Here's a thing only '90s kids will remember: after James Cameron's Titanic turned into a worldwide phenomenon, there was much chatter as to what the film's two stars, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, might do for a follow-up. The pair had the entire globe's attention, their pick of whatever projects they wanted in Hollywood at that time...and neither of them cashed in. For Winslet, that meant taking on Gillies MacKinnon's Hideous Kinky and Jane Campion's Holy Smoke; for DiCaprio, it meant headlining the latest film from Danny Boyle, an adaptation of Alex Garland's angry, weird, Lord of The Flies-esque debut novel, The Beach.
The Beach wasn't the box office hit everyone involved was hoping for (it grossed less than $40M in the States and just over $140M worldwide), but it was a modest enough hit, enough so that no one's career took a serious ding. In the years since, it's gone on to be mostly forgotten (I mean, really, when's the last time you ever heard anyone talking about The Beach?), but it's a solid little thriller, even if it doesn't truly capture the unhinged beauty of Garland's original text.
Which brings us to today: according to The Independent, Danny Boyle just revealed that a "prequel" series to The Beach is being written by none other than Amy Seimetz, the actress/writer/director you might recall from such films as Upstream Color and this year's Pet Sematary remake. Says Boyle:
“The Beach may come back. [Seimetz] has taken The Beach and made a prequel for television. It’s the same character but it’s set now, so 20 years later – it’s a bit of a headfuck.
It’s intriguing when you see it. I’ve read the first two scripts. I don’t know if they’ll have the courage to do it at FX, but you never know.”
So, a prequel series starring The Beach's lead character, but it's set in the present day? I suppose the best way to interpret that is that they're simply turning back the clock on the narrative to some point prior to the events from The Beach and starting the whole thing in 2019 (or 2020, as the case may be), but it's admittedly a little vague. Until we've got some kinda clarification, that's the interpretation we're sticking to.
As for revisiting The Beach, well, you won't find a bigger fan of Garland's novel than this writer, but I have to admit I'd rather see them doing a straight-up, perfectly loyal adaptation as a limited series rather than...whatever this might be. Boyle's film offered a slightly watered down take on the novel, leaving plenty of material to work with if someone wanted to adapt the thing straight-up. I mean, obviously I'm into anything Beach-related - if nothing else, Seimetz is crazy talented, so whatever it is will probably be interesting - I'm just not sure why we're monkeying around with the timeline of it all.
In any event, this is quite a surprise, and we're eager to learn more. Stay tuned for further updates if and when they roll in (and, in the meantime: if you've never read The Beach, I cannot recommend it enough. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy if you've never head the pleasure).