Storylines In Review

Upcoming Attractions
-A series of blog posts on upcoming film or tv releases, storyline by storyline.

The ‘Castaway Survival’ Storyline 2018
‘Castaway’ stories are always popular, with so many possible plot setups – shipwrecks, imprisonment abroad, etc. (This doesn't even include apocalyptic scenarios, which have their own page.) And settings can range from prehistory, as with (to choose a pair of current examples) Alpha set “20,000 years ago during the last Ice Age” all the way to the future, with Syfy’s 12 Monkeys. Going alphabetically, we have 50 current examples:

The fourth and final season of Syfy’s 12 Monkeys, spun off from the 1995 feature film about a prisoner sent back in time to forestall a plot to spread an apocalyptic plague, is coming up, with 11 more episodes.
Written by Petter Skavlan (as Alex Boe), Den 12. mann / The 12th Man is another dramatisation (previously seen the 1957 b&w feature Ni Liv /Nine Lives) of a famous WW2 incident where the sole survivor of a Norwegian commando party had to flee cross-country and hide from German pursuit amidst snowy conditions for two months.
Alpha, from a screenplay by director Albert Hughes and Daniele Sebastian Wiedenhaubt, is being described as a boy-and-his-wolf movie, where an Ice Age youth, separated from his tribe, teams up with a wolf for survival.
Swedish sci-fi film Aniara, written by director Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja from a concept by Nobel Prize-winner Harry Martinson, has a Mars-bound spaceship-knocked off-course setup.
Anima, from a spec script [author unknown] being backed by The King’s Speech and Wolf Hall financier Hindsight Media, “follows a prisoner who is sentenced to solitary confinement on a remote asteroid”
Arctic, from a screenplay by director Joe Penna and Ryan Morrison, has a plane-crash survival setup.
Beautifully Broken, written by Brad Allen, Chuck Howard and Martin Michael (I Am Not Ashamed), along with Mark McCann (Harmony), is “about a refugee’s escape, a prisoner’s promise, and a daughter’s painful secret converge in this inspiring true story of hope. As three fathers fight to save their families, their lives become intertwined in an unlikely journey across the globe, where they learn the healing power of forgiveness and reconciliation.”
In Bel Canto, from a novel by Ann Patchett, “a famous soprano who heads to South America to perform at a swanky birthday party for a wealthy Japanese industrialist (Ken Watanabe). But the fancy gathering is rudely interrupted when the house is taken over by a guerrilla rebel group demanding the release of their imprisoned comrades.”
The Boat, written by director Winston Azzopardi and [his son, lead actor] Joe Azzopardi, is described as a low-budget thriller. “It follows a lone fisherman who boards an abandoned sailboat. Finding no signs of life, he emerges back on deck to discover that his own boat has disappeared, and a nightmarish journey ensues as he becomes imprisoned inside as the vessel presses on into unknown waters.”
Another Call Of The Wild is in production, this one a live-action production (with Harrison Ford) written by Michael Green, not to be confused with an animated version also apparently in the works.
Castle Of Water, being adapted by Peter Arneson from a 2017 romantic adventure novel from Dane Huckelbridge “centers on two survivors of a plane crash—an American man and a newly widowed French woman—who struggle to live and love while marooned on a tropical island.”
Chicken Run 2 is 'in the works' at Aardman studios.
The Controller, the working title of an upcoming nonfiction book by Dan Schilling being adapted by Michael Russell Gunn about a USAF Combat Controller who was cut off during a 2002 battle with the Taliban in Afghanistan and was eventually awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor after a long search for evidence.
Devastation Class, an unpublished sci-fi novel co-written by filmmakers Glen Zipper and Elaine Mongeon, “follows an unlikely group of young cadets forced to mutiny aboard a revolutionary starship to save themselves from an annihilation force of invading aliens. When their escape transports them to a reality they don’t recognize and reveals unimaginably terrifying secrets, they must fight their way home to save not just everyone they love but also humanity itself.”
