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The kid stays in the picture

Author: • May 15th, 2008 •

Category: Ballardosphere, CCTV, celebrity culture, film, gated communities, surveillance

Ballardian: Samuel L. Jackson

ABOVE: SLJ in JGB’s RW: Ballardé with cheese?

Like millions of other television viewers, I had already seen selected extracts from the film in numerous documentaries about the massacre, and I hardly expected any sudden revelation. But as I relaxed in the viewing theater, I soon realized what a remarkable film this was, and how well it conveyed the curious atmosphere of Pangbourne Village–in its elegant and civilized way a scene-of-the-crime waiting for its murder.

J.G. Ballard, Running Wild (1988).

After authoritively announcing last week that Samuel L. Jackson had missed his chance to work with the best material he’ll ever get, we discover Sam’s back in the game. Tim C. again takes up the story. “Stop the presses!” Tim tells me, “Samuel L Jackson’s Running Wild again has a green light, this time filming in South Africa and Germany (now there’s the smell of international funding)”.

Here’s the news from Hollywood Reporter:

H20 puts ‘Wild,’ ‘Gate’ sequel on fast track
Thriller, horror sequel green-lighted

By Scott Roxborough
May 13, 2008, 12:50 PM

CANNES — Andras Hamori’s H20 Motion Pictures has green-lighted two new productions: the thriller “Running Wild,” based on the novel by J.G. Ballard and starring Samuel L. Jackson, and “The Gate — 20 Years Later,” a sequel to the 1987 hit teen horror title.

Jackson will act as a co-producer on “Running Wild,” a detective story about the investigation of a mysterious massacre at a wealthy gated community. Television and music video helmer Kevin Kerslake will direct in his feature film debut, from a script by David Leland (”Mona Lisa”). Shooting is set to begin this year in South Africa and at MMC Studios in Cologne, Germany.

I hope the film will retain the documentary-style aspect of the book, even as I’m imagining it probably won’t. Note the press release talks of a “mysterious massacre”. In the book Ballard has no interest in maintaining suspense: from the start we’ve never in doubt about who committed the crime. As JGB likes to say of his “crime” stories (Cocaine Nights, Super-Cannes et al), this one’s a “whydunit”, not a “whodunit”.

Place your bets. Will Sam’s film strip the CCTV/doco aspects in favour of a linear crime narrative with the perps revealed at the end?

The twenty-eight-minute film was taken by officers of Reading CID soon after eleven o’clock on the morning of June 25, 1988, some three hours after the murders. Thankfully, there is no sound track, and one is glad that none is necessary, unlike the TV programs with their hectoring commentaries full of lurid speculation. This minimalist style of camera work exactly suits the subject matter, the shadowless summer sunlight and the almost blank facades of the expensive houses–everything is strangely blanched, drained of all emotion, and one seems to be visiting a set of laboratories in a hightech science park where no human operatives are employed.

J.G. Ballard, Running Wild.

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  1. […] is an aside titled ‘Samuel L. Jackson in JG Ballard movie’ dated 5/15/08 Samuel L. Jackson is producing and staring in a movie based on JG Ballard’s “Running Wild.” There’s something in […]

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