Deadpool director Tim Miller has lined up a new project at Fox, signing on for an adaptation of William Gibson’s classic cyberpunk novel Neuromancer. Miller had been set to direct Deadpool 2 for Fox but dropped out of the sequel over creative differences. Under Miller’s leadership, the first Deadpool became a box office smash, grossing $783 million worldwide and proving the profitability of R-rated comic book movies.
A seminal novel of the cyberpunk genre, Neuromancer introduced a number of concepts that would later become science fiction staples, including outlaw computer hackers, the idea of “cyberspace” and the “matrix.” The plot is a mash-up of noir conventions and speculative dystopian sci-fi about a disgraced hacker who, after being saved from his dead-end existence by a modified “street samurai” and going to work for a shady ex-military man, becomes a cog in a labyrinthine mystery involving the efforts of a powerful AI called Wintermute to merge with its AI counterpart Neuromancer to form a super-AI.
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Efforts have been on-going for years to bring Neuromancer and its complex story to the big screen, and now Fox has settled on Tim Miller as the man to direct their adaptation with Simon Kinberg producing, as reported by Deadline. Gibson’s book has previously been adapted as a graphic novel, a video game, a BBC radio play and an opera.
Early efforts to get a film version of Neuromancer off the ground involved music video director Chris Cunningham, who was once named by the author as the only person capable of doing the story right, with Aphex Twin set to record the soundtrack. In 2007, Milla Jovovich was attached to a planned adaptation as the lead with Joseph Kahn (Torque) directing. In 2010, Splice director Vincenzo Natali was reported to be working on a new script for the adaptation with an eye toward directing, and things got far enough for Liam Neeson and Mark Wahlberg to be offered roles. In 2015 the Chinese company C2M offered new funding and Natali was off the project.
With Fox getting behind Neuromancer and awarding Miller the chance to tackle the story, it seems there is finally some genuine momentum pushing the project forward. Whoever ends up writing the script will have a very tall task distilling Gibson’s highly involved world and very complicated, detailed plot into something that works cinematically. Considering all the pop culture staples that have been directly or indirectly influenced by Neuromancer, with The Matrix right at the top of the list, it almost feels like the book has been adapted already at least in spirit.
In addition to Neuromancer, Miller is also attached to a Terminator reboot being brought to life by James Cameron himself. Both the Gibson novel and the Cameron film came out in 1984, and both were highly influential on later works. Miller will now get a chance to re-imagine both era-defining properties for a new generation of moviegoers. The director is also working on the sci-fi adaptation Influx for Fox, as well as a live-action/animated version of the video game Sonic the Hedgehog for Sony.
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