By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com November 19, 2010 at 2:38AM
It seems that these days, you don't even need a feature-length film under your belt to be handed the keys to a big, expensive sci-fi flick: a number of directors have leaped straight into tentpole territory with a CGI-heavy short film. The likes of Neill Blomkamp and Carl Erik Rinsch have landed their feature debuts through FX-led short films, and now another director looks set to join them.
Screen Daily reports that QWERTY Films ("The Duchess") have appointed Irish director Ruairi Robinson to helm their sci-fi horror picture "The Animators," which was highly placed on The Brit List when it was announced a couple of weeks back. Robinson's animated short "Fifty Percent Grey" was nominated for an Oscar back in 2002, and since then he has been behind the sci-fi short "Silent City" with Cillian Murphy (watch below), and is currently completing another short, "Blinky," which stars "Where The Wild Things Are" star Max Records as a boy whose Christmas present turns out to be a little sinister -- again, watch the trailer below.
This isn't Robinson's first brush with the feature world -- he was tapped to direct the live-action version of "Akira" back in 2007, but departed the project not long after -- The Hughes Brothers are currently in the chair for that one. This project, which is set to shoot early next year, is based on a short story by veteran pulp author Sydney J. Bounds, with a script by Clive Dawson ("The Bunker").
We've had a peek at a draft of the script (dated April of this year), and it involves a crew of astronauts on the Martian surface, who discover evidence of bacterial life. It won't greatly surprise you that things go downhill from there, and the explorers start to be killed off. Dawson's script is well executed, there's some good character work, and there's a desperation to it reminiscent of John Carpenter's "The Thing."
Unfortunately, that's not the only thing it's reminiscent of: the script's very familiar, with everything from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and the spate of Martian movies from a decade ago, to any number of zombie movies being recalled, and it just feels a little generic. But we're sure the script's been worked on since, and Robinson's undeniably talented. With filming only a few months away, we're sure casting will be gearing up any day now.