And Philip K. Dick
The future keepers
Philip K. Dick's children work to ensure the influential author's cinematic legacy.
By Geoff Boucher
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 15, 2007
PHILIP K. DICK, the science-fiction author who struggled for years with personal demons, never saw "Blade Runner," the first Hollywood adaptation of his writing. He died of a stroke just four months shy of its release in 1982. His grieving daughter Isa, then 15, remembers going to see the film in a San Rafael theater hoping that it might, somehow, keep part of her father alive.
"I went with my mom and I remember that there were maybe two other people in the whole theater and that was the way it was everywhere -- the movie was a total failure," Isa Dick Hackett said. "I remember too that the lights came up before the dedication at the end, so I didn't even get to see that. It was like a double slap in the face."
After the bruising "Blade Runner" fiasco, Dick's family assumed that the late writer had "zero future in movies," as his daughter put it. That would have added another discouraging footnote to a pained life. Dick had five failed marriages, wrote most of his novels while gobbling amphetamines and, in the grips or paranoia or religious visions, he felt always the outsider.
But while Philip Kindred Dick was a disaffected loner in life, in death his ideas turned out to be pitch-perfect for a Digital Age that wanted science fiction not just about aliens but also about the alienated.
Posthumously, Dick became a one-man factory for Hollywood projects, with his fiction reaching the screen nine times. Among the films: Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report," Paul Verhoeven's "Total Recall," John Woo's "Paycheck" and, earlier this year, the Nicolas Cage vehicle "Next," which arrives on DVD in stores on Sept. 25.
"Blade Runner," meanwhile, has bounced back from its early obscurity to become one of the most celebrated science-fiction films ever made. In October, it returns to theaters with "Blade Runner: The Final Cut," a 25th anniversary edition that, for the first time, realizes director Ridley Scott's vision with a meticulous reworking.