Deadline reports that we finally might be seeing Joe Haldeman‘s classic sci-fi novel The Forever War get a feature adaptation after it’s been circling Hollywood for almost a decade. This new incarnation will see Channing Tatum produce and possibly star, with a script being developed by rising genre screenwriter Jon Spaihts. They also report there’s currently a bidding war between Warner Bros. and Sony over the project, they make it sound like Warner Bros. is leaning to finalizing a deal first and could be in final negotiations with the creative team.
An analogy about the Vietnam War, a endless war where soldiers fight with no clear idea about why they are engaged in combat.
This makes sense since WB is lacking in sci-fi movies compared to Fox, when the genre is becoming increasingly popular again thanks to Guardians of The Galaxy, Avatar, and resurrection of the Star Wars franchise. Sony on the other hand, has been making a serious effort to quickly develop new franchises to fix the studio’s current blockbuster slump. The film could end-up a mix of Interstellar, Starship Troopers, Aliens, Black Hawk Down, and Edge of Tomorrow, so it’s not hard to consider how huge the film could be in the right hands.
UPDATE: Variety is stating that Warner Bros. has won the bidding war for the film.
An A-list director is expected to be looked at for the sprawling sci-fi epic and potential franchise.
Ridley Scott had been developing for project for about seven years, before then waiting twenty five years for the rights to become available. I sort of have my fingers-crossed that Warner Bros. gets ahold of this project over Sony, if only because they could bring-on Edge of Tomorrow‘s Doug Liman to direct if Ridley becomes unavailable. Ridley has become increasingly busy and had to give-up on directing Blade Runner 2 to focus on the sequel to Prometheus, I don’t see him giving up on Forever War as quickly since he’s been trying to direct for over thirty years, but he’s also extremely loyal to Fox and it moving over to Warner Bros. could become an issue. Ridley just finished production on The Martian and is looking to start shooting Prometheus 2 in the fall.
Spaihts and Scott worked together on Prometheus it’s not hard to imagine that they could get along on this massively ambitious project, but it’s a bit doubtful Ridley will direct but could stay on as a producer. His original script for the Alien prequel was overhauled by Damon Lindelof and if you’re able to find it online it connects the film a lot more to Alien saga, fans would get a kick out of it. Jon recently sold a science fiction spec-script titled Passengers to Sony which has Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in the mix for the leads, he also penned high profile scripts for Marvel’s Doctor Strange and Universal’s Mummy reboot.
Jon would likely pick-up from where Edge of Tomorrow screenwriter D.W. Harper left off on the script, I’m unsure if this version would be using any of Harper’s material because it’s now moved on from Scott’s incarnation which was setup at Fox. In 2013, Ridley suggested to Empire he was happy with a recent draft which I assume came from Harper.
“There is also this very well written piece, one of the last great science-fiction books called The Forever War – we’ve finally got a very good draft of that for Fox. I thought I’d left science-fiction for too long, that I had better climb back in.”
The wording in the report suggests that Ridley is likely out of the picture, Doug Liman (Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Edge of Tomorrow) would be my choice to take-on the ambitious project.
We got a taste of Liman’s ability to channel James Cameron when he made Edge of Tomorrow, and knows how to give us great action sequences along with strong female characters, Emily Blunt‘s Rita is still a standout from 2014. He can handle the scale, action and world-building needed for a franchise project like this. Doug has already been sniffing around the idea of attaching himself to a franchise, so it’s not crazy to see him take the lead on something like this.
Doug is about to begin production on Universal’s Mena, which stars Tom Cruise as a pilot who lands work for the CIA and as a drug runner in the deep south during the 1980s. Afterwards, he’ll tackle the video game adaptation of Splinter Cell for 20th Century Fox that has Tom Hardy attached to play Sam Fisher.
Then again, Warner Bros. could easily go after someone like Peter Jackson, who might want to jump into something incredibly different from his Middle-Earth saga with a science fiction war film.
Peter is a sci-fi nut which might get overshadowed because of the Tolkien fantasy world he’s been involved with over the years, his first film Bad Taste was a low-budget sci-fi flick and he’s been gunning to direct an episode of Doctor Who for years. Jackson once developed a Halo film with director Neill Blomkamp which Fox ended-up killing, he’d move on to support Blomkamp’s District 9 instead. His name recently appeared on a short-list of A-listers wanted develop Ready Player One into a franchise which eventually went to his Tintin franchise co-director Steven Spielberg.
There had even been talk Peter had met with Lucasfilm about getting involved with the Star Wars franchise, and this led to him trolling the internet with a faux script for Episode VIII with everyone assuming he’d been hired to direct it. Of course, Rian Johnson would board as the writer and director, and Jackson seemingly had a nice chuckle about the prank. Essentially, Forever War could end-up the next Star Wars and would allow it’s director to create a massive cinematic universe.
It’s hard to ignore that Peter has helped Warner Bros. earn huge box office, no matter how you feel about The Hobbit films earned a great deal of money making him a top tier A-list director. The only problem would be that Jackson is known for wanting to get involved with the script and could see even more time put into the writing with Jackson’s own team. He’s currently working on the motion-capture sequel to The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of The Unicorn with The Adventures of Tinin: Prisoners of The Sun next. His huge success rate could be a very attractive aspect for Warner Bros. to drop this on his lap.
Jackson’s Weta Workshop is up for the challenge since they’ve worked on many sci-fi films including Avatar, District 9, Dawn of The Planet of The Apes, Mad Max Fury Road, Godzilla, Elysium, Edge of Tomorrow, The Martian, Prometheus, The Last Days on Mars, and Neill Blomkamp’s Halo short Landfall. They need someone with the ability to world-build and with the experience to do so, and I can’t think of a person bigger than Jackson that could handle this type of scope.
At the moment it doesn’t look like this is about to go straight into production since Tatum is currently shooting his role in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, production on Fox’s X-Men spinoff Gambit is expected to start in the fall. Sony is also actively developing other film projects with Channing including a third Jump Street film, a crossover flick with Men In Black, and a Ghostbusters spinoff. This could give a director like Liman or Jackson plenty of time to make their other films, before jumping into making Forever War.
Keep an eye on this one it’s going to be massive depending on who they get to direct it.