Original Sci-Fi Thriller ‘When First We Were Gods’ in Development

Published 2 years ago by

Lionsgate logo Original Sci Fi Thriller ‘When First We Were Gods’ in Development

We among the entertainment commentariat often bemoan the lack of original genre films. “Remakes! It’s all remakes and sequels!” is the rallying cry of many an Internet article and forum post. While this perspective is debatable, it really is quite refreshing to hear the announcement of potentially smart and ambitious genre projects.

Thus, it is to some delight that Lionsgate Films has begun the process of creating When First We Were Gods, a new science-fiction film that will mull on the personal and societal implications of immortality. Equipped with solid source material and an eager creative team, this will be a title to watch.

Deadline has reported that Lionsgate Films has signed director Daniel Askill and writer Aron Eli Coleite to headline When First We Were Gods. The script will be based off of a short story by Rick Yancey, an American novelist whose The Monstrumologist was a Michael L. Printz Honoree in 2010. Yancey’s original story describes a future society in which the very wealthy have undergone a process that makes them effectively immortal. The plot apparently concerns one such immortal man, who schemes to have his wife murdered so that his mistress may join him among the ageless. If the script stays true to the story, it should riff on themes of class separation (only the rich may become “gods”), how humanity perceives time, and whether love can exist in an endless lifetime.

Until now, Daniel Askill has not been involved in any feature-length films. He has directed many commercial projects for companies such as Sony, Cadillac, and Smirnoff. Askill directed and starred in the short film We Have Decided Not to Die in 2004, which has since been shown in various festivals around the world. He is apparently an accomplished video installation artist, whose pieces have been displayed in Los Angeles, Sydney, and Paris.

Unlike Daniel Askill, Aron Eli Coleite is no stranger to narrative productions – he has written and produced episodes of Heroes, The River, and the yet-to-be-aired The Unknown.

01 we have decided not to die Original Sci Fi Thriller ‘When First We Were Gods’ in Development

Still from ‘We Have Decided Not to Die,’ 2004.

Any truly new movie project comes weighted with risk. In the case of When First We Were Gods, one can’t help but note the relative inexperience of its primary creative team. Many a commercial director has been slotted into narrative films only to crash and burn. Additionally, despite his background in television, Aron Eli Coleite’s writing credits are a bit all over the place – for instance, most of his scripts for Heroes are from the excruciating third and fourth seasons of the series.

On the other hand, every future auteur has to start somewhere. For all we know, When First We Were Gods could be the breakout opportunity that Daniel Askill and/or Aron Eli Coleite need to let their true talents be seen. After all, even David Fincher was known as a music video and commercial director before he finally made his way onto the silver screen (which was with the disastrous Alien 3, but let us forget that).

In any event, the announcement of When First We Were Gods is a fine reminder that studios have not entirely abandoned ambitious genre features. With any luck, the flick could be a piece of serious science-fiction commentary in the vein of Gattaca or District 9 - and we’ll definitely be following its progress.

For the moment, When First We Were Gods has no firm release date.

Source: Deadline

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  1. I like the premise, but I don’t know how this will transfer to a full, feature length film. It probably going to be about the people trying, and ultimately succeeding, in finding a “cure” for the immortality.

  2. Sounds interesting… I might have to read the book first.

  3. Sounds dumb..throw it back.

  4. Sounds like ‘In Time’.

    • This is what I was tihnking when I read “original story describes a future society in which the very wealthy have undergone a process that makes them effectively immortal.”

      Now I did not see In Time but couldnt people could add time to their life effectively making them immortal?

      Key word effectively meaning they are not REALLY immortal and must rely on some type of procedure.

      So much for one of those being original.

  5. Could be great, if done well. I could see someone like Pedro Almodóvar making this kind of thought provoking film really well. Or perhaps Kubrick, or maybe even Hitchcock. Would be cool if it starts out sci-fi and descends into madness, really examining the human condition.

    Juxtaposing immortality (humans seeking to be gods) with crimes of passion (unconquerable human frailty) is a really interesting starting point imo.

  6. Sounds a bit like the beginning of Gattaca prior to the whole Ethan Hawke replacing Jude Law on the spaceship kicked in… Anyway it might still be an interesting watch. Hopefully more engaging than recent efforts to explore immortality in a popcorn way such as In Time which as Highlander mentioned above rightly so as being also very similar…