Director D.J. Caruso and his alien alienation project is beginning to come together. Disney and DreamWorks have given I Am Number Four a February 18, 2011 release date, pitting it against another sci-fi, Battle: Los Angeles. The studio names attached to this project are pretty big. It will be interesting to see how Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg work together as producers of the film.
With a release date quickly approaching on a movie that hasn't even begun production yet, this will be a test of self-control to prevent a rushed product. The story itself is intriguing enough to stand up on its own. It's written by Miles Millar and Alfred Gough, two constantly collaborating writers with Smallville and Spider-Man 2 on their resumes.
D.J. Caruso, who directed Eagle Eye, Disturbia and Taking Lives, has worked on a variety of genres. It is based on a yet to be released book of the same title. Collider describes the plot and it sounds a bit like District 9 meets Transformers meets Teen Wolf (make of that what you will):
"The film is about nine earthbound aliens who escaped their planet just before it was annihilated by a rival species. Hiding out on Earth, disguised as a human teenager in high school, the title character discovers that he is being hunted by the enemy that destroyed his planet."
Alex Pettyfer, who will play the lead, is the only cast member so far. He'll get a chance to prove his acting chops coming off three previous films with an average rating of 5.5 on IMDb. This feels like a big budget film with the big studios on board - considering the connections between Transformers, Eagle Eye and Disturbia, it sounded like a Shia LaBeouf movie the whole way through. At the least, I was expecting an ensemble cast of bigger names.
If Caruso can channel the best of both directors-turned-producers this has a shot at being a great sci-fi movie. I suggest taking Spielberg's brilliant ability to create memorable characters and lasting stories and morph it with Michael Bay's visual style, which is profound regardless of how you feel about his films. In addition, something can be learned from the animated 9, which deals with a somewhat similar topic.
I Am Number Four is scheduled to release February 18, 2011.