"Bashir" director eyes sci-fi adaptation

Thu Dec 18, 2008 3:21am EST

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The director of the Israeli war cartoon "Waltz With Bashir" is developing a sci-fi project.

Ari Folman has acquired rights to "The Futurological Congress," a short story from science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem, and intends to write the screenplay and shoot the movie as a live-action/animated hybrid.

"Congress" is set in a futuristic world in which everything appears to glisten -- there is an abundance of money and good feeling -- but which turns out to have a dark, drug-infused underbelly.

Folman plans on beginning the movie with live-action, then add his signature dreamlike animation. "Think of your favorite young actress. She'll appear that way at the beginning, and then as the film goes on, she'll be drawn like she's 50," the Israeli helmer said.

Lem, who died in 2006, was a prolific writer who penned dozens of stories and novels, often with philosophical undertones. He has been compared to Philip K. Dick, with "Congress" compared to "Blade Runner" source material "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Lem's Hollywood currency comes from the novel "Solaris," the basis for films by Andrei Tarkovsky and Steven Soderbergh.

"Bashir" was nominated for a Golden Globe and is considered a front-runner for the foreign-language Oscar. The animated documentary generated buzz at Cannes before being picked up by Sony Pictures Classics; it tells the first-person story of Folman trying to recover memories from his time serving in the 1982 Israel-Lebanon war.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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