30 days of ideas – 22: The Stainless Steel Rat (the movie)

This one’s a really simple idea: a film adaptation of the Stainless Steel Rat books by Harry Harrison.

The books are science fiction comedy/action/adventure stories about a witty and charming con artist in the distant future, who is himself conned into working for an intergalactic law enforcement authority – the Special Corps, whose entire method is to send a thief to catch a thief.

The main character, ‘Slippery’ Jim di Griz is the eponymous rat, whose attempts to catch the bad guy, escape his new ‘employers’ (and the alternative of incarceration) – as well as his explosive interactions with his fellow criminals and his love interest – the even more sociopathic Angelina – would make for a fantastic, fast-paced action/comedy film.

It’s fun, funny – and stuff blows up
I was thinking about the books earlier today – and the comic adaptations of those stories in 2000AD, and went looking to see if anyone had made films of them. I was astonished to find out that nobody every had.

Not only do they have cinema written all over them, I had assumed that they were extremely well-known and well-loved, simply because I, and all my friends, had been really into them.

I think I was about 14 or 15 when I first read them, and particularly liked the first and third books, The Stainless Steel Rat (1961) and The Stainless Steel Rat Saves The World (1972). There are ten books in total.

Done right, it’d be ace – done badly, it’d still be fun
My idea is that if adapted and packed with snappy dialogue by good writers (think Joss Whedon), directed with a contemporary approach (think Dark Knight meets Hustle), and given a good cast – The Stainless Steel Rat could be an amazing cinematic experience.

But I guess with that combination, so could the phone book.

The novels are pulpy and kitsch – so it would be difficult to screw that end of it up too badly – but they’re a great deal of fun. There’s no ‘sanctity of the text’ here, as there was with something like Watchmen – but it has all the ingredients for a fantastic franchise.

Spaceships, con artists, time travel, romance, intrigue, explosions and cliffhanger moments every other minute… what’s not to like?

I’d love it if someone would make this. Please invite me to the opening.

Table of contents for 30 Days of Ideas

  1. The other way of following first
  2. Now we’re up and dancing
  3. 30 days of ideas – 01: Keymash
  4. 30 days of ideas – 02: Radio Alerts
  5. 30 days of ideas – 03: Only Famous (a romantic comedy)
  6. 30 days of ideas – 04: Modcasts
  7. 30 days of ideas – 05: Numberless Calendar
  8. 30 days of ideas – 06: SpringCleanr
  9. 30 days of ideas – 07: Street Gallery
  10. 30 days of ideas – 08: Smart Business Cards
  11. 30 days of ideas – 09: Recordings in Concert
  12. 30 days of ideas – 10: Vinyl scanner
  13. 30 days of ideas – 11: Photo Stack-and-Scan
  14. 30 days of ideas – 12: A Box of Cool
  15. 30 days of ideas – 13: Karaoke-Tube Celebstar Idol
  16. 30 days of ideas – 14: I Made You A Tape
  17. 30 days of ideas – 15: Newspaper download codes
  18. 30 days of ideas – 16: Pebble Splash
  19. 30 days of ideas – 17: Digital radio, somewhere useful
  20. 30 days of ideas – 18: Public domain music collection
  21. 30 days of ideas – 19: Blog cast-list automator
  22. 30 days of ideas – 20: The Retirement Pile
  23. 30 days of ideas – 21: Nationalise EMI
  24. 30 days of ideas – 22: The Stainless Steel Rat (the movie)
  25. 30 days of ideas – 23: WordPress Bandcampify template
  26. 30 days of ideas – 24: Rollercoasters as public transport
  27. 30 days of ideas – 25: Next-gen personalised music radio
  28. 30 days of ideas – 26: New Music Trust
  29. 30 days of ideas – 27: Tamagotchi Gardening
  30. 30 days of ideas – 28: Charity shop clothing subscription
  31. 30 days of ideas – 29: ‘Now Playing’ social music app
  32. 30 days of ideas – 30: House of Spare Ideas
  33. Mixtape for You by Ray Kuyvenhoven
  34. What can you do in 30 days?

4 Responses to “30 days of ideas – 22: The Stainless Steel Rat (the movie)”

  1. Alan says:

    Someone needs to release a game franchise first – then the movie is pretty much guaranteed.

  2. Ben says:

    Luc Besson (a la “Fifth Element”) would be perfect for the visuals – did you have any actors in mind?

  3. On the way (possibly) says:

    Harry Harrison (the author) said about twenty years ago he had sold the rights for a movie. Everyone cheered. Then he revealed it was already the second or third time, and that in his opinion it would never happen.

  4. Just hoping it can have movie version.

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