A remake of Soylent Green, the cheesy yet cheerfully pessimistic ‘Seventies science fiction movie starring Charlton Heston, has been rumored for ages now . . .

Some background: Soylent Green is a 1973 science fiction movie that starred then box-office champ Charlton Heston. Considering that the two other science fiction movies Charlton Heston starred in during his long career have already been “remade” (Planet of the Apes by Tim Burton in 2001 and The Omega Man as I Am Legend starring Will Smith), then it should maybe come as no surprise that Hollywood would want to remake Soylent Green as well.

The ‘Seventies saw the rise of the Ecological movement. In the late-1960s issues such as overpopulation, the destruction of the rain forest and pollution amongst others may have only been of concern to a bunch of tree-hugging hippies, but in the 1970s these issues went mainstream. In time these concerns were also reflected in several Hollywood movies of the era such as Z.P.G. (1972) and Silent Running (also 1972) – several decades before WALL-E!

Reeling from the shock of Vietnam and Watergate, the ‘Seventies was the time to feel shitty about the future. That decade’s Hollywood output become infamous for its cynicism and unhappy endings, a trend which was only reversed when a certain small movie named Star Wars quenched the viewing public’s insatiable thirst for happy endings . . .

Since then Hollywood hasn’t really stopped with the happy ending business, and it is therefore weird that they would want to remake Soylent Green – a darkly pessimistic film with a trademarked ‘Seventies unhappy ending.

Soylent Green is set in 2022, a future dystopia in which the planet is plagued by overcrowding, pollution and resource depletion. To cope with the problem the government has set up euthanasia centres for the elderly where they can watch stock footage of the now extinct forests and animals as self-administered poison slowly course through their veins.

"Our film is about what happens afterwards . . ."
- Writer / director David Goyer

[SPOILERS!] The only foodstuff available in mass quantities is “Soylent Green,” tasteless green cubes which the government says are made of plankton. Of course it isn’t made of plankton: as everyone knows by now “Soylent Green is people!” It seems that the government has found a non-wasteful way to recycle all those depressed pensioners who frequent the euthanasia centers! In the movie Charlton Heston plays a cop who inadvertently uncovers the truth and dies at the end, trying to tell the people the truth.

The movie is based on a 1966 science fiction novel titled Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison. Today Soylent Green may be fondly remembered by science fiction fans in part because movies became dumber in the decades that followed. The reality though is that Soylent Green gives new meaning to the phrase “loosely based on”. In the novel Soylent Green wasn’t people at all - it really was seaweed.

Yup, even back then Hollywood sensationalised and dumbed the material down. (When one thinks about it, the “Soylent Green is people” twist is pretty dumb because it’d be impossible to keep the truth behind the world’s most common foodstuff secret for longer than a day!)

The first news of a Soylent Green remake surfaced in 2004. Back then David Goyer, who wrote Batman Begins and directed Blade: Trinity told SCI FI Wire that the planned movie would be more of a sequel than a remake. Instead it will pick up where the original film left off.

“I will say that the reveal at the end of the first movie happened at the end of our first act. So the first movie is kind of the first act of our film, and then it’s about what happens afterwards,” Goyer said. As he pointed out in the same interview, you can’t have the “Soylent Green is people” the punch line anymore because everybody knows it by now! [END SPOILERS!]

The plan was that Goyer wouldn’t write or direct the remake / sequel, but only produce it under his then just-signed one-year first-look deal with Warner Brothers.

Fast forward to 2008. Obviously no Soylent Green remake as yet. But in December of that year a news item surfaces in The Hollywood Reporter that Dan McDermott has been hired by Warner Bros to write an adaptation of the novel on assignment - something he must do before the rights to the story reverts back to Harrison.

McDermott is a former head of DreamWorks Television who has slowly gravitated to screenwriting and co-wrote Eagle Eye. According to the same reports he was also working on remaking Romancing the Stone at that time. (David S. Goyer was also no longer attached to the project it seems.)

Since then . . . nothing. There is a 2012 release date for this film right now, so Hollywood doesn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry to get it made. Hopefully they’ll lose interest altogether because one can just imagine how Michael Bay turns it into an ADD action movie in which Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his movie comeback blowing away the corrupt scheming government officials behind the indubitably socialist Soylent Green feeding project, Democrats every last one of them no doubt!


  • Join our Facebook group today and get all the latest sci-fi news & rumors daily!




blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Most Popular

Copyright © 1997-forward James O'Ehley/The Sci-Fi Movie Page (unless where indicated otherwise).