The Sixth Day Film Update

Time is relative as Tobit relates in Tobit and the Hoodoo Man,

“I recall the night mother returned from the master’s house and explained to me that I was born in ‘eighteen-twenty-five.’  That knowledge meant nothing to me at the time.  As an old man, I learned that ‘1825’ was a year, and that a year was a measurement of time, the time it takes for the earth to travel around the sun.  That really confused me, because I thought the sun moved around the earth.  I saw it happen every day.  However long that passage takes – regardless of which body moves about which – I know that time is relative.  A long time to one man may be a short time to another.  A year is a long time for a man in bondage, but the blink of an eye to the man who enslaves him.”

Third ManAs books and creativity go, I liken myself to the man in bondage.  Three years seems like a long time in the creative world.  Three years ago, I was one of the lucky ones: two of my books, The Olympian and The Sixth Day each carried film options.  That is an exciting prospect.  Since then, despite the intense efforts of the producer, The Olympian is no longer on the table and under consideration.  That’s too bad because I was hoping against hope to see Sean Connery or Anthony Hopkins play the role of the poet Simonides who narrates the tale.

During these three years, I’ve learned much about the film industry.  As Ringo Starr told us in 1971, “You know it don’t come easy.”  The Sixth Day was in the hands of Hoplite Entertainment, but in recent months, Hoplite shifted its emphasis from feature film to reality TV.  The Sixth Day – with a working film title of “Third Man” – was no longer a part of their vision.  I can accept that.

bumpercrop filmsOn the positive side, no sooner had Hoplite orphaned the project than a new film company expressed interest in the story.  As of early February, the film prospects of The Sixth Day are legally and securely in the hands of Bumpercrop Films under the watchful eyes of Alistair McKenzie and Jasmine Fontes who penned the “Third Man” screenplay for the original project and produced The Sixth Day audio book.

If two out of three wasn’t bad for Meatloaf, I can tell you that one out of two ain’t bad for E.S. Kraay.  Will The Sixth Day ever make it to the screen?  Don’t know.  Though tempted in a cavalier way to say, “Don’t care,” I will admit that I would like to see it happen.  In its current version, Alistair and Jasmine’s screenplay reflects the powerful message from the book:  there is strength in faith.  It is a message that needs broader exposure, and a film would help in that regard.

I am grateful that the project is still alive and hopeful that something may come of it.  I will keep you informed.

The Olympian, Eighth and Final Movement

The Olympian, A Tale of Ancient Hellas.  A film treatment in eight movements.

theagenes statueEighth Movement – The Exile Welcomed Home: Simonides completes his narrative.  The Thasians are humbled and now understand that it is indeed Theagenes and his statue that the Oracle refers to as “the exile that must be welcomed back.”  A year has passed and the old man returns to the island, thasoswhich has regained its beauty after the statue as been recovered from the sea.   “Thasos is once again a beautiful place … Theagenes’ place in history will be preserved…”

The Olympian, Seventh Movement

The Olympian, A Tale of Ancient Hellas.  A film treatment in eight movements.

go tell the spartansSeventh Movement – The Grave: After Xerxes’ million-man army has moved on, Simonides and Theagenes descend the cliffs to the killing ground.  Exhausted, Simonides cannot resist sleep.  When he awakes, he finds that Theagenes has dug a trench “100 paces long.”  Simonides is reminded of the 12 “Labors of Herakles” and thinks of this as “the 13th Labor of Herakles.”  Together, they carry the Spartan bodies to the grave Theo has created with his raw, bloodied hands using the remnants of a Spartan shield, his hands wrapped in rags like they were once wrapped in himantes, the boxing gloves of an Olympic champion.  When they have buried the bodies, Theo sleeps.  As he rests, the poet composes his famous epitaph “Go tell the Spartans …” and chisels it into a stone marker they place above the grave the next morning.  “We embraced one another for the first and final time,” I wrote, “… he bowed respectfully, turned and walked east …”

The Olympian, Fifth Movement

The Olympian, A Tale of Ancient Hellas.  A film treatment in eight movements.

The OlympianFifth Movement – The Olympic Games: Simonides tells his new friends what the games are like, the rituals, the ceremonies.  He relates the stade, the opening race, a 200-meter sprint, but focuses on the pyx, the boxing competition.  The Pyx is brutal and lasts the day.  Theagenes meets the previous champion Euthymos in the final match.  Theo destroys him in a brutal way.  That night, Simonides encounters Theagenes as the boxer steals his olive crown.  When confronted with his crime, Theo tells the poet that he will take the crown to Thermopylae where he will challenge Lampis to the fight Theo believes he was robbed of.  “When I find him,” Theo says, “we will fight on his terms before the army he has fled to join.”

