British director, stage designer and two-time Oscar winner, Roger Christian, revealed plans to adapt the text at the recent Off Plus Camera Kraków Festival of Independent Cinema.
Christian described Stanisław Lem as "the intellectual father of science fiction, [a genre] that I love, and his 'Memoirs Found In A Bathtub' is one of my favourite of his books. This is set to be a big epic film". The book was first published in Polish in 1961 and subsequently translated into English in 1973. The film will be made in Poland as an international coproduction. Much of the filming on the English-language feature will be done in the underground open salt mine in Wieliczka.
Sławomir Fabicki is set to write a screenplay based on the book, whilst Bogumił Godfrej will be the film's cinematographer. Both men were nominated for Oscars for the short film A Man Thing. Abel Korzeniowski will compose the film's score.
Speaking about his own work, Stanisław Lem once said:
The whole totemism and animism, as well as various other phenomena found in primitive cultures, are based on the premise that the whole world can be regarded as a dispatch addressed to its inhabitants. This can lead creators of certain social systems to take advantage of it, but also go beyond the boundaries foreseen by political dictators. From this moment on - everything becomes a message. For example, there may follow an absolutist conspiracy theory… to the extent that everything, rain included, becomes a symptom which can be interpreted as a sign of what may come in the political sphere - be it good or bad […] Moreover, the book is informed by a fortunate connection of spooky atmosphere and humour. This kind of black comedy seems to me now both a genius temporis and signum temporis. And it still! Nothing indicates that this should change.
According to Polish film producer, Wojciech Pałys, principal photography will begin at the start of the first three months of the shooting schedule, at the beginning of 2012, whilst the premiere of the film is set for the end of 2012 and early 2013. The film's budget will be around 3 million euro. "We intend to make this film realistically, we're not thinking of Hollywood budgets", he stipulated. The film's planned location is the legendary salt mines of Wieliczka, where entire ballrooms have been etched out of salt in an underground palace complex.
In accordance with the film-makers' wishes, Memoirs Found in a Bathtub is meant to stay faithful to the narrative in being set in a realm of a futuristic underground complex, which serves as an allegory for social totalitarianism. Its hero is a secret agent sent to an apocalyptic underground city: a world where the protagonist seems to be the sole normal figure. The 'memoirs' in question are his and he continues his secret mission despite threats made to his life. The story is a futuristic metaphor for the restrictions on freedom Polish citizens endured in Lem's time.
The film's director, Roger Christian, has received two Oscars for his films The Dollar Bottom (1981) which won for the Best Live Action Short Film category. He's also found success as a set designer; he was also honoured for George Lucas's Star Wars (in conjunction with the set design for Ridley Scott's Alien). Roger Christian is a member of the British Academy of Film. (BAFTA).
The director says he intends for the film
to be a thrilling story set in the futuristic underground complex – an allegory of totalitarian society. With its style and atmosphere, the film will refer to the classic film noir detective stories. Its protagonist will be a secret agent sent to the apocalyptic subterranean city. Having the brilliant literary original and a group of outstanding creators at our disposal, we are going to make a visionary thriller of epic proportions. It will include undertones of worlds created in such movies as The Bourne Identity and Alphaville, and the whole work will be an innovative vision for a demanding viewer.
Lem's 1972 novel Solaris was adapted by Andrei Tarkovsky in 1972 and by Steven Soderbergh in 2002 (starring George Clooney). Currently, Israeli director Ari Folman is working on The Congress, an animated film adaptation of Lem's Futurological Congress (published in 1971) . For more information on this film, see Culture.pl's interview with the director: Ari Folman on the Genius of Stanisław Lem.
Source: PAP, solaris.lem.pl, en.biurofestiwalowe.pl