Where did the film THE BOOK OF ELI come from?

I'll be honest. I was watching football on Sunday, and out of nowhere I see the trailer for a new post-apocalyptic film with a lone warrior walking down a desolate road. Sword slung over one shoulder, shotgun over the other, and that beat up trench coat the superhero cape of the post-apoc warrior.

I likey.
Then I saw it starred Denzel. What? Awesome.
Then I saw that Gary Oldman was in it. Excuse me? Even more awesome. Mila Kunis is in the film as well.

But being the bookish fellow that I am, whenever I see an interesting movie trailer and I can't identify the source of the work, I get curious because, could something that doesn't look half-bad actually be conceived in a Hollywood studio boardroom?

So I did some research. The film is helmed by the directing duo -- and identical twins -- Hughes brothers, whose last film was 2001's From Hell. Interesting. They are also known from their debut hit, Menace II Society.

The screenplay, originally written by Gary Whitta, was rewritten by Anthony Peckham in 2008, and they began filming in New Mexico in 2009. The work does not look to be based on any existing book or comic book.

The basic plot is that Denzel's character wanders across a wasted landscape, protecting a mythical book that could mean the redemption of all mankind. I don't know more than that, and I don't think I want to.

Sure, this will be hard to get to see in the theater with a new baby at home ("go to the movies while you still can" was the second most recommended thing after "get some sleep" from everyone), but I very much want to see this as I'm a big fan of the post-apoc genre of books, comics, and films ever since seeing the Mad Max films in my youth.

It'll be interesting to see if a comic book publisher inks a deal to bring Book of Eli comics soon. This is probably already a done deal or in the works.

It's a long road...

[addition: very cool trailer I just found, here]


Clayton said...

I wonder how heavily it draws from A Canticle For Liebowitz.

Jayf said...

I wonder the same. It also looks heavily influenced by the hit videogame FALLOUT... in the style, layout of the wasteland.

Anonymous said...

I read canticle for Liebowitz a long time ago and really liked it. It was amazing science fiction written I believe by a WWII vet. It's vague, but I remember really liking it, but in "canticle", the story traverses many eras, and, deals with the theme ultimately of global violence. But it starts with the wandering warrior of the desert, so maybe there are some parallels. Perhaps it also draws from the not so bad movie "six string samurai"?

Anne-Marie R said...

It does look awesome - my kinda movie. I'll babysit for you if you babysit for me lol. We have a few more years before the big one is old enough to watch the little one. But ours are both self-cleaning LOL!

Anonymous said...

He is Jon Shannow from the book of Jerusalem Man, Author David Gemmell.

John said...

Yup it's the Jerusalem Man alright. First moment to last and the scene in the bar where he begins to quote scripture is a direct lift.

John said...

Yup it's Jon Shannow alright, The Jerusalem Man. Washington doesn't shine in this but as the Jerusalem Man he would have been brilliant.

Jayf said...

Thanks for all the commentary on this, I have to get caught up on some additional reading it seems (Gemmel and Liebowitz), then will see movie finally.

Nicholas said...

Jayf - did you ever get to read the Jon Shannow books by David Gemmell?

I'm watching The Book of Eli right now, within the first 30 minutes I thought this film has to be inspired by the Jon Shannow books, did a search on the web and found your blog.

Do you agree with the Jerusalem Man connection??

Jayf said...

Nicholas-thanks for the tip. I haven't read that book, but now having seen Book of Eli, I will add that to my list to read of possible influences. Thanks for the post.

garyalker said...

I have just started to re-read Wolf In Shadow by David Gemmell and immediately thought of the film the Book of Eli. What a rip off from one of David Gemmell's best characters, Jon Shannow.
As Gemmell remains my favourite author, I am pretty disgusted that this hasn't been commented upon more by the film makers.
Glad other people see the similarity, or is the word 'plagarism' ?

Jayf said...

Hi Gary,

Thanks for your comment. I have not read the Gemmell book you mention so I had not seen that connection. But you are right, some things or influences (or whatever you want to call them) slip under the radar. Thanks for your comment - always nice to see an older post get a new one.