Book rights are a funny thing. They get passed around and around, with nobody thinking anything much of them until a novel randomly returns to relevance. Such is the case with 1984, which The Hollywood Reporter writes has become one of Hollywood's hottest properties. The story of how Gina Rosenblum, a Chicagoland retiree with no production experience, came to own the property is even stranger.
Essentially, Marvin Rosenblum was a transaction lawyer who thought there ought to be a 1984 film released in 1984. So he flew to London in 1980 to meet with author George Orwell's widow.
"Sonia Orwell hated the original 1956 movie version and agreed to sell the film and TV rights to the lawyer," THR writes. "(Left penniless after being swindled by an accountant, she died of a brain tumor just days after negotiating with Rosenblum.) In an even stranger twist, the CIA had helped fund the 1956 version of the film and called for its ending to be changed in an effort to bolster an anti-Soviet propaganda message, according to British journalist and historian Frances Stonor Saunders."
So the anti-propaganda project was essentially government propaganda. The film will be revived in other ways soon, ahead of the new adaptation being directed by Paul Greengrass. It's coming to Broadway, for example, and the 1984 version is getting a one-day theatrical release in 200 theaters worldwide.
Michael Radford, director of the 1984 1984, recorded a new 15-minute coda interview for the film's revival. Watch it below.