Originally Posted by Barkatthemoon
Fincher and Freeman have been trying to get that [Rama] off the ground for years, but it never came together.
Which isn't surprising as it seems completely infeasible within the current Hollywood film-making model. As are many other suggestions in this thread.
I'm not saying they'd make bad movies or that they are bad novels. It's just that to the people footing the bill (the studios) they lack sufficient "Hollywood SF" tropes to warrant the necessary and considerable FX budget.
I know that over the last two decades the cost of CG has dropped correspondingly with the price of hardware and software. But still, it seems unlikely that any cinematic treatment of "Rama" could be realised without a seriously large budget. And this is before a director or a single actor has committed to the project (if you want genuine top-liners the budget goes over $100 million easy).
If history is anything to go by studios aren't likely to part with such cash without certain criteria being met (ok if you've got a director with clout then these criteria tend to be a bit more flexible, but not much) - namely: a hero, a villain, a love interest, plenty of action, transparency, possibilities for a sequel etc.
Rama, with its unspectacular and unmemorable crew as little more than crude facilitators to the grand spectacle, lack of a villain, inscrutable alien technology, limited resolution etc. must likely appear to studio execs as a hopeless folly. The above also seems to rule out several other (excellent) novels mentioned so far in this thread (or permit them in some form of pathetic, lobotomised screenplay "adaptation").
As mentioned earlier, the book I'd be interested in seeing on screen is Iain M. Banks' "Consider Phlebas". It's not the greatest SF novel I've read. I'm not even sure it's the best Banks novel I've read. But it is one of the few SF novels I know that at least stands a chance
of being filmed precisely because it meets some
of the criteria necessary to warrant a big FX budget.
I don't advocate it purely because of the FX. After all, it's the story that matters - and "Phlebas" is a pretty good one about the perils of fanaticism and the pernicious effects of mass warfare. But Banks set this tale against a backdrop of truly grand and memorable imagery and without it it would be much the poorer.
It's worth noting that Banks himself considers "Phlebas" the most cinematic of his novels.