Back in March, we reported that Steven Spielberg was tinkering with idea of directing Robopocalypse, a big-budget robot uprising film by Daniel H. Wilson, a Ph.D. student in robotics and author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising. Instead, Spielberg opted to direct the WWI drama, War Horse scheduled for release in August of 2011.
According to Vulture, Spielberg continues to have an interest in Robopocalypse, which isn't exactly news (more like the absence of news). But that doesn't mean there's nothing of interest here - because Spielberg's interest in the project has sent Hollywood into a frenzy.
One source admits:
"With DreamWorks, everything is potentially a Steven project - until it’s not. That’s why everyone’s in a frenzy trying to read it.”
Should Spielberg direct Robopocalypse, agents will be fighting tooth and nail to get their clients onto the project.
On the flip side, if Spielberg passes, there would be no shortage of directors eager to step behind the camera. It's not just about picking up the acclaimed filmmaker's table scraps, the combination of DreakWorks' option and Spielberg's interest in the source material would keep him involved in the production, one way or another. Plus, what director wouldn't want to prove to Spielberg they could take a concept he was interested in - and make an equally good film?
There's no questioning Spielberg's talents as a filmmaker; however, his recent sci-fi offerings, while commercially successful, were a let down. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was an unnecessary and uninspired addition to one of the greatest movie trilogies in history. War of the Worlds, a big-budget retelling of the H.G. Wells classic, wasn't the disaster that Crystal Skull turned out to be but the characters lacked the kind of depth we've come to expect from a terrific filmmaker like Spielberg - resulting in a somewhat middle of the road endeavor.
Robopocalypse, the unpublished novel on which the film is based, is still a year out, with a June 2011 release date, but Doubleday VP, Jason Kaufman, promises that the book will offer “a frightening level of realism."
If Spielberg were to combine the "realism" of the Robopocalypse novel with the enormous War of the Worlds scale, the director might have a shot at matching his sci-fi roots (i.e. Close Encounters of the Third Kind) - pairing breathtaking visuals with intimate character stories.
We'll keep you posted as we hear more Robopocalypse news - Spielberg-helmed or otherwise.