The Monkey Wrench Gang: The Movie

Matthew McConaughey, Jack Nicholson and more to star in a Hollywood adaptation of the Edward Abbey classic
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Matthew McConaughey, Jack Nicholson and more to star in a Hollywood adaptation of the Edward Abbey classic

In the annals of bad Hollywood ideas, classic novels rank just under video games as most-often-butchered source material. Throw another log onto the fire, and get ready for the eco-backlash: Hollywood has decided to adapt Edward Abbey's classic enviro novel The Monkey Wrench Gang for a 2010 release.

Right now, details don't go much further than whispered rumors, but Matthew McConaughey, Jack Nicholson, Richard Dreyfuss, John Goodman, and Elizabeth Shue are slated to star, and Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke will direct. (Now I guess we know why Hardwicke bailed so quickly from the wildly popular teen vampire saga, although I suppose it's possible she left because she suddenly realized Twilight sucks.)

McConaughey will presumably star as eco-warrior George Hayduke, ann ex-Green Beret who leads a ragtag group of nature lovers and miscreants as they concoct schemes to sabotage those who threaten their beloved desert backcountry. The novel is widely credited with inspiring real-life eco-defense movements like Animal Liberation Front and Earth First!

No telling whether this movie will inspire new legions of earth warriors, but it's a pretty bold move from usually timid Hollywood producers, assuming they don't grind the material into tasteless pablum. Then again, maybe it'll end up like Into The Wild—classy, faithful, and largely ignored by those who weren't already fans of the book.

What do you think? Will this movie raise Abbey's spirit from the dead, or simply make him roll in his grave? Tell us in the comments section below.

—Ted Alvarez

Monkey Wrench Gang: The Movie (Cold Splinters)