Why I Won’t Read Harper Lee’s ‘New’ Book

To Kill a MockingbirdIn anticipation of Harper Lee’s ‘new’ book, Go Set a Watchman (to be released this week), I read her original Pulitzer Prize-winning classic To Kill a Mockingbird (published in 1960) earlier this month.  It gets better with every reading.  Last night, we watched the 1962 Academy Award-winning film starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch.  Like the book, I enjoy the film more and more each time I view it.  I can say the same for It’s a Wonderful Life, which we watch every year.

It has been 65 years since Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird.  According to most accounts, Go Set a mockingbirdWatchman was her original manuscript that her editors guided through a significant re-write.  To Kill a Mockingbird is set in Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930’s during the Great Depression.  Go Set a Watchman is set in Maycomb in the 1950’s.  Scout, Jean Louise Finch and her attorney father Atticus are the main characters in both novels.

At 89-years old, I seriously doubt that Ms. Lee was the moving force behind the publication of the ‘new’ book, which was originally written in 1957.

This morning, I woke up still feeling good about the film I watched last night.  Then I began wondering about Ms. Lee’s motivation to publish a ‘new’ book.  The more I thought about that, the more I wondered about her publishers ….

I decided to read a review.  I will not put any ‘spoilers’ in this post, but I will link to Friday’s New York Times review.

Personally, I want to remember Atticus Finch and his children the way they were in To Kill a Mockingbird.  I know Go Set a Watchman will sell like wildfire.  I have read it is already the most pre-ordered book since Harry Potter.

I do wonder how it will be received.  Will I change my mind and read it?  Don’t know, but right now, I take comfort that there were and still are people on this earth like Atticus Finch.

New Kendrick Brothers Film: War Room

warroom_logo

It’s been over 10 years since I saw my first Kendrick Brothers film, Flywheel.  Marie and I thought it was pretty hokey when it started out, but by the end of the film, we were very impressed, more importantly, very inspired.  Regardless of the quality of that first film, it was a film with an important message and it delivered the message very clearly.  Three years later, they followed with Facing the Giants, then Fireproof and finally Courageous in 2011.  The heart and soul of each film reached high moral standards and was never compromised.  But the quality of each film improved over time.

I was excited to learn that their new film War Room will be in theaters in August.  Based on my experience with their previous films, I will be sure to attend the opening night.  Here is one of the trailers.

The Olympian, Second Movement

The Olympian, A Tale of Ancient Hellas.  A film treatment in eight movements.

heraklesSecond Movement – Divine Birth: As they prepare to rest on their second night in the forest, the eldest Thasian, Parmenides tells Simonides that he has reason to believe that Theagenes is indeed the physical son of Herakles, the divine hero and son of Zeus.  He relates a story told to him by Theagenes’ grandfather who says he was witness to the impregnation of his daughter by the greatest of Greek heroes.

“Herakles came to my bed last night and together we conceived a child.  I know it is so.  He said but few words to me and only after the act had been completed.  He said, ‘I give you my son.’  That was all he said, father, and I believe him.”

from The Olympian, A Tale of Ancient Hellas

 

Tobit: Epilogue, 1925

Tobit and the Hoodoo Man, A Mystical Tale from the Civil War South.  A film treatment in eight movements with prologue and epilogue.

Tobit and the Hoodoo ManEpilogue – Tobit (100) concludes the narration as he began it.  All of his friends are gone.  He is alone and prepares his own grave among the others he has buried beneath the ancient hangin’ tree.  He carves in deep letters,

“Tobit.

I lived here and I died here.

I was blind and I can see.

Etienne was lame and he can walk.

Ben was deaf and he can hear.

BELIEVE.”

 

As the sun sets, Tobit glimpses a man in the fading light waving to him.  A dog barks.  The man calls out, “It is time to come home to the peace of heaven.”  It is Gabriel.  Tobit lies down on the burial plot and closes his eyes.

I hope you have enjoyed this presentation of Tobit and the Hoodoo Man in Eight Movements with Prologue and Epilogue.  If you’ve read the book, perhaps you will read it again.  If you’ve not read the book, perhaps this presentation will encourage you to.

Peace.