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The Monkey Wrench Gang: Coming to a Theater Near You?


Could it actually be true? Are Doc Sarvis, Bonnie Abbzug, George Washington Hayduke III, and Seldom Seen and their monkey-wrenching exploits in the Southwest really coming to the big screen?

Cast from the imagination of the late Ed Abbey, there long has been talk and rumors of The Monkey Wrench Gang making its way from printed word to wide-screen film. But now the planets seem to be in alignment that Doc, Bonnie, Hayduke, and Seldom Seen really are on their way to high-def.

For those unfamiliar with Mr. Abbey's 1975 eco-warrior classic, The Monkey Wrench Gang follows the exploits of four mismatched desert lovers who fight the good fight for the environment in southern Utah and northern Arizona against a backdrop that ranges in and around Canyonlands National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Natural Bridges National Monument, Navajo National Monument, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Among their ideas in the fight for Mother Earth is the demolition of the Glen Canyon Dam, a deed that, in Seldom Seen's heart and soul, would deliver some serious environmental justice. "Good-bye and so long, Glen Canyon Dam. Welcome back Glen Canyon and the old Coloraddy River."

Here's how the story, which has been said to have launched the Earth First! movement, is capsulized on the dust jacket of the novel's 10th anniversary edition:

In the dank, steaming jungles of Vietnam, Hayduke longed for the grandeur, the light, and the freedom of the Southwestern desert. On his return to America he finds that someone or something is trying to change his desert into an industrial wasteland.

Meeting on a white-water float trip down the Colorado River, Hayduke, Doc, Bonnie and Seldom Seen discover a communal bond: a profound distrust of blind technology and a healthy hatred for the corporate interests whose lust for profit threatens the survival of the American Wilderness. They agree to become eco-raiders, declaring war on the strip miners, the clear-cutters, and the highway, dam and bridge builders. the result is chaos, conflict and comedy both high and low culminating in one of the greatest chase scenes in all literature.

What should make this a particularly fun production is the cast brought together by director Catherine Hardwicke. It's said to include Richard Dreyfuss, Jack Nicholson, John Goodman, Matthew McConaughey and Elizabeth Shue.

No word on its release date, other than sometime this year.


I loved that book!! I hope they stay true to the book because then it will be an excellent movie.

Somewhere at Slick Rock old Abbey will review this film with much enthusiasm...and may his spirit live on. I met this man many years ago and just seeing him you could feel the power of his crusty behavior...cantankerous and witty! They better do this film right or justice will be swift!!

I teach 8th grade social studies in Tuba City, and would love to see TMWG made into a film. We're dealing with some gang stuff, so that is the first connector. Second, and more important, we have a plume of radioactive contamination from the old uranium processing plant slowly moving into the sacred springs at Moenkopi, and who knows how much radioactive dust is settling in our lungs every time a SE wind arises? The Bush EPA has been silent (surprise!), but the House Government Oversight Committee is beginning to move. My kids could relate well, and now is the time for some green action.

I'm a long time fan of the Monkey Wrench Gang and have always wondered if and when a movie would come out. I was just searching around this evening to see if anything was in the works. It's great to hear that it may be coming out but if it's this year wouldn't there have been some previews out and about by now? Also, what is with that cast??? McConaughey is the only one in the correct age range for the characters. I could see him play Hayduke OR Seldom Seen. I could imagine him playing a good crazy GW Hayduke:-) Goodman could play a great Bishop Love too now that I think about it. But the others?? Who would Dreyfuss play? Or who would Nicholson play? I think they're both too old for Doc Sarvis. And Elizebeth Shue is gorgeous and all, underrated as an actress but really she's a bit old to play Bonnie. Abbzug was only in her early to barely mid-20's. I do hope that this cast isn't confirmed yet. I think they could do better.

You all agree? Disagree??

I definitely agree with your assessment of the cast. I didn't really picture Seldom Seen as a McConaughey type but possibly Hayduke. Goodman I would think is Bishop Love. We'll see though. It's possible these "big name actors" are playing smaller roles. I wouldn't be surprised if this is a popular book among actors.

Mizz Bonnie Abbzug was at 28, a full grown woman.

We have been thinking about this for years, casting and recasting the movie. The cast that was announced just isn't right for such an important movie. Hayduke and Seldom Seen aren't living in a retirement home and unless Nicholson and Dreyfus are playing their fathers, the movie's going to be another
"Grumpy Old Men". Sorry, but of those guys are TOO OLD; can anyone honestly see either one of them as the rugged, outdoorsmen Hayduke and Seldom are? They're good actors but they're not THAT good.

We see the cast like this:
First, we would hire the Coen Brothers to direct. They bring a quirkiness that would fit nicely with the story and and their cinematograghy is nothing short of brilliant. Imagine what they'd do with Canyonlands and Glenn Canyon as their backdrop.
Matthew McConnaughey as Seldom Seen. He has the attitude, the build, he's the right age and is a better actor than he gets credit for.
George Eads (Nick Stokes in CSI) as Hayduke. Have him grow his hair, spend some time in the sun...He has the looks, the physical attributes of GW and he's who I see when I think of Hayduke.
Jenneane Garofolo as Bonnie Abzug...she fits Abbey's description to a tee. 'nuf said.
Brian Dennehey as Doc Sarvis. Barrel chested, big voice, big man and great screen presence.
Robert Duvall as Bishop Love. He's the one big name in the cast and someone who would/could portray the Bishop as Abbey created him. And he's an Oscar winner who doesn't make enough movies these days.
And just for fun, Johnny Depp as the mysterious Horseman.

Whatever the outcome, Hollywood is going to be hardpressed to live up to what Edward Abbey put to paper. Right now, it sounds like it just won't be what it deserves to be.

Robert Duvall as Doc and Dennehy as the Bishop seems more apt to me. Woody Harrelson IS Hayduke; we will accept no other and will Crazy Glue your car doors and cut yer fences if you don't agree. No compromise in defence of MWG!

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