In our new weekly series we look at the best sci-fi movies that never got made . . .

TITLE: Rendezvous with Rama

WHAT’S IT ABOUT: In the 22nd century a team of astronauts is sent on a mission to explore a giant interstellar spaceship hurtling toward the sun.

SOURCE: Arthur C. Clarke’s 1972 novel of the same name which won both the Hugo and Nebula awards.

WHO’S INVOLVED? Director David Fincher (Se7en, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Benjamin Button, Alien 3) and actor Morgan Freeman.

LAST WE HEARD: Back in early 2011 director Fincher said Rendezvous with Rama could be one of his next films. (Instead it turned out to be the English language remake of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with Daniel Craig.)

Here’s what he told Total Film magazine:

Rendezvous with Rama is a great story that has an amazing role for Morgan Freeman who is an amazing actor and would be amazing in this thing.”

“The question was can we get a script that’s worthy of Morgan and can we get a script that is worthy of Arthur Clarke and can we do all of that in an envelope that will allow the movie to take the kind of chances that it wants to take.”

“Because we want to make a movie where kids go out of the theatre and instead of buying an action figure they buy a telescope. That was the hope. The hope is, let’s get people interested in the fucking movie.”

WHY IT’D BE GREAT: Come on! It’s a fantastic novel, plus it’s David Fincher and Arthur C. Clarke! So few SF classics do actually get made into movies, you know . . .

THE PROBLEM: Rendezvous with Rama is a great Hard SF novel, but let’s be honest here: in movie terms not much actually happens. There is no alien invasion; the deserted alien spaceship code-named Rama isn’t haunted; there are no slimy monsters on board; etc.

In a Hollywood in which science fiction means dumb, noisy special effects spectacles a screenplay true to Clarke’s novel will probably never get made.

CHANCES OF GETTING MADE: Maybe, but don’t hold your breath.

As Morgan Freeman said in December 2011: “We’re still pushing for Rendezvous with Rama. That’s a got-to-be-done movie. Just have to figure out how to do it. I’ve been trying for – I don’t know – 15 years now to get a script!”


NEXT WEEK: The third big screen X-Files movie.


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Category: Features, Movies

About the Author

James has been running The Sci-Fi Movie Page since Before the Beginning of Time Itself (TM), i.e. since the site's inception in 1997. In addition to sci-fi James also likes 1970s motorbikes and chili dogs although he doesn't own the former and no longer eats the latter. He currently resides in Kiev, Ukraine for reasons best left unexplained.

  • Bolithio

    Really, this book is a prequel. And the other books are kind of weird and more about human drama than sci-fi, although I did dig the spider-robot aliens who communicate visually using color.

  • Anonymous

    That is probably why they are struggling to come up with a screenplay.

  • Rm7670

    Rama is decent book, not one of my favorites. I would go for Moon is a Harsh Mistress, that would be a great movie.

  • Joe1846

    I read R with R way back in 1973.  I have never forgotten it, especially the last line……something like…….”We’ll catch the next one because everything comes in threes”



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