2016 is off to a strong start for Max Landis, the screenwriter best known for his work on the found-footage superhero film Chronicle. The writer is responsible for the critically acclaimed miniseries Superman: American Alien currently being published by DC Comics and is serving as showrunner on the upcoming television adaptation of Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. The series earned a straight-to-series order from BBC America and is expected to premiere this fall.
The writer’s biggest recent success was the sale of his spec script Bright, a fantasy-thriller cop film recently purchased by Netflix for a total of $90 million. That includes more than $3 million for Landis, making it one of the largest spec sales in years. The script also attracted Suicide Squad director David Ayer and star Will Smith. The success of Bright has given renewed attention to Landis’ work, specifically another sci-fi project titled Deeper. Described by the writer as a “one-man show,” the script calls for a strong lead actor to carry the project, similar to Tom Hardy’s role in Locke.
Deeper seems to have found its leading man in Bradley Cooper (Joy), who is now attached to star in the film should it be produced. Cooper would play a disgraced astronaut on a mission to explore a newly discovered oceanic trench, theorized to be the lowest point on the planet. He will be descending into unexplored depths, alone except for the voices of the surface crew. It’s a dangerous mission, both physically and psychologically, but those dangers only increase when some unknown force tries to enter the submersible.
Director Kornel Mundruczo (White God) is also attached to direct the project, with Landis and David Goyer (Man of Steel) serving as producers. According to Variety, the project has caught the attention of a number of studios, including Paramount, Lionsgate, and Fox Searchlight. The spec hasn’t been sold at this point, but a deal is expected to be coming shortly. The structure of Deeper will require a captivating performance from the lead actor, so attracting the Academy Award-nominee will likely motivate the studios to increase their various bids.
Landis envisions Deeper as the first installment of a trilogy, connected not by the film’s content but by overarching themes of human connection. The films would be titled Deeper, Higher, and Further and even though Deeper hasn’t been officially sold, the writer is already hard at work on the script for the follow up. The second film will look toward the stars rather than the deep, focused on an estranged couple at the beginning of an alien invasion. Landis revealed most of the major plot beats to that spiritual sequel recently on The GameOverGreggy Show.
Screen Rant will bring you updates on Deeper as they become available.