Orbital Operations, 17 September 2023
Five By Five
Hello from out here on the Thames Delta.
Looking back on last week’s letter, I appear to have dropped my guard and allowed myself to rant a bit. Sorry about that. Trying to do better. Anyway, I’m across a bunch of stuff this week, so here’s a small collection of things I’ve liked and things I’m thinking about:
DEPARTMENT OF MIDNIGHT: I’ve signed off on episodes 1 and 2 mixes this week. We don’t want to reveal the names of all the contributors until we’re ready to go, but I love love love the theme music. My main thing up front was “I want a proper theme tune,” and by god it’s a proper theme tune.
If there’s one thing I miss from tv, it’s a good bit of main theme music. You’re lucky if it’s 30 seconds long these days, of course. The days of a long main title are long gone:
Though I have to say, I thought the main theme for UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT was brilliantly well made. And 28 seconds!
DOCTOR WHO, HAWAII FIVE-O and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE have to be on the list of best tv themes ever. What else?
Did I ever play you this?
I’ve been on a bit of a “Laura Cannell and associated artists” kick lately, and this new record just arrived.
I wrote about it a little bit on LTD on Monday:
It swirls and skirls and shifts around the eternally transforming shapes of Jem Finer’s Longplayer form. It’s all water and circles, and I find it transporting.
Music is incredibly important to my process.
BOW AND CREAK is on Bandcamp.
Here’s a thing I didn’t know. HERE is going to be adapted in film. HERE was a graphic novel by Richard McGuire, itself an adaptation and expansion of a shorter piece he did for RAW way back when. The original HERE short blew everyone away - it’s set in a single room during many different time periods, telling fragments of the stories of the people who occupied it. (With deep cuts to prehistory and the far future.) The graphic novel is magnificent. And now, it turns out, Eric Roth has written an adaptation directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks and Robin Wright with Kelly Reilly and Paul Bettany. Test reactions are now leaking out. The idea is that the same people are occupying that room over decades, if not centuries, and
“…the film aims to use deepfake VFX to de-age actors with the help of effects studio Metaphysic.
“The technology will use “high-resolution photorealistic faceswaps and de-aging effects on top of actors’ performances live and in real-time without the need for further compositing or VFX work.””
Also, it seems that the film is adopting the same fixed POV of the book. Which is brave and committed. I like that.
I still have my imagination, and in its impregnable innocence it will keep me going until the end of my days.
MY LAST BREATH, Luis Bunuel
FIRESIDE READING is a thing I recently discovered. One of my favourite actors I’ve ever worked with, Gildart Jackson, reads public domain books, on that site and on IG. Gildart is a wonderful person, a terrific actor and has a great voice.
People, this is your peaceful autumn/winter viewing. I am not an audiobook person, as I like to experience a book at my own varying paces - which is rude to say, because I’ve been lucky enough to have my own books read by the magnificent likes of Reg E Cathey and John Hodgman - but Gildart doing MOBY DICK might just make an audiobook listener of me.
My name is Warren Ellis, and I’m a writer from England. These newsletters are about the work I do and the creative life I try to lead. I send them every Sunday to subscribers. Feel free to send your friends to orbitaloperations.beehiiv.com , where they can read the most recent letters and subscribe for their own.
I’m represented by Angela Cheng Caplan at the Cheng Caplan Company and David Hale Smith at Inkwell Management and Joel VanderKloot at VanderKloot Law. Please add [email protected] to your email system’s address book or contacts or move this email to primary in your inbox!
WARRENELLIS.LTD is my personal notebook, in which I make new entries several times a day. Think of it as all the things I can't fit into this newsletter, from links and bookmarks to reviews, random thoughts and life notes. If you use a RSS reader, it generates a feed at https://warrenellis.ltd/feed/ .
Please do click through if you have more time, I think I posted twenty times this week. You may be interested in:
A SHORT STORY (2022) - a film by Bi Gan
BRAZEN BLAZE VR Game - I did a thing
This letter has been zapped to you via Beehiiv.
Waiting patiently for proper autumn, because all I want is some figs, a nice piece of cheese, a handful of walnuts and a small glass of port in crisp weather. It’s one of those autumn things for me, a mark of the season, and it does me good. Do something for yourself this week that does you good. We’re not here forever, and we should enjoy what we have while we have it. You’re no good to anyone unless you’re good to yourself first, so be good to yourself now. Take care of you, and thank you so much for still being here with me. See you next week.