Author Ray Bradbury, 90, is trying to develop film versions of his books "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles."

Michael Jones, Writers Guild of America via Bloomberg

Ray Bradbury, 90, is still chasing Martians

  • Article by: MICHAEL WHITE
  • Bloomberg News Service
  • September 6, 2010 - 6:47 PM

Although his 90-year-old body is confined to a wheelchair, Ray Bradbury's mind is as active as ever.

The author of "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles" is trying to develop film versions of both books. He's also working on a collection of short fiction to be published next year.

Bradbury recently discussed his plans at the Writers Guild of America's office in Los Angeles, where he attended a reading of his one-act play "The Better Part of Wisdom," about an elderly Irishman who discovers his grandson is gay.

The performance, starring James Cromwell, was the first of several events celebrating Bradbury's recent birthday. The play is one of six Bradbury wrote after spending a year in Ireland working with director John Huston on the script for the 1956 film "Moby Dick."

"When I was in Ireland, I went to see plays by all the great Irish playwrights," Bradbury said. "When I got home, all of the Irish voices started talking to me."

Rights to "Fahrenheit 451," held by Warner Bros. for more than a decade, revert to Bradbury early next year. That might lead to new negotiations to remake the film first brought to the screen in 1966 by director Francois Truffaut.

The story is set in a society in which books have been outlawed and replaced by government-sponsored soap operas that play on wall-sized televisions. Several directors, including Mel Gibson, have considered making a new version of the film. Bradbury said he doesn't understand why the project has taken so long.

"I wish I knew, but I don't," he said. "I'm still hoping that at some point a new film will be made."

The author said he's also negotiating to sell screen rights to "The Martian Chronicles," a collection of loosely related stories about human colonization of Mars.

Bradbury, who suffered a stroke in 1999, dictates stories by telephone from his Los Angeles home to a daughter in Arizona. Typed versions are faxed back to him for revision.

"I love to write," Bradbury said. "And if you do what you love and love what you do, it's easy."

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