Drew Barrymore, blonde siren of science fiction. That’s not the way it turned out, but looking back at her career, that’s where we thought she was headed. Think about it: In 1980, the five-year-old Barrymore hit the big time with E.T . At nine, her third big screen film, Firestarter , (though neither as brainy as the first, nor as blockbusting as the second) continued that scifi theme. A Carrie copycat with a pyrokinetic twist, Firestarter has an almost Philip K. Dick concept at its center via The Shop, the evil government agency set on conducting inhumane experiments on people with paranormal powers. If that last bit sounds more classic scifi than classic Stephen King, there’s a good reason.
The idea of The Shop originated with The Weapon Shops of Isher, a fix-up novel by A.E. van Vogt, himself one of the primary forces from the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Vogt’s idea proved so appealing to King that he revisited it The Tommyknockers, The Stand, and the miniseries, Golden Years. As for Vogt himself, his original ideas never made it to the big screen unless you count Alien , which was the subject of a plagiarism lawsuit that resulted in Vogt getting a screen credit years after the movie was made. To date, the source material, The Voyage of the Space Beagle, has never been officially adapted by Hollywood. But maybe that’s where Barrymore can step in: Aside from Donnie Darko , her involvement in the genre has been minimal. The Voyage of the Space Barrymore would be a welcome return.
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