James Cameron is currently wrapped up in the task of assembling two sequels to his 3D monster hit Avatar, but his future beyond that sci-fi franchise has remained open for speculation. The filmmaker has touted such projects as Avatar 4 – which, if it happens, would take on the form of a prequel – and an adaptation of the Battle Angel manga/anime, as possible ventures he could undertake sometime over the next decade (once he’s finished exploring Pandora).
However, reports are in that Cameron’s next non-Avatar directorial effort is poised to assume the form of a motion picture based on The Informationist, the first novel in a planned series about “information specialist” Vanessa ‘Michael’ Munroe from author Taylor Stevens.
The Informationist revolves around Munroe, a character who begs comparison to Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Cameron, of course, is well-renowned for making films with captivating female protagonists, ranging from ass-kickers with a pronounced maternal sense – Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in Aliens and Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in Terminator 2: Judgement Day – to more traditionally-effeminate leads such as Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) in Titanic. Hence, his involvement with the Informationist adaptation makes sense; all the more so when you consider the globe-trotting thriller narrative (which is summarized below):
Vanessa “Michael” Munroe deals in information—expensive information—working for corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. Born to missionary parents in lawless central Africa, Munroe took up with an infamous gunrunner and his mercenary crew when she was just fourteen. As his protégé, she earned the respect of the jungle’s most dangerous men, cultivating her own reputation for years until something sent her running. After almost a decade building a new life and lucrative career from her home base in Dallas, she’s never looked back.
A Texas oil billionaire has hired her to find his daughter who vanished in Africa four years ago. It’s not her usual line of work, but she can’t resist the challenge. Pulled deep into the mystery of the missing girl, Munroe finds herself back in the lands of her childhood, betrayed, cut off from civilization, and left for dead. If she has any hope of escaping the jungle and the demons that drive her, she must come face-to-face with the past that she’s tried for so long to forget.
Cameron has expressed his excitement for the project, describing Munroe as “an intriguing and compelling heroine with an agile mind.” It is worth noting, however, that although Cameron and fellow Lightstorm head Jon Landau are producing The Informationist, it is expected to be scripted by a third party – making it the first time Cameron directs from a script he did not serve as the sole writer on since True Lies in 1994.
Stevens, as it were, is as equally-fascinating a person as her literature creation, seeing how she served an apocalyptic cult known as the Children of God (a branch-off from the Jesus Movement of the 1960s) up until her twenties. Much of her real-life experiences – serving cult leaders when she was a teenager by working as a street-begger and serving as a mother-figure to children in her commune – are reflected in Stevens’ debut novel and lend the Monroe character a strong sense of authenticity.
In other words, there’s very much potential for a film version of The Informationist to be something special – more than just a Jason Bourne-esque thriller with a female lead character, that is. Not to mention, it should make for a refreshing change-of-pace to have Cameron take a break from motion-capture/CGI spectacle for a film more rooted in realism (especially following hot on the heels of two back-to-back, environmentally-conscious, Avatar installments).
More on The Informationist as the story develops.
Source: Lightstorm Entertainment