Fresh off of the worldwide success of last year’s zombie blockbuster World War Z, Marc Forster is gearing up to tackle another book-to-film adaptation. This time, instead of adapting a modern genre classic, Forster will oversee the transfer of a recent sci-fi smash to the big screen.
Red Rising is the debut novel by author Pierce Brown and was released just last month. The first in a planned trilogy, Red Rising takes place in the ever popular sci-fi setting of a Martian dystopia. Now colonized, Mars is a desolate planet whose inhabitants find themselves bound from birth by a remorseless color-coded caste system.
Darrow, the novel’s lead character, is a “Red,” which basically means he is doomed to spend his entire life doing the back-breaking manual labor necessary to make the Martian surface safe for future generations of humanity…or so he has always been told. It isn’t very long before a shocking revelation sends Darrow on a heroic journey to both free his people and get revenge on their oppressors.
The book debuted to excellent reviews and impressive sales figures. Amazon.com has even selected it as the “best book of the month” for February.
With Forster at the helm, one would think that the natural home for Red Rising would be Paramount Pictures, the studio that shepherded World War Z through its years-long troubled production process. On the contrary, Paramount is reportedly passing on Forster’s next production because of their experience producing the aforementioned zombie film.
While World War Z made over 500 million dollars at the box office, the studio behind it might not be so eager to end up in the same situation of ballooning budgets and lengthy re-shoots again. Two other major studios are said to be in the running to bring Red Rising to life, but have chosen not to reveal themselves just yet.
Both the book and film industry seem to already be harboring high expectations for the Red Rising series, with many critics making comparisons to the Hunger Games and Ender’s Game franchises. With that in mind, it’s really no wonder that Forster was approached to direct, as he’s shown himself more than capable of helming an action blockbuster. While it’s true that World War Z didn’t exactly set the world on fire from a critical standpoint, it made money, and lots of it. The same could be said for Forster’s much-maligned 007 entry Quantum of Solace.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the people who end up finding themselves the least pleased with Forster’s adaptation of Red Rising might just be the book’s fans. World War Z is one of the most well regarded zombie novels ever, yet Forster (along with star/producer Brad Pitt and screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan) saw fit to make a film that was an adaptation in name only.
To be fair, there’s no way to be sure how much of the responsibility for that falls on the director’s shoulders, but it’s still something worth thinking about as we prepare for a Forster-directed Red Rising.
Red Rising is still in the very early development stage and currently has no release date.