June 26, 2013 by Doug Coutts
Classic 70s gestalt guidebook Jonathan Livingston Seagull looks set to be made into a movie for a second time, with the remake produced and directed by Sir Peter Jackson. Officials at Wingnut Films, which has previously produced a number of highly rated animal films, refused to confirm or deny reports, but media commentators have pointed to the large number of gulls, terns and pigeons seen circling Miramar as proof that something is indeed in the wind.
Jonathan L Seagull, written by Richard Bach and first published in 1970, was widely acclaimed as the first book to espouse the wet hippy-dippy quasi-religious pyscho-babble popular with the effete middle classes of the era that could be read in under two minutes. It features a seagull, called Jonathan Livingston in recognition of that fact that a name like Scavenger wouldn’t sell as well, who wants to fly outside the envelope of ordinary existence. He tries but fails, and tries again, succeeding in the end through force of will and a hefty dose of suspension of disbelief on the part of the reader.
The book was made into a feature-length film in 1973. The script followed the narrative closely, apart from having a female co-star and songs from Neil Diamond to pad it out to ninety minutes. Not too closely though as Richard Bach sued the film’s producers for using too much eyeliner and putting a joke in. The movie failed to win any Oscars and would have gone straight to DVD except they hadn’t been invented at that stage.
Because CGI also hadn’t been invented in 1973, the film featured live, for the most part, seagulls. The new movie, according to an informant who wouldn’t be named lest we find out he’s lying, will be largely computer-generated, from the birds right down to the script. The movie is to be called Jonathon Livingstone Egg, and is the first of seven films that Sir Peter feels necessary to capture the essence and truth of the book, as well as allowing him to buy all of South-east Asia.
Andy Serkis will play the part of JLS’s stunt double and is apparently already in rehearsal at the Happy Valley recycling plant. Stephen Fry is rumoured to be considering the role of wise old seagull Chiang, once the apostrophisation has been sorted out, and James Nesbitt, who’s been on record saying how much he feels a part of Wellington, will provide the voice of the cliff.
Principal photography is expected to begin in October, while the rest of the teachers will be shot before they go on leave for Christmas, according to a Ministry spokesperson.