Ridley Scott went a few decades without directing a science-fiction movie, but of late he’s been working furiously in the genre. The filmmaker is currently in post-production on The Martian (his adaptation of Andy Weir’s space survival novel), after having helped to develop Blade Runner 2 before it was handed to director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners). What’s next for Scott? Well, another sci-fi feature that involves outer space travel, most likely.
The Scott film in question is Prometheus 2, the sequel to his Alien spinoff/quasi-prequel that’s been in development for a few years now. Meanwhile, the former Scott project The Forever War – an adaptation of the touchstone 1970s novel that Scott acquired the rights to in 2008 – has suddenly found itself in the midst of a bidding war among studios, now that the rights have relapsed (since Scott didn’t get the film adaptation off the ground in time).
THR is reporting that Sony, Warner Bros., and a third unnamed studio are all looking to acquire Forever War in its current form. The package now includes Jon Spaihts – who penned the original Prometheus script draft and the revised screenplay for Marvel Studios’ upcoming Doctor Strange – onboard as a producer/screenwriter, along with Channing Tatum attached to star. Forever War is without a director for the time being, but that should change soon.
The Forever War source novel – winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards among other honors – was written by Joe Haldeman. It follows one Private William Mandella; who, after years of fighting a war on an alien planet, returns to Earth to find that the world he once knew has undergone centuries of change while he’s aged normally (due to the time dilation effects of space travel). Haldeman is believed to have drawn from his time serving in the Vietnam War for inspiration on Forever War‘s story and themes.
Haldeman’s source material has certainly influenced the sci-fi genre since it was published in 1974; that remains just as true today, as evidenced by the similarities between Forever War‘s concepts and those Christopher Nolan explored recently with Interstellar (among many other projects sharing common traits with Forever War). Downside is, because a film adaptation of Haldeman’s literature has taken so long, it could find itself in a position similar to the one John Carter found itself in back in 2012 – where many perceive the story as being derivative of the many works that, in reality, it helped to inspire.
Tatum, for this part, has continued to establish himself as a multi-faceted actor, with well-received performances both comedic (the Jump Street movies) and dramatic (Foxcatcher) under his belt now – even his turn in the Wachowskis’ not-so-successful Jupiter Ascending got him (good) notice. Production on The Forever War is still quite a ways off, but it’s possible the movie could enter production as soon as next year – sometime after Tatum has wrapped his next high-profile role, in the X-Men solo feature Gambit (releasing in 2016).
Spaihts, like Tatum, is a talent whose career is on the up and up, which should further help in securing The Forever War a respectable helmsman and studio backing. Once the project has been officially picked up by a studio, we should also have a better idea of whether or not it’s going to keep picking up speed or slow down – as it continues to make its way down the pipeline.
We’ll bring you more information on The Forever War when we have it.
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