Leave it to Paul Verhoeven to dig up this material to adapt, but speaking recently on the Dutch television program "Zomergasten" (via /Film), the director revealed that his next project will be an adaptation of Louis Couperus' 1900 novel, "The Hidden Force." We'll let Verhoeven explain what it will tackle:
“[The movie is about] rebellion against colonial rule, the emergence of fundamentalist Islam, the behavior between people, adultery and psychic powers. It is a story about things that we do not understand but it does happen.”
Certainly sounds ambitious. It's apparently been a dream project of sorts for Verhoeven who wanted to make the film since the 1970s but has always been stymied by the budget it will require. Here's the book's synopsis:
A novel written in 1900 and set in the Dutch East Indies. It concerns a colonial official who is undone by his wilful application of reason to a culture that is steeped in the mystical and irrational.
In The Hidden Force the decline and fall of the Dutch resident Van Oudyck is caused by his inability to see further than his own Western rationalism. He is blind and deaf to the slumbering powers of the East Indian people and countryside. The black magic, bird calls, vegetation, heat and the mysterious, hostile attitude of their Javanese subjects prove stronger than the cool power of the colonials.
No word yet on what this means for the video game adaptation "The Last Express," which was rumored to be his next project earlier this spring.