Wolfgang Petersen Attached to Direct ‘Old Man’s War’ Adaptation

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 24th, 2013 at 11:01 am,

old mans war Wolfgang Petersen Attached to Direct Old Mans War Adaptation

John Scalzi’s ambitious 2005 novel Old Man’s War was a critical and commercial hit that lead to three similarly successful follow-ups. Hollywood was obviously keeping an eye on Scalzi’s growing fan base and now screen rights for the entire series have been purchased by Paramount Pictures.

If you’re not familiar with it, Old Man’s War has drawn comparisons to sci-fi classics like Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and Joe Halderman’s The Forever War in terms of its structure and content. It charts a soldier’s progression from recruit to captain as he travels across the universe and encounters a wide variety of alien lifeforms.

According to Deadline, Scott Stuber (47 Ronin, Safe House) will produce Old Man’s War through his Stuber Pictures banner and Wolfgang Petersen (Troy, Poseidon) is attached to direct. Screenwriter David Self (Road to Perdition, The Wolfman) has been tasked with adapting Scalzi’s story into “a large scale science fiction project.”

Since Paramount owns the rights to the entire series, it seems likely that they’re hoping Old Man’s War will pave the way for a franchise of films based on the novel’s sequels The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony, and Zoe’s Tale.

While Old Man’s War might borrow its structure from other sci-fi novels, its premise will probably remind more than a few folks of Avatar. The main character is a 75-year-old man who joins a futuristic military coalition after losing his wife. Combining the wisdom of age with the strength of youth, his mind is transferred to a genetically enhanced younger body that’s based on his own DNA. After being wounded in battle, he’s rescued by a special-forces officer that he’s convinced is a younger version of his wife. He abandons his unit and risks everything for a second chance with her.

Scalzi’s novel was praised for putting new twists on tired sci-fi cliches, so perhaps the film adaptation of Old Man’s War can also sidestep comparisons to similar works. If Stuben’s track record is any indication, we won’t have to wait long to find out. The turn around time on 47 Ronin and Safe House was incredibly fast, so I don’t think we should expect this one to languish in development for too long.

Although Petersen’s recent efforts have been pretty mediocre, this is the same filmmaker who made Das Boot, In the Line of Fire, and Air Force One. If he’s working from a solid script, I believe he’s still quite capable of delivering something impressive.

Old Man’s War sounds like an intriguing story that could translate into an interesting film. We’ll keep you updated on how this progresses.

Source: Deadline.

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  1. Sounds good, cant wait to see where this goes

  2. haha since this is older than avatar id saw avatar reminds me of this* sounds awsome thought ill watch anything thats directed by wolfgang peterson hopfully it has mechs and epic space battles

    • Absolutely. I just meant an audience who doesn’t realize it’s based on a book could watch the trailer, see the genetically enhanced body aspect, and immediately think of Avatar before something like Starship Troopers.

    • Yeah! That’s what I’m saying! This came first!

  3. Actually, Petersen has already tried his hand at science-fiction. The very interesting 1985 sci-fi adventure “Enemy Mine” starring Dennis Quaid and Louis Gosset Jr. The movie failed at the box-office, but its unique story made it a cult classic. So, in a way, Petersen is a good choice for “Old Man’s War”.

    • Holy cow, you’re right. I always forget that Petersen did that one as well. I actually really liked that movie when I was a kid, but I’m not sure how it would hold up now.

      • I rewatched it just a few months ago, and even now that movie has a very unique feel and freshness to it. Sure, the effects are just a tad dated compared to the Avatar and Transformer movies but the spun tale is still above most stories released today.

    • Good movie and great acting between Dennis Quaid and Lou Gossett.

  4. As much as I love military sci fi the book bored me to tears. Why don’t they adapt an exciting series…like the Starfist series?

  5. Well this is the type of thing Ive been waiting for – something that isnt a reboot. Finally. lol

    I dont think this would remind me of any other movies so much, this seems quite original.

  6. looking forward to this, its a great book and I’d be intrested in seeing how he adapts it, hopefully it wont be a Starship troopers adaption, (I liked the first movies it was great fun and was one of the best cgi of its time. ) However its a far cry from the book, which I love. The book OLD Mans War , has a ton of great scenes , that i hope make it in.

  7. There are so many good SciFi books out there that now would be a perfect time to pull them in and get them adapted over. But Hollywood doesn’t like to spend too much money on SciFi unless it is Star Trek or Star Wars where they have a premade audiance.

  8. MUST BE SHATNER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Well the book (as overall series) is great, hope the movie lives up to it.

  10. I’m a huge fan of the books. It’s a great series. I’ve been dreaming of a movie for this series since I saw Avatar & Benjamin Buttons (if you’ve read the books & seen Benjamin Buttons, you understand why). The story in Old Man’s War is much better than Avatar’s. So this could be really awesome…

  11. So exciting to have this series on film!! Can’t wait to see the film production! This is a wonderful work of art and John Perry is absolutely hilarious and in an otherwise challenging and scary battle worlds. Scalzi draws you in and you get caught up in his world. He’s a great writer of all time next to the other great writers, Orson Scott card, Enders Game saga and Joe Haldeman The Forever war. Looking forward to what you put together on the big screen!! I hope it follows the novels closely!

  12. That’s right! Also, does everyone remember John Perry’s nickname for his brain pal? I laughed so hard reading that I hope it is in the movie! Would be shame to not include it, LOL

    • Whoa!! Yeah that was fantastic! Very funny!! can’t wait to see it!

  13. I have little hope that he makes a good film now. “Enemy of mine” is a sci-fi film that he did in 1985, a time when he was very prolific, because he did the classics “Das Boot” and “The neverending story” before.

  14. Just heard from a friend in London (who knows somebody who read it…) that obviously they have a spectacular new script written by a complete nobody! Haven’t heard about pre-production, though… Anybody know more?