Down To A Sunless Sea, long in development from the 1979 David Graham novel, has “an Airbus A380 with 600 passengers on-board is trapped midway between Los Angeles and Tokyo when every airport in the world is wiped out in a global thermonuclear war.”
Dumbo, Tim Burton's live-action remake, written by Ehren Kruger from the 1939 novel by Helen Aberson, is out next March.
Escape At Dannemora, Showtime’s eight-hour drama serial about the real-life 2015 Dannemora prison break by a pair of convicted killers is being adapted by Brett Johnson (Mad Men) and Michael Tolkin (The Player).
Farming, writer and director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's autobiographical feature debut, has “a young Nigerian ‘farmed out’ by his parents to a white British family in hopes of giving him a better future … [who] becomes the feared leader of a white skinhead gang.”
A Gentleman In Moscow, Tom Harper’s tv adaptation of Amor Towles’s novel, concerns a Russian Count sentenced by a 1920s Bolshevik tribunal to live in one room in the Metropol hotel across the street from the Kremlin.
Glass, written by director M. Night Shyamalan, a sequel/spinoff from several of his previous works, is out in January.
Greyzone, described as a “Scandinavian terror thriller”, about a female drone engineer who is taken hostage by terrorists at home but manages to get a message out, is a ten-part serial due on Channel 4 as part of their Walter Presents backed foreign-language drama strand [Deutschland 83 etc].
Guantanamo, Showtime's planned series to be directed by Oliver Stone for Weinstein Television has gone into turnaround while there is no further news about Guantanamo Diary, being scripted by Michael Bronner and directed by Kevin Macdonald, the story of suspected terrorist Mohamedou Ould Slahi.
High Life, written by director Claire Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau, Geoff Cox, with Nick Laird, is a space-station-castaway drama: “a collection of death-row inmates forced to cohabitate on a self-sustaining station in orbit. Their assignment – to explore black holes in the hopes of harvesting their rotational energy for the citizens of Earth – is sold to them as an opportunity for heroism. However, it’s not long before they realise that they’re all but guaranteed to perish in the process. Mission drift sets in” [sex rears its head].
A modern remake of The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Netflix is being scripted by Michael Mitnick [The Current War] for Idris Elba to direct, star in, and produce.
The I-Land, written by director Neil Labute for Netflix, is a Lost-style mystical take on the desert island plot setup: “ten people wake up on a treacherous island with no memory of who they are or how they got there, they set off on a trek to try to get back home. They soon discover this world is not as it seems. Faced with the island’s extreme psychological and physical challenges, they must rise to their better selves — or die as their worst ones.”
In The Tall Grass is written by director Vincenzo Natali [Westworld] for Netflix, from an Esquire Magazine short story by Stephen King and son Joe Hill. “After hearing a young boy’s cry for help, a sister and brother venture into a vast field of tall grass in Kansas but soon discover there may be no way out… and that something evil lurks within the tall grass.”
In The Innocents, a made-in-Britain 8-part supernatural drama written by Hania Elkington and Simon Duric for Netflix, “When teenagers Harry and June run away from their repressive families to be together, they're derailed by an extraordinary discovery - June's ability to shape-shift. A scientist tries to capture her and discover the key to her power.”
The Kept, being adapted by Alice Birch [Lady Macbeth] for producer/star Angelina Jolie from a 2014 James Scott novel, has 3 killers taking a family captive on an isolated frontier farm in 1890s upstate New York.
Kursk, adapted by Robert Rodat [Saving Private Ryan] from Robert Moore’s book A Time To Die, is a $40 million English-language French-Belgian drama about the 2000 Kursk submarine disaster, where 23 Russian sailors who survived the initial explosion slowly suffocated due to official inaction and obstruction.
The Lighthouse, written by Max Eggers and director Robert Eggers, ‘the story of an aging lighthouse keeper in early 20th-century Maine’, is keeping its plot under wraps, but is classed as a fantasy-horror drama, shot in black and white, with two characters named Old and Young.
Lost In Space, revived by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless from the Irwin Allen 60s series, is proceeding into Season 2.
