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Catfish team set to tackle ’70s cult novel The Monkey Wrench Gang

Producer Edward R. Pressman has hired Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman to write and direct a feature version of Edward Abbey’s 1975 cult novel The Monkey Wrench Gang. The writing/directing team went from the “Is this a documentary?”-filmmaking of the controversial Catfish to mock-doc horror with last year’s Paranormal Activity 3 and is currently at work on its sequel. Abbey’s novel is about a group of four outdoors types who use vandalism to protect the unspoiled beauty of the Southwest against rapacious developers. And if the title rings a bell it’s probably because Abbey, who died in 1989, is generally given credit for inventing the term “monkey wrenching” as it’s used to groups such as Earth First! The Monkey Wrench Gang has been touted as promising movie material since it was published, but numerous attempts to bring it to the screen over the past 30-odd years have come to nothing, maybe because of the potential difficulty in making a fun Hollywood action comedy about a bunch of heroic eco-terrorists. The last filmmaker attached to the project before Joost and Schulman inherited it was Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Twilight), who was reported to be working on it, with a script by William Goldman back in 2007. Joost and Schulman apparently plan to retain the mid-’70s time frame—one of the film’s heroes, as in the book, is “a young Vietnam vet”—but in a way that will “connect to the humor and cultural zeitgeist of today.” [Source: Indiewire.]


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