The Amblin sci-fi film Intelligent Life has found a new director in Rebecca Thomas, a rising filmmaker most recently known for helming an upcoming episode of Stranger Things season 2. The movie has been in the works for some time: Reports first emerged in 2015, and up until last spring, Ava DuVernay was attached to helm and Lupita Nyong’o was set to star. Both have since departed the project, with DuVernay boarding A Wrinkle in Time and a new limited series about the Central Park Five.
Intelligent Life was originally penned by Jurassic World duo Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connelly. After DuVernay’s exit, Jay Roach was brought on to polish the script, and Thomas will contribute some additional writing. The story will center on a United Nations employee assigned to monitor outer space, leading him to make contact with a beautiful woman who may be an alien.
THR confirmed on Monday that Thomas has now been tapped to direct. In a joint statement provided to the outlet, Trevorrow and producer Frank Marshall said:
“Rebecca beautifully captured the alienation we often feel amongst our fellow humans in her first feature. We can’t wait to see her explore those themes further in a story about our place in the universe.”
Thomas has been poised for a breakout since making her feature debut with 2012’s Electrick Children, an indie drama about a 15-year-old girl from a fundamentalist Mormon community who, upon learning she’s pregnant, becomes convinced she has conceived miraculously through listening to music and runs away to Vegas to find the “father” of her baby. Since then, she’s been nabbed to direct a live-action retelling of Disney classic The Little Mermaid as well as an adaptation of John Green’s acclaimed 2005 novel Looking For Alaska, both of which will likely boost her career on their own.
Intelligent Life, however, gives her the chance to tell a new story and work with fresh material. There’s no word yet on when the film will land a release date, announce a cast, or even begin production, so it probably won’t make it to screen for quite some time. But when it does, hopefully Thomas will have accrued even more momentum.
Thomas’ episode of Stranger Things, ‘The Secret Cabin’, will debut with season 2, which premieres in full on Netflix on Oct. 27. The Little Mermaid and Looking For Alaska have yet to finalize official release dates.
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