Andrew Niccol has encountered little difficulty in getting admirable talent to sign on for his next writing/directing effort – The Host, an adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s popular sci-fi novel. People like Saoirse Ronan and William Hurt are already set for important lead roles, while the increasingly-popular Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds, Unknown) has begun talks for a pivotal supporting part.
It turns out that Open Road Films already has big plans for the project, which could be the first installment in a new trilogy – one that (to some degree) replicates the success of Meyer’s Twilight series, if studio heads get their way.
Deadline included that tidbit about trilogy plans for the Host in its scoop on Kruger being in negotiations to join the film’s cast. Meyer previously announced her intention to develop two more Host novels, but has neither finished them nor offered any additional information about when they might be finished (at the time of writing this). So, we could end up with a situation similar to that with, say, Jurassic Park, where a sequel book wasn’t written until after the first film adaptation proved to be a box office smash.
The Host joins the increasingly long line of upcoming Hollywood projects that are being fashioned as the first entries in new trilogies, alongside titles like Snow White and the Huntsman, the World War Z adaptation, and possibly even a new big screen take on Stephen King’s The Stand – though, the latter potential three-part movie franchise remains unconfirmed, at this point.
Since this Host trilogy news is quite fresh, there’s no word yet about whether Niccol or any of the signed-on cast members already have deals in place for future sequels. Given the uncertainty surrounding this theoretical franchise right now – not to mention, the first film still being in pre-production - it might be a while before any additional (and official) insight is offered, on the matter.
The Host takes place in a universe where parasitic extraterrestrials insert themselves into the brains of people and take control of Earth, transforming it into the new Eden – a world where things like war, poverty, and even disease are no longer a concern for the human race.
Both Meyer’s novel and Niccol’s Host film adaptation revolve around young Melanie Stryder (Ronan), a woman who refuses to accept her “host”, named Wanderer, and forces the alien to seek out Melanie’s loved ones – including, her boyfriend Jared Howe (Max Irons) and uncle Jeb (Hurt), a leader of the human resistance. Kruger, should she sign on, would play “The Seeker,” an alien being who is charged with overseeing the transfer of Wanderer’s consciousness into Melanie – and who pursues the young woman when she flees, in the hopes that Melanie will reveal the main operating base of the human resistance.
Meyer’s Host novel is generally considered to be both different AND better-written than her Twilight books, but it has not reached the daunting levels of popularity achieved by her polarizing supernatural romance saga. In that regard, there’s all the more reason to be wary about the prospect of there being either a Host book and/or movie trilogy, in the future.
However, there are some interesting existential ideas and concepts at work in Meyer’s source material, along with plot elements that allow for an interesting human vs. aliens battle. Hopefully, Niccol can properly take advantage of all those parts and craft a new thoughtful, yet viscerally-engaging sci-fi flick that’s entertaining in its own right – and not focus so much on trying to jumpstart a new franchise.
The Host is scheduled to hit theaters in the U.S. on March 29th, 2013.