Times are tough for filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, who’s on a (critical) losing streak – one that partially began with 2004′s The Village, but really picked up speed after Lady in the Water, The Happening, and The Last Airbender. Hence the reduction in anticipation for his next project: the post-apocalyptic sci-fi tale, One Thousand A.E..
One Thousand A.E. is actually based on an original screenplay by Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli) that was subsequently reworked by Shyamalan. Now, a third scriber has been recruited to polish off and refine the script even more.
Variety has confirmed that the most recent writer to take a stab at One Thousand A.E. is Stephen Gaghan, who won an Academy Award for penning Steven Soderbergh’s lauded 2000 ensemble crime flick, Traffic - he was also responsible for penning the acclaimed 2005 (politically-charged) drama/thriller, Syriana, and scripted the pilot episode for an upcoming NBC crime TV series, formerly titled S.I.L.A..
One Thousand A.E. is a futuristic sci-fi drama that revolves around a father and son pair (Will and Jaden Smith) who crash-land on Earth a millennium after humankind has abandoned the planet. When the crash leaves the father badly injured, his son must venture out into the (now, unfamiliar and mysterious) world, in the hopes of finding help.
Principal photography on One Thousand A.E. is slated to get underway by February 2012. Gaghan was reportedly “tasked with getting the [film's] script in shooting shape… and may continue to work with Shyamalan to fine-tune the current draft” before production on the project officially gets going.
Shyamalan has previously only directed scripts of his original creation, which already makes One Thousand A.E. somewhat of a departure for him. The poor reception for his last several films has seemingly left the auteur in more of a collaborative mood – something that (at this point) should only help to improve his standing.
When you also factor in the common criticism that – although Shyamalan is still generally regarded as an innovative storyteller – he struggles when it comes to writing dialogue and properly executing his ideas, the news that One Thousand A.E. will feature contributions by other well-regarded scribers is all the more welcome.
Who knows – maybe One Thousand A.E. will even be the movie that finally gets the majority of film buffs back on Shyamalan’s side. We shall see…
One Thousand A.E. is currently scheduled to arrive in U.S. theaters on June 7th, 2013.