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'Attack The Block' Helmer Joe Cornish To Write & Direct Adaptation Of Neal Stephenson's 'Snow Crash'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 14, 2012 at 9:00PM

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Joe Cornish Snow Crash

What do you do if you're the director of a cult movie that puts your name on the tongues of Hollywood executive types? If you're Joe Cornish, you wisely take a step back to consider your options. While the director behind "Attack The Block" likely had a lot of doors suddenly made available to him last year, he's been cautious. Along with Edgar Wright, he wrote "Ant-Man" for Marvel and "The Adventures Of Tintin" for Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg. He is also noted for the movies he didn't do, such as "A Good Day To Die Hard" (which he turned down) and "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" (which he was shortlisted for). But now he's picked something, and lest you think he's not ready to make a big leap, guess again.

Deadline reports that Cornish will write and direct an adapation of Neal Stephenson's famed sci-fi novel "Snow Crash." Named by Time magazine as one of the all-time best English language novels, the story could loosely be described as cyperpunk, set in a not-too-distant future where the corporatization of America has run amuk, the mafia controls pizza delivery, and internet has highly evolved into something called the Metaverse. Anyway, we'll let this Amazon synopsis do the heavy lifting:

In California of the near future, when the U.S. is only a "Burbclave" (city-state), the Mafia is just another franchise chain (CosaNostrastet Pizza, Incorporated) and there are no laws to speak of, Hiro Protagonist follows clues from the Bible, ancient Sumer and high technology to help thwart an attempt to take control of civilization--such as it is. When he logs on to Metaverse, an imaginary place entered via computer, Hiro encounters Juanita Marquez, a "radical" Catholic and computer whiz. She warns him off Snow Crash (a street drug named for computer failure) and gives him a file labeled Babel (as in Tower of Babel). Another friend, sp ok/pk Da5id, who ignores Juanita's warning, computer crashes out of Metaverse into the real world, where he physically collapses. Hiro, Juanita, Y.T. (a freewheeling, skateboard-riding courier) and sundry other Burbclave and franchise power figures see some action on the way to finding out who is behind this bizarre "drug" with ancient roots.

The project is set up over at Paramount and we think Cornish is the right guy to take this on, but we have some reservations. These sort of cyperpunk-ish stories have a dodgy track record on the big screen for the most part, and it will be a challenge to bring all the myth-making into a more mainstream- geared project (which we're guessing it is, considering it's set up at a major studio). But if anyone has proven to be both genre smart and broadly appealing, it's Cornish. And the book (and writer) already has a massive fan base. Given how careful Cornish has been thus far, something about the material clearly speaks to him, so we'll be excited to see what he does with it.

This article is related to: Joe Cornish, Snow Crash


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