By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com December 2, 2010 at 3:47AM
Australian director Alex Proyas once theoretically held some promise, although we're not exactly sure how. The music video veteran showed some gothic style in the original take on "The Crow," and on the sci-fi mindbender "Dark City," even if both films were ultimately pretty hollow. Since then, however, the results have otherwise been pretty weak -- the terrible passion project "Garage Days," the anonymous "I Robot," and the loved-inexplicably-by-Roger-Ebert-and-basically-no-one-else Nicolas Cage vehicle "Knowing."
Proyas was next meant to be teaming with Sam Worthington on the period vampire actioner "Dracula Year Zero," but this seems to have lost momentum for the star, in favor of "Clash of the Titans 2" and "Man on a Ledge." He isn't one to hang about, clearly, as he's just signed on to another high concept fantasy picture, one from source material from a writer who's very much in vogue at present.
According to Deadline, Summit Entertainment has picked up the rights to "AMP," an as-yet-unwritten science fiction novel by Daniel H. Wilson, and Proyas is attached to produce and possibly to direct the project. Wilson is also the author of "How To Survive A Robot Uprising," which was nearly turned into a comedy with Mike Myers a few years back, and "Robopocalypse," another yet-to-be-published novel, which Steven Spielberg is attached to direct in 2012.
The plot is "set in a world where the technology designed to make the disabled whole, turns them into supermen." Aside from the somewhat questionable idea that the disabled are somehow not 'whole' without robot technology, this sounds very much in Proyas' wheelhouse, and can sort of see why it's resulted in an alleged bidding war, with Working Title and Paramount also pursuing the property.
Apparently, Summit won out through Proyas' pitch, who promised to shoot the film in Australia for a reasonable budget, apparently in a manner inspired by "District 9." No screenwriter has yet been hired, and Wilson is still writing the book, so this is probably a way off yet, but be aware -- there is another mediocre Alex Proyas-helmed science fiction movie on the way. The director is also circling a new big budget action take on "Paradise Lost" and also has a version of classic sci-fi tale "The Tripods" percolating as well.
Incidentally, it remains slightly unclear what the status of "Robopocalypse" is: Deadline repeats the original schedule of a January 2012 start, for a 2013 release (presumably in the summer), but with recent movement on "Lincoln," which is set to be released in the fourth quarter of 2012, and Spielberg finishing two films in 2011, "War Horse" and "The Adventures of Tintin," it's possible that the film has slipped. Having said that, Spielberg's a notorious multi-tasker, having shot "Schindler's List" and "Munich" while in post on, respectively, "Jurassic Park" and "War of the Worlds," so it's not beyond the realm of possibility that something similar will happen here.