Ridley Scott In Negotiations To Direct Film Version Of The Prisoner


By hook or by crook Universal intends to send Ridley Scott to the Village. According to Deadline, the Alien/Blade Runner/The Martian director is in negotiations to helm a big screen adaptation of one of the greatest TV shows of all time – The Prisoner.

Universal has been working in the project for some time with heavy-hitter scriptwriters including Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and William Monahan (The Departed) working on drafts. If Universal and Scott strike a deal it could be Scott’s next project after Alien: Covenant.

The Prisoner, which was created by and starred Patrick McGoohan, may have run for only 17 episodes from 1967-8, but it is a true landmark in television with an influence on subsequent TV and sci-fi that punches well above its weight.

McGooham played a never-named spy who angrily retires from his job for reasons undisclosed. His bosses need to know why, so they kidnap him and imprison him in a bizarre village where the inhabitants only have numbers, not names – he becomes Number Six. The never-seen Number One is in charge of the Village and a series of his right-hand men, all called Number Two, use increasingly odd and extreme methods to interrogate Number Six.

It’s weird. It’s surreal. It’s also very ’60s. However, there are themes of paranoia, security, freedom of speech and the surveillance society which could be made very relevant to today.

There was a ghastly TV remake in 2009 starring Jim Caviezel, that – aside from the inspired idea of casting Ian McKellen as Number Two – failed on pretty much every level. One of the most striking and memorable things about the original series was its setting: the Village was a real (though very strange) location in north Wales called Portmeirion, which was basically a massive Italian-esque folly built by an architect called Clough Williams-Ellis who clearly had too much money to spend. The Village in the TV remake looked like a Butlins holiday camp. Dreadful.


It would be silly to insist that the new film uses  Portmeirion just to keep fans happy, but a major part of any film version’s success will have to be the design of The Village. And in that regard, Ridley Scott – an unashamed cinematic aesthete who has such a strong sense of the visual impact of his films – is a perfect choice. Cross your fingers.


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