Michel Gondry Adapting Philip K. Dick’s ‘Ubik’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 24th, 2013 at 10:27 am,

Philip K. Dick was a paranoid fellow, as demonstrated by his literary output, but one of his most trippy and mind-boggling creations is a book titled Ubik, which can only be described in brief as a satirical, psychedelic predecessor to the likes of Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

Times ranks Ubik as one of the great contemporary English-language novels, and film rights were acquired by the aptly named Celluloid Dreams back in 2008. Now Michel Gondry, arguably the modern-day master of quirky cinema, is planning to bring Dick’s story to the big screen.

Gondry has a handful of projects currently in development, including a hand-animated documentary about Noam Chomsky and an indie flick titled The We and I, which the Green Hornet director plans to start shooting this summer. He informed The Playlist of his plans to eventually adapt Ubik, which is guaranteed to be another non-mainstream effort from Gondry and should thematically (as well as stylistically) resemble his previous films, like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep.

Dick penned Ubik back in 1969 and the book takes place in what was then the future, now an alternate version of 1992, where parapsychology is a part of everyday life and anti-mind-reading security companiesĀ attempt to control those who use their telepathic abilities for illicit purposes. The title itself refers to a substance best described as a universal panacea that is meant to be administered via spray can.

Philip K. Dicks Ubik Michel Gondry Adapting Philip K. Dicks Ubik

Ubik would very much be a twisted but comical sci-fi tale that follows one Joe Chip, an anti-psi technician whose life takes a turn for the weirder after he’s involved in a well-paying job on the Moon that goes horribly wrong. Like Doug Quaid in Total Recall (also based on literature written by Dick), Joe’s existence becomes a collection of increasingly bizarre experiences, and it’s never clear just how much of it is real or hallucination.

It goes without saying that this material is right up Gondry’s alley as a storyteller, and a step in the right direction for those who felt that his eccentric directing style didn’t work well in the Green Hornet movie. There were a number of films released last year that played around with the concept of how an individual’s perspective shapes their view of reality (Inception, Shutter Island, Black Swan, etc.), but Ubik in the hands of Gondry would probably feel very different than any of those pics.

What do think of Gondry adapting Ubik?

Source: The Playlist

TAGS: Ubik
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  1. Wow, nice…something that is NOT a remake or reboot.

    • Agreed! To a SciFi wasteland comes some hope…

  2. While some liberties are usually taken from the source material, they make pretty decent movies. They may not all be as iconic as Blade Runner (Based on Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep), but they are all entertaining. I really liked Total Recall (We Can Remember It For You Wholesale), Minority Report and A Scanner Darkly as well. I’m looking forward to this.

    • yea but the only one that was adapted extremely close to the source material was a scanner darkly iv read all those books and iv seen the films there were elements missing i havnt read this one so i think its a must read for me. dicks writing is amazing but im not saying i dont like the adaptations. im glad they took out deckerds wife and the fact that he actually had an electric sheep as a pet. i think they should have kept the mood altereing drug machines though. i cant remmber what theyre called. and minority report was a short story that i loved but i liked what they did with the movie ill have to read this and hope for the best

      • I agree his novels is one of the things that got me into scifi literature. I would have loved sitting there talking to him , the way his mind works is amazing, im sure there were some other substances involed as well, lol.

  3. The Matrix and Inception pretty much definitively prove Ubik can work and be an awesome film.

  4. The concept is cool, I wonder about their choice of Gondry though. We’ll see.

  5. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind is basicly a Dick film with out ever being a Dick novel so I have faith in gondry who’s most prolific works interplays fantasy and realism, ESOTSM and Science of Sleep, and SOS deals with dreams so Ubik seems to be in the right hands now if only charlie kaufman would write the script we would finally get a authentic Dick adaptation and Kaufman did once write a draft for a scanner darkly he said studios found too true to the book and not forgetting he has said ESOTSM was his own Dick story so we know he would be intrested and brilliant for the job

  6. Will be keeping my eye on this one for sure. It’s good to see Philip K. Dick’s works being adapted. Hopefully, this will get people to read the original works.

  7. Come on… he can do better than that! Seriously- he’s gone from an adaptation with a sting in its tail… to Dick!

  8. This is my favourite Dick book (and that’s saying something).

    I had my heart set on either Aronofsky, Cronenbourg or Lynch getting their hands on this. The more I remember the story, the more Gondry makes sense.

    I’m going to call out Mark Ruffalo as the very likeable Joe Chip and Gondry favourite Tom Wilkinson as Glen Runciter.

    I hope Gondry brings in a courageous Director of photography because this film could look unique.

  9. I created this a while back after I read the book:


    • That is one beautiful vector man. serious; nice work.

  10. Ubik is one of my three favorite Dick novels, and this is a toss up. Gondry is hit and miss. He has the ability to do this justice, but there is a probability that he will screw it up.

  11. I agree with Mark Ruffalo as Joe Chip! Ubik is my favorite book! And I’ve read almost all books of Philip K. Dick, I think the perfect match to this amazing story should be Christpher Nolan.

    • Sam Rockwell is the perfect Joe Chip

  12. nice