For over a decade, The Incredibles and Incredibles 2 helmer Brad Bird has been keen to direct an adaptation of James Dalessandro’s novel 1906, which tells the story of the devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake which hit San Francisco, destroying 80% of the city and killing up to 3000 people.
The project was initially envisioned as Bird’s first live-action movie, although he subsequently went on to direct Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Tomorrowland after Warner Bros. hesitated due to budgetary constraints. However, the filmmaker has revealed to Variety’s Playback Podcast that he hasn’t given up hope of realising the project.
“It’s a really fascinating moment in history,” said Bird (via Collider). “Prior to the earthquake, San Francisco is this really happening city that’s somewhere between the Old West and the 20th Century. I mean, they still had bars where people were getting Shanghai’d—getting slipped Mickey Finns and you would wake up on a boat and if you didn’t work the boat, you’d be thrown overboard. So that was still happening and the people who owned those kinds of bars were in the California legislature. In other words, it was somewhere between the Wild West and the sophisticated city San Francisco would like to see itself as, and was in many ways. So it’s this fascinating moment in history where gaslight and electric light were co-existing, and cars and horses were co-existing.”
“Getting it in a movie-sized box, it’s too big a story for,” he continued. “If you do it for TV you’re missing the scale of motion pictures, so I keep trying to get it to kind of straddle these two worlds. I love the movie experience and I would want the earthquake to be on a movie screen and yet I recognize that the story’s too [big], so I’m kind of trying to get it done as an amalgam and people are kind of intrigued by it. Warners wants to do the earthquake part of it as a movie, and we just can’t get it all under one roof. But I’m still fascinated by the story. To be continued. I’m still interested in it but I want it to be done in a way that embraces all the possibilities and yet somehow stays near or part of it or something on the big screen, so we’ll see what happens.”
Bird is currently riding high with the success of Incredibles 2, which shattered box office records last weekend, so perhaps that will convince Warner Bros. to finally push ahead with the film.