Friday, December 12, 2008

Fans of Burroughs, Brackett and Bradbury await The Lost Hieroglyph, a film by Steve Weintz

Fans of the Disney/Pixar film John Carter of Mars, scheduled to hit theaters in 2012, have another interesting film to look forward to: The Lost Hieroglyph, a retro sci-fi adventure by independent filmmaker Steve Weintz of Big Sur, California.

Weintz may not be as well-known as Pixar's Andrew Stanton, but he's a genuine fan of the “Shared Mars” of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Leigh Brackett, and Ray Bradbury and has a passion for the Red Planet that Stanton probably lacks. Beyond Mars, Weintz's interests include pulp fiction, classic Hollywood, history, and anthropology.

The Lost Hieroglyph is still in the early stages of pre-production, but the pilot script is complete and a five-minute trailer is being prepared. Here's the pitch, which Weintz was gracious enough to share with me:

Working Title: The Lost Hieroglyph

Genre: Retro sci-fi adventure

Format: Stop-motion animated miniseries

Premise: An adventurer-writer couple goes to Mars to find a missing brother and a lost book; they foil a plot to destroy the Martians and enslave Earth.

Special: Style is period sci-fi/noir: "2001 as imagined in 1949"; characters are modeled after 1940s-1950s actors; puppets played by contemporary actors are modeled on their likenesses.

Here’s a snippet from the script, Act Two, Scene 5:
Fritz: All right, then, a planet’s a big place, you two! Where do you start?

Ray walks over to a big telescreen hung on the wall. He picks up a remote and the image of a globe in space appears. It is the early-20th-Century version of the planet Mars, colored salmon and dark green and webbed with the famous canals. Using arrows, lines and dots, Ray points out features of their expedition as he talks.

Ray: We’ll land at Port Lowell, on the Equator. It’s the main Earth colony, with all the amenities; we’ll get a hotel room and act like tourists for a couple of days while we get our bearings. Then we head north up the canals to the edge of the dead sea-bottom, to one of these oasis states. From there our guide will lead us by caravan out into the desert, following Mike’s trail.

Fritz: To where?

Ray: The Lost Library of Taqueyar.

Fritz: (flabbergasted) What?! No! Really! I ... I’m surprised, very surprised that Dr. Michael Brackett would give any credence to such a myth!
Awesome! Thank you, Steve Weintz. Please keep us informed!

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