. CST

    My brother is

    by emeraldboy

    a huge fan of Kim Stanley Robinson. and has read all of these books. I think he even has read book one of the rice wars.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 5:20 a.m. CST

    AMC FTW!!!

    by Cameron1

    Outstanding trilogy. AMC could have the 3 best shows on TV if this project fulfils the potential of the source material. HBO and Showtime have nothing close to any of the previously mentioned series, only The Shield comes close imo. Still, if this is successful, I want to see HBO tackle sci-fi if only because seeing long-form narrative science fiction on a big budget is undeniably cool.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 5:31 a.m. CST

    This is exciting

    by bellwether

    The books are a masterpiece. And yes, the way the narrative shifts POV between chapters would adapt very well to a series. Hopefully there's enough budget to adequately portray Mars: the books are character based, but the planet itself is one of the characters. We need to see sweeping vistas down Marineris, the cable docking on Pavonis, tent cities and moholes and Phobos and Olympus Mons; we need to see Nadia walking on the ice at the south pole, and we need to believe it's Mars. Seeing Galactica's effects makes me hopeful.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 5:50 a.m. CST

    Like this!

    by Gezoes

    This can be great, if they don't fuck it up.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 6:33 a.m. CST

    YES!!

    by the power of GREYSKULL

    and it's about bloody time too!

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 7:20 a.m. CST

    So it will be about Mars?

    by Dazzler69

    I hate titles that have Mars in it and it's not about Mars. What's up with that?

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 7:39 a.m. CST

    HELL YEAH! a scifi series that isnt

    by palewook

    from the shitty sci-fi channel. perhaps american sci-fi isnt dead. <p> thank you amc

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 8:17 a.m. CST

    Oh crikey (and regarding AMC's name)

    by chrth

    I see the appeal of these books, but I gave up halfway through the second one when I realized it was going to be Maya's POV for over a hundred pages. Maya needs to be bludgeoned with a fucking mars rock as soon as they land to improve it.<p> I just hope they do Anne correctly. She was the best character.<p> Regarding AMC's name: it no longer stands for American Movie Classics; they changed in 2003 to simply AMC (just like the AARP did). So there's no reason to change it.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 8:47 a.m. CST

    Nice.

    by veritasses

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 9:02 a.m. CST

    AMC just means AMC now?

    by L.H.Puttgrass

    Is that like KFC just stands for KFC? 'cause nobody wants to think that they're eating Fried Chicken. Fried Chicken is bad for you. <p> Is it also like those people (ARC of the United States) who had a problem with the movie Tropic Thunder, because they didn't like them using the word "Retard"? And then you look at their "new" name and think, "I guess the "R" doesn't stand for "Retarded" anymore.". <p> Wait a minute. I'm just waking up. Did somebody say AMC doesn't mean American Movie Classics? What?

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Couldn't be happier to hear this

    by Cr8z13

    Let's hope they don't fuck it up.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Obligatory RIP on Sci Fi channel

    by snowpuff

    I thought a couple of years ago Sci Fi was going to take this to mini-series???<br> <br> Oh wait, I forgot. Sci Fi channel sucks.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 10:18 a.m. CST

    COOL.

    by HoboCode

    This may just wash away the pain of Mission to Mars.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 10:39 a.m. CST

    New Promo Tagline: "AMC: More sci-fi than Sci Fi"

    by SpyGuy

    AMC does need to change its name, though. Now, how about a TV movie or mini-series based on DIRK GENTLY'S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY?

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Howz about a series or miniseries...

    by Kid Z

    ...based on Gibson's Sprawl-verse? That'd be cool, methinks.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 1:43 p.m. CST

    Re:Mission To Mars

    by skimn

    Still haunted by the eyeliner of Gary Sinese.<p>So will there be a lot of smoking and drinking and cute conical spacesuits for the gals?

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 4:14 p.m. CST

    Best hard science fiction of the last 25 years

    by Bunger!

    I hope they do the entire series of books in the long run; it's kickass (though some of the plot will need to be punched up a little for action and sex appeal).

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 4:28 p.m. CST

    whirling dervishes on Mars

    by troutpencil

    I read the first one. Massively overlong, anti-dramatic, boring. Some of the science stuff was interesting but the politics were extremely unconvincing. I remember some laughable "cynical" monologue about how the USA and Russia (yeah right) started up the colonization in order to stay ahead of the game against those "young tigers" like China and India. Little tigers, young tigers, something asinine. I seriously doubt that AMC will translate the science aspects properly. This will be shit.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Very interesting...

    by br1947

    Had it been SciFi that was 'developing' this I probably would be having a fit of cussing about now, but I'll give AMC the benefit of the doubt, their original stuff has been pretty good.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 6:32 p.m. CST

    I'm sceptical, why adapt?

    by Mike Connor

    I love the books. They're full of great ideas, they taste like science, and have some great characters. But I don't see this as a good TV series. It'd be best broken up into even smaller segments than the book, tell it from 10 characters' points of view, like Lost. Focus on one melodrama a week, with one plot point taken from planetary science or space engineering, and end with a cliffhanger. Done like that, I think it could be a fun ride. But the story's already out there. If you retell this story, you lose the suspense. Do they/don't they? Who killed John Boone? (yeah, I know) With a project like this, they should buy the rights if they want, use an "inspired by Red Mars" tagline maybe, but make it original material. If they try to adapt the books, the series will be dead behind the eyes.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 7:45 p.m. CST

    Acronym Alert!

    by zinc_chameleon

    Heads up! 'R' no longer means 'Restricted' it means 'Retarded'. And 'PG' means '(Please) Pass Gas'. Finally, some sanity in the movie industry.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 8:43 p.m. CST

    Will they have the balls to change to...

    by NEUR0M4NCER

    ... the more fantastical parts of the story in Green Mars (i.e. Nurgle's "abilities")? The first book would be an awesome political thriller, but it'd set a very solid tone, and might make it hard to progress with the rest of the story - not even sure if it's worth hoping for...

