In 1975, while based at Iowa University, Burgess was visited by Burt Lancaster and the Italian director and screenwriter, Gianfranco de Bosio, with whom he had worked on the television series Moses the Lawgiver. Lancaster and de Bosio hoped to persuade Burgess to write a film script based on the life of Daniel Paul Schreber (1842-1911). The production was to be financed - as with Moses - by Lew Grade (later Lord Grade).
Burgess, perhaps somewhat sceptically, agreed to become involved in the film project and, with Gianfranco de Bosio, drafted an outline of the proposed film and, subsequently, a screenplay. Italian translations of the outline were also prepared. Among the suggested titles for the film were Murder in the Family (La Famiglia che Uccide); Fathers Kill Their Sons (Saturno e i suoi Figli); Death of the Soul (Uccisione dell'Anima / La Morte e l'Anima / Assassinio dell'Anima); Nerve Case (Memorie d'un Malato di Nervi); and, latterly, The Brain Killers. It was also proposed that Burgess would write the score for the film, and Burt Lancaster would star as the lead character, Schreber.
Ultimately the proposed film project failed. (Burgess's 1982 novel, The End of the World News, is in part based on the script.)
This series contains draft outlines of the proposed film (in English and Italian) and a draft screenplay (in English).