Writer-director Katharine O’Brien’s feature Lost Transmissions is about a missing schizophrenic music producer lost somewhere in LA’s mental health care system.
Series 2 of National Geographic’s odd mix of alternating documentary and drama scenes, Mars, based on Stephen Petranek’s 2015 book How We'll Live On Mars, follows a six-part arc set a few years in the future when the astronauts have a full-fledged colony going, called Olympus Town.
Mayday 109, from a script by Samuel Franco and Evan Kilgore, dramatises the story of JFK’s WW2 shipwreck experience when his PT boat was rammed by a Japanese warship and the crew had to survive on a tropical island. (This was previously dramatised in the 1963 film PT 109.)
A new BBC adaptation of Les Misérables by Andrew Davies is in the works, with Dominic West as the hard-done-by convict Jean Valjean.
Moonbase 8, a 6-episode sitcom from actor-writers Fred Armisen, Jonathan Krisel, Tim Heidecker and John C. Reilly, is about “three subpar astronauts living in NASA’s Moon Base Simulator in the desert with high hopes of being the next chosen to travel through to the moon.”
Mowgli, a CGI production retelling Kipling’s Jungle Book story adapted by Callie Kloves, is out in the autumn.
A remake of Oliver, the musical version of Dickens’s novel filmed in 1968 is being scripted by Danny Strong
One of the most popular fact-based ‘castaway’ stories has been remade, though how true the underling account is has never been established: Papillon, adapted by Aaron Guzikowski from the 1969 Henri Charrière book, this time with Charlie Hunnam in the title role played by Steve McQueen in the 1973 film scripted by Dalton Trumbo and Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Paradise Hills, scripted by Nacho Vigalondo and Brian Deleeuw based on an original idea from director Alice Waddington and Sofia Cuenca, is ‘set in the not-too-distant future the sci-fi thriller follows Uma, who wakes up one morning in Paradise Hills, a high-class treatment facility on an isolated island where well-off families send their daughters to be reformed.’
The four-part Australian event drama Safe Harbour, developed by Matt Cameron et al, is set to make its U.S. debut on Hulu. It ‘tells the story of five Australians on a yachting holiday from Darwin to Indonesia, whose idyllic vacation takes a disastrous turn when they come across a broken-down fishing boat, full of desperate asylum seekers.’
In Sicilian Ghost Story, written by directors Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza loosely based on a true story, a boy is held for several years in a remote area by the Mafia after his father turns informant, the drama being described as “a genre-bending affair that combines elements of teen romance, gothic psycho-drama and political thriller.”
The drama Sneaky Pete created by Bryan Cranston and David Shore, about an ex con on the run from the gangster he robbed and forced to assume his cellmate’s identity, is launching its 3rd series.
A reimagining of Home Alone is being developed as an R-rated comedy from a script by Kevin Burrows and Matt Mider. Stoned Alone has a “twenty-something weed growing loser who misses the plane for his holiday ski trip”. (Presumably the thieves this time are after his stash.)
Sweet Country, written by David Tranter and Steven McGregor, is an Australian western set in 1929 with an aboriginal youth fleeing into the Outback on the run from the police.
The recent Thai cave rescue where 12 teen soccer players and their coach were trapped by floodwaters in a cave is inspiring two possible dramatisations, one a US backed production and the other a Thai production by Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu who wants his version made to avoid ‘whitewashing’.
In Vivarium, a sci-fi thriller written by director Lorcan Finnegan and Garret Shanley, “a couple looking for the perfect home find themselves trapped in a mysterious labyrinth-like neighborhood of identical houses … and forced to raise an otherworldly child.”
The Wilds, a YA series pilot for Amazon Studios written by Sarah Streicher, “centers on a group of teenage girls from radically different backgrounds who find themselves stranded on a remote island, unaware that they’ve just become the subjects of an elaborate social experiment.”
The Wind, written by Teresa Sutherland, is a supernatural thriller with a Western frontier setting, whose plot setup sounds reminiscent of the 1928 silent film adapted by Frances Marion from the novel by Dorothy Scarborough and directed by Victor Sjöström.

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[c] Storylines In Review 2018