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 9:15 p.m. CST

    NEUR0M4NCER

    by Mike Connor

    Re: Nigal's "abilities", check out the extreme swimmer Lewis Gordan Pugh (http://www.lewispugh.com). He does something the doctors call anticipatory thermogenesis. (can't be too geeky on AICN can I?) Don't know if Kim Stanley Robinson based Nirgal's spooky human radiator skills on him but anyway it's not completely impossible.

  • Oct. 3, 2008, 11:17 p.m. CST

    Trilogy was both good and bad

    by KnightBorn

    The science was great, the limited action was great, the scope of the story was great but all three books get incredibly bogged down in political drama for hundreds of pages at a time (these are long books). If it were political intrigue, I could stand it but we are talking about page after page of discussion over what to include in their constitution and the best way to build their government. I understand what Robinson was going for, he wanted to cover every single base he could think of in the colonization of a planet. Not just landing, building a base and so forth....he wanted us to see every nut and bolt from the fantastic to the mundane. But that's just it, who wants to read about the mundane for hours at a time? Now, with all that said, I DID enjoy the books over all. They were painful to get thru and the second book took me a full year to finish (pick it up, read a little, put the book down for a few weeks, repeat) but when completed, the good outweighs the bad. Like others have said, the books are perfect for tv. The scope is so big and there are so many characters that there will be plenty of rich ideas for a weekly show. Even the political junk can hopefully be punched up a bit and made (mildly) interesting. You can never have enough smart sci fi on tv. I am looking forward to seeing what they can accomplish.

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 12:21 a.m. CST

    Back in the day, kids...

    by SkiffyPup

    When I was trudging through the snow (uphill - both ways) to class... I read and Recommended RED/GREEN/BLUE Mars series to my sister. But mBUT BUT BUTBUT!!! I really believe Kim Stanley Robinsons' best and most series-worthy books are his Orange County works. They're pre-cyberpunk DRUG-punk Gibson-ish.

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 12:24 a.m. CST

    AMC =

    by Stunt Vocalist 709

    American Moody Classics. Hope that helps. As for KFC, I remember reading a compelling chain email claiming that the name change allows them to use something other than actual chickens. Genetically modified boneless, beakless, featherless 'chickens' grown in test tubes that cost less since no money is spent de-boning, de-beaking, or de-feathering. The poignant thing is that they don't cluck, they kinda go "mup-mup" which sounds eerily haunting...

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 1:56 a.m. CST

    BTW ...

    by emvan

    Stan Robinson does consider the "three novels" to be one novel entitled Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars, divided into three for obvious commercial reasons. So if this happens, they'll hopefully do the whole thing.

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 3:32 a.m. CST

    There's only one Mars movie: Mars Attacks!

    by MattInTheHat

    Aaack aaaack! It is the definitive Martian documentary. All other Mars movies are just based on fiction and therefore will never live up to the sheer force of Mars Attacks documentary impact. BTW Mission to Mars is worth a watch for the score alone. Yeesh.

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 8:53 a.m. CST

    It's really fucking annoying that AMC isn't a...

    by Powers Boothe

    HD station. I hope that's corrected before this series airs. Watching gems like Breaking Bad and Mad Men without a HD picture really blows.

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 10:54 a.m. CST

    AMC

    by ACE NY

    Don't be so pissed at AMC. When they started out, they had a format that was classic films with no commercials. Ted Turner liked the format so much he started buying studio film libraries like MGM and Warner up to certain years and went on to form Turner Classic Movies. AMC no longer had access to most of the classic films and had to change their format and unfortunately add commercials. Adding original quality programming was very smart on their part. Powers: on my cable system (cablevision), we have AMCHD and yes, it makes a big difference when watching Mad Men.

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Amy Chasing

    by ACE NY

    You are thinking of Red Planet. It was a horrible movie (I worked on it and you should have heard everyone cracking up during dailies).

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 2:40 p.m. CST

    ACE NY...

    by filmfanatic1

    That was hilariously cruel!!! You know there's an opening for potentially great films or TV shows about Mars when the best of them are mediocre stuff like ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS or THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES.

  • Oct. 4, 2008, 4:32 p.m. CST

    Filmfanatic1

    by ACE NY

    I agree, there could be lots of great Mars films. Martian Chronicles done right, would be a great start. Princess from Mars would as well. Red Planet was so bad that anyone with a grammar school understanding of science could point out the numerous flaws.

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 9:39 a.m. CST

    Hensleigh's credits don't encourage me

    by Drath

    The Saint had to be one of the WORST movies of the 90s. Jumanji was okay but at best it was poor-man's Spielberg only decent now in light of worse efforts like Night at the Museum. The only good movie in there is Die Hard With A Vengeance, which up until Live Free Or... was probably the weakest Die Hard (particularly unsatisfying final confrontation with the villain). I'd like to see a smart science fiction piece come along with the prestige and craft of MAD MEN, but it wouldn't be the first time that great science fiction source material was turned into audio-visual garbage by filmmakers either. At least no one from the shit that was Red Planet is involved, right?

  • Oct. 6, 2008, 6:54 p.m. CST

    That book sucks

    by JackDonkey

    It was recommended to me and I bought that and green or blue mars or whatever the hell one was the sequel. It got to the point where I could only read a couple pages at a time before I was glazing over so I stopped reading it.