Hollywood Reporter has leaned that Sony’s Columbia Pictures and producer Neal H. Moritz have hired new screenwriters for their Starship Troopers reboot. Mark Swift and Damian Shannon (Baywatch, 2009’s Friday The 13th) have been hired to pen the script.
The report also claims Sony will ignoring the original satirical Paul Verhoeven film to instead take cues from Robert A. Heinlein‘s 1959 novel.
This isn’t the first Paul Verhoeven reboot for producer Moritz, he’s the one behind that forgettable and dull PG-13 Total Recall reboot.
A similar line about going back to the novel was used for Neal’s Total Recall reboot when it was announced. That led to the removal of the iconic Mars setting, the mutants, the satire and it’s shocking violence.
Last we heard, the studio was also aiming for a much more family friendly PG-13 rating, we hope Sony strongly reconsiders this approach.
I have my doubts this is anything else than to separate itself from the Verhoeven film as they’ve been keen on a PG-13 rating and possibly turning it into a generic invasion film, removing the off-world space combat aspect of the film that inspired James Cameron’s space marines in Aliens and Avatar.
The movie used graphic battlefield injuries and incorporated it into the science fiction film, attempting to use the imagery to convey the real consequences of war. I think the combat scenes will suffer for it if they do scale it back, it’s still a war film after all.
Deadpool‘s massive success is a shining example why the satire and brutal combat violence needs to stay intact, as Troopers would compliment a similar tone.
We’ve seen Sony previously mishandle both Verhoeven’s Total Recall and Robocop as rebooted cookie-cutter PG-13 films stripping the satire, so I’m a little skeptical Troopers won’t land in the same mediocre boat.
If producers are serious about adapting the novel, then they’ll be looking to hire a Filipino or Asian lead for the role of Juan “Johnny” Rico, instead of another white kid. I have doubts this is anything more than lip-service to pivot from the fact they’re avoiding using Verhoeven’s film as source material.
I do have some casting ideas none-the-less.
If they had some balls they’d cast an Asian actor or possibly someone established like Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Black Panther) as Johnny Rico, over some bland white kid. I have a sneaking suspicion that Zac Efron might be called upon to take up that bland white kid mantle from Casper Van Dien.
One of the more interesting aspects was seeing a global military that put women and men on an equal playing-field. I’d love to see Gina Rodriguez (Deepwater Horizon, Annihilation) as Carmen, Jessica Henwick (Iron Fist, Game of Thrones, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Dizzy and T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley, Deadpool) as Rico’s buddy Ace.
There is one role I feel Sony has someone in mind.
One actor that connects Sony, producer Neal H. Moritz and these Baywatch screenwriters is Dwayne Johnson. Neal is a franchise producer on Dwayne’s Fast and Furious films along with producing his other films Gridiron Gang and Shane Black’s Doc Savage.
Johnson is currently shooting Sony’s Jumanji reboot.
I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if they offered Dwayne the role of drill instructor Sgt. Zim. The role was played by Clancy Brown in the original film, but the character wasn’t white in the Japanese anime prior to the film. Zim also isn’t a massive part of the film, so the role could be the right size for the busy actor.
Although, Neal has similar connections to Vin Diesel and we hope they keep him far away from this project.
A director, release date and production start has yet to be announced by Sony.