Cult South African novel to get film adaptation

Cape Town-based author Charlie Human’s critically acclaimed Apocalypse Now Now will be made into a feature film, with the award-winning District 9 and Chappie screenwriter adapting the novel for local production company Be Phat Motel and its international partners.

apoc now now Cover art for Charlie Human’s novel Apocalypse Now Now (2013), set to be adapted for the big screen in 2016 (Image: Random House Struik )

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CD Anderson

The cult novel Apocalypse Now Now by Cape Town writer Charlie Human is set to be turned into a film by local production company Be Phat Motel, in cooperation with Canadian digital company Redlab and independent film producers XYZ Films.

Oscar-nominated screenwriter Terrie Tatchell, who gave the distinctive South African tone to films like District 9 and Chappie, will adapt the book for screen.

Described by critics as “Neil Gaiman meets Tarantino“, Apocalypse Now Now is a chaotic, subversive voyage into Cape Town’s supernatural underworld, filled with bizarre urban landscapes and engaging characters, most notably, its near-iconic anti-hero Baxter Zevcenko.

Lauren Beukes, an early champion of Human’s work, calls the book “dark, irreverent and wonderfully twisted“. Human gained early recognition with his winning contribution to the Moxyland short story competition and was invited to contribute ideas to Beukes’ Zoo City expanded universe. Apocalypse Now Now, his debut, was published in 2013. Human continued building the book’s skewed universe with the much-anticipated sequel Kill Baxter in 2014.

Meanwhile, science fiction fans are eager to see how his world will be translated for film. “South Africa has always pushed through the usual limits of my imagination and Apocalypse Now Now is no exception,” Tatchell said about the challenge of recreating the world, “Charlie has actually upped the game and obliterated them all altogether.”

The film is set for release during 2016. Meanwhile, Human himself reacted on Twitter with nonchalant pride to the news.