The Flock has moved into a landing pattern.
Back in 2009 we reported on Undead Brainspasm that Don Murphy, producer of Transformers, Natural Born Killers and From Hell, was led to James Robert Smith’s novel The Flock in reaction to Smith’s criticisms of the film version of From Hell on comic artist Eddie Campbell’s blog, ready to slam it as junk — and found he loved the novel so much he bought the film rights. The novel is a skewed take on a Jurassic Park-type scenario, in which “a group of highly intelligent giant prehistoric birds discovered in the Florida Everglades … are intent on protecting their ancient home when faced with encroachment by theme park developers” (Hollywood Reporter). The giant birds are called Phorusrhacids in paleontological circles. Here’s one, horsing around with an early member of the family Equidae:
Of The Flock the enamoured Murphy said:
“Take one part Seventies disaster film, one part modern day environmental crisis and mix them well with some good old-fashioned state of the art action and you have THE FLOCK, an exciting, all too real adventure that you need to read immediately. I can’t wait for the sequel!” (Source)
You can check it out on Amazon.
Believing that the novel would make a terrific high-concept “summer tentpole” movie, Murphy and Smith have been working to drag The Flock out of the huge swampland of optioned works on which Hollywood floats and turn it into an actual in-production project [hmmm, I think this metaphor is rather at odds with the one I began with. Oh well.].
Well, now James Robert Smith has revealed to Undead Backbrain that the film has a scriptwriter, who has been working away at it for a while. He said:
The screenplay is finished and all that are involved with this project are very happy with it. (Nope, I haven’t seen it myself yet.) It’s by Travis Milloy, who wrote the recent SF-horror film Pandorum.
Currently there is also a short list of directors being considered to helm The Flock, and although I’m not at liberty to release their names, I’m very impressed with the line-up. They’re all very well-known directors. So we’re closing in! I’ll be sure to keep you updated as I’m able and as the project progresses.
So The Flock may be still in development, but it’s progressed quite a few steps further along the bird run. If it keeps going on along this path, and proves a success, we’re all set for the sequel; Smith’s follow-up to the first novel, titled The Clan, is due out in 2012.
Meanwhile, here’s some portraits of the titular monsters, drawn by Mark Masztal. Masztal worked at Tundra Publishing “back in the day”. Now he freelances.
Smith says he has also already pitched the third and final book in his “cryptozoological cycle”, The Tribe — the first of which was of course The Flock and the second, presumably, The Clan. Smith’s latest novel, The Living End, is, however, an apocalyptic zombie story that just came out from Severed Press. Given the still-current popularity of the genre maybe this one will be optioned, too.
Source: James Robert Smith via Cinecryptozoologist Extraordinaire Avery Guerra. Written by Robert Hood.
I’m digging the new site layout for Undead Backbrain and am also happy to hear that James Robert Smith is making progress in terms of getting The Flock turned into a movie. I read The Flock cover to cover in about a week when it first came out in paperback last year. Its a fantastic novel and I have tried to encourage other people to give it a read as well. Best of all because Mr. Smith happens to be a local residing in my neck of the woods, Charlotte NC, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with him and talk about dinosaurs, terror birds and Lovecraft. Lovecraft? That’s right, before penning his first novel Mr. Smith wrote several Lovecraft pastiches of the short story variety. So far I’ve only had the chance to check out two of them in the anthology “Singers of Strange Songs” but found both highly enjoyable. I look forward to The Clan and, fingers crossed, The Flock: The Movie.
Watching the movie inch closer to reality.
Thanks for the kind words, Justin. I’ve got a new Charlotte signing event coming up. Stay tuned to my website!
Exciting stuff, Bob! PANDORUM was an underrated SF/horror flick with a pretty smart script, so I think you should be comfortable with Travis Milloy.
Oh, and Justin — I co-wrote one of those Mythos stories in SINGERS OF STRANGE SONGS with Bob — glad you liked them!
The Flock is a great read, and would make a great movie on the big screen. Currently I’m reading the new thriller “The Ice Gorilla.” Anyone else checked it out.
Wow intellegent terror Birds and protecting their territory from one of those developers type person im rooting for the birds