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Philip K. Dick around the time he wrote Vulcan’s Hammer

After piloting the “Hunger Games” franchise to more than $2 billion at the worldwide box office, Francis Lawrence is taking on another dystopian text — Philip K. Dick’s novel “Vulcan’s Hammer,” directing and producing the movie with New Republic Pictures and Electric Shepherd Productions.

Lawrence will produce and direct the adaptation under his About:Blank banner alongside veteran producers Brian Oliver and Bradley Fischer of New Republic, Cameron MacConomy from About:Blank and Isa Dick Hackett from Electric Shepherd from the Dick Estate (she’s one of his ex-wives).

Dick’s novel is set following a devastating world war as the 70 nations of Earth form the Unity party and cede global governance to the Vulcan AI system, which algorithmically dictates policies for Unity to carry out. But after Vulcan is attacked and a special agent is murdered, a description of the story explains, Unity director William Barris is called to unravel the mystery to figure out who — or what — wants to destroy the system he has dedicated his life to.

The title was licensed from the Dick estate under a deal with New Republic Pictures (The Tomorrow War), which recently finished shooting the latest Michael Bay action movie, Ambulance. We can probably expect a large-scale action movie adaptation.

Dick’s novels explore ideas of artificial intelligence and society being controlled by computers beginning in the 1950s. These concepts remain relevant and his stories have been attractive to Hollywood for decades: Blade Runner and its sequel, two Total Recall movies, the Steven Spielberg/Tom Cruise sci-fi thriller Minority Report, and Prime TV series The Man in the High Castle. There have been a total of at least 17 adaptations!

A few Phillip K. Dick film adaptations

Mental illness and hallucinogenic experiences were a lifelong interest of Dick’s and his personal life is extraordinary. He referred to his experiences as “divine madness”

Vulcan’s Hammer was written in 1960, the work just before his breakthrough novel The Man in the High Castle (Hugo 1963).

Francis Lawrence’s biggest hit to date is also an adaptation

Lawrence’s movies are global hits and include 3 Hunger Games movies, I Am Legend, the Keanu Reeves-starring Constantine and period drama Water for Elephants. He is in postproduction on Slumberland, Netflix’s adaptation of pioneering comic strip Little Nemo’s Adventures in Slumberland that stars Jason Momoa, Marlow Barkley and Kyle Chandler. He also directed several episodes and serves as an executive producer on See, a post-apocalyptic Apple+ TV series. (Francis Lawrence is not related to star Jennifer Lawrence)

“We’re very pleased to partner with the passionate team at New Republic and thrilled by Francis’s ambitious vision for bringing ‘Vulcan’s Hammer’ to the big screen,” Hackett said in a statement announcing the new project.

The book is set in 2029 CE, so we may see a situation like in Blade Runner, where the date of the fictional world 2019 happens in the real world.

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David Raiklen
David Raiklen

David Raiklen wrote, directed and scored his first film at age 9. He began studying keyboard and composing at age 5. He attended, then taught at UCLA, USC and CalArts. Among his teachers are John Williams and Mel Powel.
He has worked for Fox, Disney and Sprint. David has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2004 American Music Center Award. Dr. Raiklen has composed music and sound design for theater (Death and the Maiden), dance (Russian Ballet), television (Sing Me a Story), cell phone (Spacey Movie), museums (Museum of Tolerance), concert (Violin Sonata ), and film (Appalachian Trail).
His compositions have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and the first Disney Hall. David Raiken is also host of a successful radio program, Classical Fan Club.

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