A Note from the Philip K. Dick Trust
Regarding the film adaptation of A Scanner Darkly
by Laura and Isa Dick
As many of you have already heard, A Scanner Darkly is being adapted for film, and we are happy to finally share details about it. This project is very exciting for us -- not only because of the caliber of talent behind it, but because we believe that it will be the very first faithful adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story. Directed by Richard Linklater from his own screenplay, A Scanner Darkly stars Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson and Rory Cochrane.
Philip K. Dick is now "the most adapted SF author in the history of film." Wonderful opportunities have been realized in bringing his stories to the screen. In fact, some of the greatest filmmakers, writers, and actors have been involved in film adaptations of his work. And the most important benefit of these adaptations has been that they have brought new readers to his work. (Each time we have been told of a "green light," we have marveled at the odds of it!) But there has always been the nagging question of whether or not any of the films have adequately captured this depth of spirit of his work. We, like you, have long awaited the opportunity for a faithful adaptation of our Father's work.
The history of the A Scanner Darkly option (and subsequent development) is interesting and unique, but we will save the details of it, perhaps for a later date. Suffice to say that this amazing group of filmmakers (true Philip K. Dick fans) and the Philip K. Dick Trust (Laura, Chris and I) came together to get this project made. We were originally approached by producer Tommy Pallotta with the enticement of a faithful adaptation. When we read Richard Linklater's fantastic screenplay, and then had the opportunity to meet with him and discuss his and our visions of Scanner, we knew this was the right way to go. (The picture is being co-financed by Warner Independent, a new division of WB devoted to serious films with modest budgets.)
A Scanner Darkly is one of our father's most personal stories because much of it is based on his own experiences. For this reason, it was especially important to us that it be done with all of the right intentions. His struggle with drug abuse is well documented, and he (and we) have witnessed many casualties. The novel is filled with his humor and his own tragedies. And we believe that Richard's screenplay manages to capture these key elements -- he has even included our father's poignant afterword in his adaptation.
After agreeing that this project was the right way to go, we were delighted to hear that this group of gifted actors would be playing the characters: Keanu Reeves as Arctor, Winona Ryder as Donna, Robert Downey Jr. as Barris, Woody Harrelson as Luckman, and Rory Cochrane as Freck. We think each person brings a unique quality and passion to the project. Laura and I visited the set during filming and had a chance to speak with the actors about some of the more personal aspects of this story. Without exception, every person we spoke to -- actors, producers, and crew was entirely gracious and enthusiastic about the work of Philip K. Dick. They have welcomed our input, and made us feel a part of this project.
Like a graphic novel come to life, A Scanner Darkly will utilize live action photography overlaid with an advanced animation process to create a haunting, highly stylized vision of the future. The technology was first employed in Linklater's 2001 film Waking Life and has evolved to produce even more impact and detail.
We all hope that when this project is completed and fans watch this film, they will feel that the interpretation reflects the true spirit of the original story, and also know that the genesis of the project is the love and respect for Philip K. Dick.
Laura and Isa
1. Keanu Reeves, Woody Harrelson and Robert Downey Jr. chat with Laura and Isa in Austin, Texas. (Photo courtesy of the Philip K. Dick Trust)
2. Director Richard Linklater and Winona Ryder (Donna) on the set of A Scanner Darkly in Austin, Texas. (Photo courtesy of the Philip K. Dick Trust)
3. Robert Downey Jr. plays Barris in the film adaptation of A Scanner Darkly. (Photo courtesy of the Philip K. Dick Trust)
4. Richard Linklater confers with Keanu Reeves (Arctor) on the set of A Scanner Darkly. (Photo courtesy of the Philip K. Dick Trust)
5. Director Richard Linklater on the set of A Scanner Darkly. (Photo courtesy of the Philip K. Dick Trust)