Rudy Rucker writes about his novel Software's shot at Hollywood

Rudy Rucker has a great blog entry (an excerpt from his memoir-in-progress, Nested Scrolls) about Hollywood's 11-year-attempt to make a movie based on his novel Software, which is one of my favorite science fiction novels.
200812110946 The scripts kept getting worse—we were up to version ten before long. The film agent I was using then, Steve Freedman, told me that by now Phoenix had spent over a million dollars on test shots and discarded screenplays. I was alarmed that they’d thrown out so much money on such shit. But Steve said it was all good.

“The million dollars makes Medavoy pregnant. If he tries to back out, I say, ‘No, you’re pregnant, you’ve got to make the film.’”

I had one last meeting with Mike Medavoy. He finally wanted my advice on how to doctor the script. They flew me to LA first class, and a limo picked me up at the airport. Like so many people in LA, the driver was talking about the Business, and she was happy to hear I was going to a script meeting.

Software in Hollywood


  1. “The million dollars makes Medavoy pregnant. If he tries to back out, I say, ‘No, you’re pregnant, you’ve got to make the film.’”

    Or, get an abortion, if they really want to stick with that metaphor.

    c.f. sunk costs

  2. I find it funny that he was actually astonished that the scripts for sci- fi novel adaptation were getting worse. Near as I can tell, the only way decent sci- fi gets made is when the studio backs away from the project and lets someone with talent work more or less unhindered.

  3. More often than not it has been shown that studios ought to get out of the movie making business. That said,I’d like to see either ‘Mathematicians in Love’ or ‘White Light’,both by Rucker, made into a movie

  4. IIRC Gaimen has a short story that is part auto-biographical/part fiction about the process of dealing with the Hollywood studio process

  5. This is one of the best things I’ve read all year. Thanks.

    In the ’80s, the money spent on catering alone was disgusting. Hollywood will never automagically produce another decent sci-fi picture until some unrecognized auteur is allowed to come in and do whatever he or she wants, regardless of expense. There’s too much oversight, and zero foresight.

    Films routinely go over budget. As with any industry of this magnitude, there is simply too much noise, and everybody skims. EVERYBODY. Dog groomers. Wranglers. Especially the electricians. It’s unfortunate, because you could make each one of these staggering pieces of garbage they’ve been churning out for one sixth the cost or less. You’d have to do it sensibly. Unknowns, unpaids, and no Unions. Break the law.

    File sharing ruined Hollowwood? Don’t think so. People. It’s f$¢%ing made of people.

  6. Takeshi,

    If Hollywood unions are the problem, why have the best sci-fi movies, on balance, come from Hollywood? I’ve seen independent filmmakers’ attempts at sci-fi, and while there is the occasional unpolished gem, most of it is below average.

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