Upwardly failing into a grim and unfeeling infinity, former Game Of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have now lined up yet another high profile film project for themselves. Deadline reports that the duo has responded to the recent loss of their Star Wars gig by taking one that questions whether the stars are right, period: An H.P. Lovecraft movie at Warner Bros.
Lovecraft’s cosmic horror has been a perennial favorite for adaptation, of course, in a variety of levels of canonical authenticity—ranging from “in name only” (looking at you, Stuart Gordon), all the way up to stuff like this year’s far more faithful The Colour Out Of Space. Benioff and Weiss’ project sounds like it might tackle the man himself, though, questioning whether all the strange and squamous fever dreams he barfed into the American canon might have actually been true, and situating it in an era-appropriate 1920s setting.
Which—what with all the potential said setting offers for the display of outdated and offensive values—brings us to the elephant in the room. It’s more-or-less impossible to talk about ol’ Howard Phillips’ work in a modern context without mentioning the fact that he was a pretty massive racist, in ways that frequently intersected with his work—more than one of his stories, for instance, featuring “monsters” who are pretty much just “non-white people not living in an English/Christian culture.” It’s thus somewhat eye-rolling to see Benioff and Weiss stick their hand back into this particular bear trap, after their attempts to make a “Hey, what if slavery was still around?” show back at HBO helped kick off their transition from the network’s paired golden children, to the far-more-tattered reputation they enjoy today. A movie directly referencing Lovecraft’s life and works is going to have a very difficult time not addressing this aspect of his life, career, and beliefs, and Benioff and Weiss haven’t done a whole lot to instill confidence in viewers that they knew how to walk that line.
In any case, this is just one of several projects B&W have had on their plate since belly flopping off the Game Of Thrones high-dive earlier this year; they’ve also got a long-term deal signed to develop projects with Netflix, although this Lovecraft movie apparently builds out of negotiations that pre-date that big-money agreement.